Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—ECB moves, GM’s faults, LGBT travel, Lego business cards

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What to watch for today

Another bumper month for US jobs. Economists expect the US produced 220,000 new jobs in May, making it four straight months above 200,000, a feat the US economy hasn’t pulled off since the go-go years of the late 1990s. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the report, due at 8:30am Eastern Time. Canada also reports job numbers.

World leaders smile through gritted teeth. Queen Elizabeth, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are among those set to attend the ceremonies in Normandy commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, with tensions over the situation in Ukraine simmering in the background.

Germany offers an industrial update. The largest economy in Europe, which has shown surprising pep lately, will publish new numbers on industrial production and foreign trade for April.

Brazil’s final tune-up before the world descends on it. Brazil will face Serbia in a warm-up match in São Paulo. The hosts of this year’s World Cup will kick off the official festivities with a match against Croatia on June 12.

While you were sleeping

The European Central Bank finally did something. The bank unveiled a raft of new measures designed to fend off deflation and get the banking system to lend. Markets reacted with enthusiasm, but it will take a while before the ECB’s efforts prove their effectiveness.

General Motors admitted its faults. The US automaker released a statement about its internal investigation into why it took the company more than a decade to report the defective ignition switches that are now blamed for 13 deaths. The report blames a “pattern of incompetence and neglect” at the company, and GM said 15 people have been fired, but that there had been no cover-up.

Verizon got huffy at Netflix. The giant US internet and mobile services provider sent the video-streaming site a cease-and-desist letter demanding it stop displaying messages that blame Verizon for slow service, in a growing row about internet traffic speeds.

US household wealth hit a record. The total wealth of American households reached $81.8 trillion during the first quarter, thanks to a solid rebound in stocks and real estate. While good news, that windfall is spread unevenly over the US populace, with a disproportionately large share going to the wealthiest, who own more of the stock market.

The SEC promised to clip traders’ wings. Mary Jo White, who heads the US securities regulator, said the SEC is formulating a sweeping set of new rules to impose limits on high-frequency trading, “dark pools” and other technologies blamed for volatility in the markets in recent years.

Quartz obsession interlude

Yitz Jordan on how Marriott’s Mormon owner cashed in on the LGBT travel industry. “Why is Bill Marriott so careful to separate faith and business when it comes to LGBT consumers? In a nutshell, $202 billion. That’s how big the global LGBT travel market is predicted to be this year, up from$181 billion in 2013, according to industry analysts Out Now Global—with LGBT spending comprising 13% of all global travel spending. That 11% rise is more than double (pdf) the increase in world travel spending overall, which is expected to rise 4% to 5% this year.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

High-priced art is unethical. When works sell for tens of millions of dollars, they lose any possibility of acting as a social critique.

Russia and China may team up against the West. They share values, governing styles, and, increasingly, interests.

The US should stage a mass gun buyback. It worked in Australia.

Is the World Cup worth it to Brazil? Depending on how you count, expenses and lost productivity could cancel out the economic benefits.

Surprising discoveries

You can crowdfund a house on the moon. There are 178 days left to raise $14,995,000.

Fish can reduce global warming. New research suggests they help the sea absorb carbon dioxide—another reason why overfishing is a problem.

An Indian man has been walking backwards for 25 years. He started it as a form of peace protest; now he’s forgotten how to walk forwards.

These people run a mile every single day. They call themselves “streak runners” and they’re a little bit obsessive.

Lego employees have the world’s best business cards. They’re in the form of little Lego figurines.

$75 million a mile. That’s the cost of one stretch of road outside Moscow, as discovered by Russian anti-corruption campaigners.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cool business cards, and outrageous road-building invoices to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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