Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Google’s big day, Libya’s vote, China’s currency controls, intelligent fish

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What to watch for today

Google kicks off its biggest event of the year. The web giant’s annual I/O Conference is aimed at developers, but has served to introduce new features and products in the past. There are rumors the company will debut the newest version of its Android mobile operating system.

(Some) Libyans go to the polls. These will be the second election Libya has held since it ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Some 1.5 million voters have registered to vote for the 200-seat parliament, barely half as many as for the first election in 2012. The vote was called after a renegade general’s supporters stormed and suspended parliament.

Yahoo talks up its book. At its investor meeting the company will try to show that it’s worth something more than the money it will make off Alibaba’s upcoming IPO. The meeting (which will stream here) comes after a week where Yahoo announced a breaking news team, and its CEO allegedly missed a meeting with ad executives because she fell asleep.

What’s a camera company worth these days? Sports-camera maker GoPro is expected to price 18 million shares at somewhere between $18 and $24 in advance of its Thursday IPO. That would net the company around $400 million at a $2.8 billion valuation.

While you were sleeping

Scotland Yard wants a word with Rupert Murdoch. Investigators will interview the News Corp head after a jury on Tuesday acquitted former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks in the British phone-hacking scandal but found former News of The World editor Andy Coulson guilty. Police had agreed to wait until after the trial to interview Murdoch himself.

German booksellers are mad at Amazon. The German Publishers and Booksellers Association launched a formal complaint against the e-commerce giant, accusing it of violating competition laws and using its dominant position in the market to strong-arm publishers.

More signs that the Middle East property bubble is bursting. Dubai’s stock market fell 6.7%, its biggest drop in nearly a year, on reports that Arabtec, the region’s biggest builder, is firing people. The index is down 25% from its peak last month, after going up more 250% in the past two years.

Putin renounced his military option in Ukraine. After pro-Russian rebels allegedly shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter despite a temporary ceasefire, Vladimir Putin asked Russia’s parliament to revoke a right it had given him to send troops there to protect Russian-speakers, which could mark a de-escalation of the conflict.

The US got good news on housing and consumer confidence. New home sales in the United States rose substantially in May, and consumer confidence is at its highest level in six and a half years. Both are seen as signs of a potentially accelerating economy.

Carnival Cruises made more money than expected. The world’s largest cruise operator has shaken off the last couple of years’ horror stories, and made $106 million last quarter, up on $41 million in the same quarter last year. But the rest of the year is likely to be harder due to cutthroat competition in the core Caribbean market.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how China doesn’t have as much currency control as it thinks: “While rising torrents of foreign borrowing keep its system liquid, they have also left China’s central bank with less control over the financial system than it had just two years ago. And that reliance on foreign borrowing makes the country much more vulnerable to a liquidity seize-up than many—including China’s leaders—realize.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

A generational cigarette is a bad idea. There’s a campaign in Britain to ban cigarette sales to anyone born after the year 2000 forever, but there are better ways to bring smoking down.

Tennis could teach other sports about gender equality. The big tennis tournaments are among the few that give men and women equal pay and TV exposure.

Greenpeace’s rogue trader should have bought bitcoin. An employee of the environmental organization made an ill advised bet on currency futures that cost it €3.8 million. Bitcoin would have kept it in the black.

NASA’s plan to get to Mars is a joke. The idea of pushing a small asteroid into orbit around the moon and using it as a springboard to Mars is probably impractical and crazy expensive.

Surprising discoveries

Supercomputers aren’t speeding up any more. A group that ranks the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world is seeing stagnation at the top and bottom of its list.

Flag icons on Twitter take up two characters. It’s all because of political sensitivities about how to encode country symbols.

Last month was the hottest May on record. Global temperatures saw the biggest spike since data started being collected in 1880. Spain and South Korea were particularly toasty.

Fish might be a lot smarter than we think. Their cognitive and perceptual abilities often match or exceed those of other vertebrates, and there’s strong evidence that they feel pain.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Mars mission ideas, and spare air conditioner locations to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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