Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Gas pipelines, Argentina’s costly news, tax havens, football manners

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What to watch for today

The next stage in Alstom’s bidding war. General Electric has said it won’t improve its $16.9 billion offer for Alstom, but the US conglomerate could offer fresh concessions (paywall) to the French government to bag its approval, after Siemens and Mitsubishi put forward a cheaper but more complex bid.

UK inflation eases slightly. The UK’s consumer price index is set to fall from 1.8% to 1.7% after unexpectedly marking its first increase in almost a year last month. With the rate under the government’s 2% target, this shouldn’t present a problem for the central bank—unless the UK follows its continental neighbors  and heads toward deflation.

Rengan Rajaratnam’s insider trading trial. The former Galleon Group fund manager is charged with trading on insider information provided by his brother Raj, who is currently serving a sentence of more than 11 years (paywall). Rengan Rajaratnam made $800,000 in profits from the tips.

Canada decides: to pipe or not to pipe? The Canadian government reaches its deadline to decide whether to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline. Many environmentalist groups oppose Enbridge Inc’s $6.5 billion plan to pipe oil through the Rockies to the British Columbia coast for shipping overseas because of the risk of spills.

Hillary Clinton faces the wolves. The potential future Democratic presidential candidate could tackle questions on topics from Benghazi to same-sex marriage when she gives an interview on pro-Republican Fox News to Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren, a week after the release of her book, Hard Choices.

The World Cup’s second leg of group games kicks off. Brazil takes on Mexico at 3am Wednesday HKT in the second Group A game; both teams won their first match last week. Brazil is seen as the stronger team—but Mexico beat Brazil in the 2012 Olympic final and has won several recent matches against it. Also playing: Belgium v Algeria (midnight Tuesday), and Russia v South Korea (6am Wednesday). US v Ghana is in progress as we write this; the US scored in the first 45 seconds.

While you were sleeping

Russia cut off Ukraine’s gas supply. For the third time in eight years (paywall), Russia ceased gas deliveries to Ukraine, rejecting Kyiv’s offer to pay $1 billion of the $1.95 billion owed and settle the rest later. Ukraine’s Naftogaz has enough reserves to last until December. Russia will still supply gas via Ukrainian pipelines to the EU.

A costly ruling for Argentina. The US Supreme Court, upholding the verdicts of lower courts, decided that Argentina must pay all creditors at the same rate on bonds it issued before defaulting in 2001. Since it doesn’t have the money for that, Argentina could default again at the end of this month, unless it cuts a new deal with creditors.

China topped the global debt ranking. At $14.2 trillion, China’s level of corporate debt is at a global high after surpassing the US’s $13.1 trillion last year, according to a S&P report. China’s debt could overtake North America’s and Europe’s combined by 2016.

Greenpeace International admitted to a bad bet. The environmental group (distinct from the individual country chapters) revealed that it lost €3.8 million ($5.2 million) last year—on total income of €72.9 million—due to an employee’s ill-judged currency hedge.

Another massive tax-led merger. US-based Medtronic, a medical device company, will buy Ireland-based Covidien for $42.9 billion to get itself a lower tax rate by headquartering itself in Ireland. Such deals are on the rise as US companies try to keep almost $2 trillion of offshore profits out of the taxman’s hands.

The World Cup’s “Group of Death” surprised footy fans. Portugal endured an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Germany, playing with 10 men after Pepe got himself sent off in the first half. This could be good news for the US, which plays Ghana this morning to round off the first set of Group D games. Iran and Nigeria played the least eventful game of the tournament so far, drawing 0-0.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how Marriot is helping “Bitcoin Jesus” sell cheap citizenship in Caribbean tax havens. “Tired of paying wealthy-nation taxes? Worried that, in the event of calamity, your citizenship is going to drag you down? Roger Ver, the investor known as “Bitcoin Jesus,” has the product for you: Just use bitcoin to purchase a share in a Marriott development on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and Nevis, and the government will throw in citizenship and a passport that gets you to 140 countries without a visa.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

President Obama has every right to pop into Starbucks. A free press shouldn’t negate a free president; he should be able to grab a coffee without alerting the media.

The World Cup isn’t really about football. What could be the biggest event in television history is advertisers’ heaven.

Why Warren Buffet can’t get enough of Wells Fargo. The bank is set to become the most highly valued financial institution in US history—and it’s also reassuringly boring.

Twitter doesn’t give the people a voice. It’s a more effective tool for amplifying celebrities’ opinions than nurturing open discussion.

Surprising discoveries

Starbucks offered its baristas a fully-funded college education. 135,000 employees are eligible to choose an undergraduate program at Arizona State University.

Watching the World Cup isn’t a given in Ghana. The country bought electricity from Ivory Coast to ensure uninterrupted game viewing.

It would cost $343,368 to buy every product featured in June’s issue of Vogue. If you’re on a budget, buy everything in Real Simple instead. That’ll cost you a mere $15,581.

Narcissism is a helpful trait during job interviews. Modest applicants from reserved, self-deprecating cultures could suffer.

Japanese football fans have the best manners. Even though their team lost on Saturday, the fans stayed behind to clean up the stadium.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, polite football chants, and Vogue freebies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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