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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—British jobs, Iraq’s turmoil, Google satellites, halophytes

  • Quartz
By Quartz

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

More jobs for Brits. The UK’s unemployment rate is expected to fall to 6.7% from the previous 6.8%, which is already the lowest in the last five years.

Fewer jobs for London cabbies. Up to 10,000 taxi drivers will mass in central London to protest against ride-sharing and car-service apps like Uber and Kabbee.

New numbers from Inditex. The Spanish fashion giant offers an update on financial results. Interest is high in the company’s recently launched line of more-affordable “sister stores” to its successful Zara brand.

No changes for OPEC. Oil ministers from the energy cartel’s countries, meeting in Vienna, are expected to leave production targets in place.

The Blackwater trial begins. Seven years after the killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, former employees of the US security contractor Blackwater face prosecutors.

While you were sleeping

Iraq’s second biggest city fell to al-Qaeda. Sunni militants captured Mosul, home to 2 million Iraqis, in a big setback for the country’s Shi’ite-led administration. The rebels are part of a jihadist group also active in Syria, and their victory brings them closer to the goal of creating an Islamist state that straddles the Iraq-Syria border.

Google bought another satellite company. The search giant snapped up Skybox Imaging for $500 million, which it says will help it maintain accurate imagery, and eventually better internet access. In April, Google bought solar-powered satellite maker Titan Aerospace as part of a project to deliver internet access to people in remote areas.

AIG named a new CEO. The insurance giant, which played a large role in bringing about the 2008 economic crisis and was bailed out by the US government (but repaid it all), appointed Peter Hancock as its head, replacing Robert Benmosche, who steered the company through the crisis.

Social media giants geared up for the World Cup. Twitter turned on ”hashflags”—images of flags for countries playing in the tournament, which show up when you tweet their country codes. It’s part of a broader push to drive user growth. Not to be outdone, Facebook launched its own World Cup hub.

Israel picked a president. Reuven Rivlin, a member of Binyamin Netanyahu’s center-right Likud party (but no great friend of Netanyahu’s), will replace the veteran Shimon Peres in July after winning a vote against five rivals.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on how the “internet of things” is changing the nature of the chip industry. “[C]hip-makers are paying greater attention to new markets and older designs. The new markets are in devices that stray beyond computers, phones and tablets: a new range of sensors, wearables, and smart objects that are becoming a part of the ‘internet of things,’ as well as older machines that are increasing their computing power, such as cars.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’s time to get rid of Sepp Blatter. The FIFA head runs soccer’s governing body like a dictatorship and has done too little against corruption.

Halophytes are the crop of the future. We should be cultivating salt-water plants as an environmentally friendly source of biofuels, animal feed, and chemicals.

GM is letting itself off too lightly. The report it commissioned on its ignition-switch failures absolves senior management of what was clearly an institutional cover-up.

Electric-car owners shouldn’t be so smug. Their cars run off electricity mainly from fossil fuels, and encourage massive road-building.

The Mistral ship sale shows the EU is shipwrecked. That Russia could buy highly advanced warships from France despite its meddling in Ukraine proves how divided Western nations are.

Surprising discoveries

The earth is 60 million years older than we thought. An analysis of gases sealed in ancient quartz (yes, quartz!) reveals previous estimates were slightly out.

65% of World Cup players are based outside their home countries. And there are four countries that have only one native player on their home team.

There are 31 countries whose borders Google Maps might not show you. Territorial disputes mean it displays different countries’ outlines in different ways.

Beer cans are making a comeback. Fancy craft beer used to only come in glass bottles, but that’s beginning to change.

So much Arctic ice has melted that we need a new atlas. But deciding what ice it should show isn’t a straightforward matter.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pieces of ancient quartz, and new atlases to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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