Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Asian diplomacy, US jobs bonanza, Sarkozy’s bust, Malaysia’s fat

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What to watch for today

Beijing cozies up to Seoul. China’s president will meet with South Korean president Park Geun-hye. It’s the latest example of the closer relationship that’s developed between the two countries of late, as China’s relations cool with both North Korea (the south’s enemy) and Japan (its economic rival).

Steady as she goes in Europe. The European Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged when it meets today, though some worry that it will launch Federal Reserve-style asset purchases. Last month, the monetary authority cut rates to a record low of 0.15%.

A hiring bonanza in the US. The 281,000 increase in private-sector jobs announced yesterday by payroll company ADP—as well as several other indicators—hints that the government’s official jobs report, announced later today (8:30am ET, 8:30pm HKT) will be similarly upbeat.

Japan weighs sanctions on North Korea. The Japanese government will decide whether to lift sanctions it imposed after the hermit nation kidnapped Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to help train spies.

India and China talk defense. General Bikram Singh meets with Chinese vice president Li Yuanchao today to advance military relations between the two nations. The two leaders are expected to discuss regional security as well as cooperation on border defense.

While you were sleeping

Yellen stood firm on monetary policy tools. The Federal Reserve chair said that central banks shouldn’t raise interest rates to discourage risky behavior; that’s a job for regulation and supervision, she argued. She also noted that she sees “pockets of increased risk-taking” in the financial system.

Nicolas Sarkozy was charged with corruption. The police charged the former French president with influence-peddling, alleging that he abused his power to get information about corruption probes into his campaign financing. Though he’s weathered such probes before, the scandal might stymie his chances for a political comeback.

Tyson and Hillshire will make meat together. Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hotdogs, officially agreed to be bought by Tyson Foods for $7.7 billion, an offer that ended a long-running bidding war between Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. Both companies’ boards still must approve the deal.

The death of a Palestinian teen ignited violent clashes. Protesters and the Israeli police rumbled in East Jerusalem after rumors spread that Jewish vigilantes had killed the boy to avenge the murder of three Israeli teens, whose bodies were found on Monday.

Facebook apologized for doing creepy things. Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s COO, said an experiment in mood manipulation on nearly 700,000 users was “poorly communicated.” The British and Irish data protection regulators said they are looking into whether the study, conducted in 2012 but published last week, broke privacy laws.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jenni Avins plumbs the history of America’s wedding-industrial complex. “While 2013′s average wedding price tag of $29,548 is pretty staggering, Depression-era couples in the US—when unemployment hovered between 17% and 20%—were no slouches either when it came to wedding spending. The average 1930s spend of $392.30 ($6,481 in today’s dollars, adjusted for inflation) may sound modest, but it was worth one quarter of household income back then (pdf).” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Britain and the EU can’t save their marriage. The proposal of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next head of the European Commission confirms that the EU is moving toward a closer union, against the wishes of the UK.

ISIL is the new Taliban, not the new al-Qaeda. Its goal is to conquer territory, not launch global jihad.

Climate change is partly responsible for destabilizing Iraq. Droughts and other strains on natural resources are fueling the unrest there.

The age of Silicon Valley sexism isn’t over. Despite the suspension of a Tinder exec accused of sexual harassment, the consequences facing “dudebro” perpetrators of this culture are minimal.

The Brazuca is a much better-designed World Cup ball than the Jabulani. Apparently the design used in South Africa was so aerodynamic it was hard to control.

Surprising discoveries

Almost half of Malaysians are obese. It’s now Asia’s fattest country, with obesity rates higher than 45%.

Fur supposedly from the Yeti is from a mysterious bear species unknown to science. Specimens of hair from Bigfoot, however, turned out to actually be from raccoons, cows and humans.

Beyoncé makes nearly twice what Jay-Z does. She earned $115 million in the year ended June 1, 2014, compared with her husband’s $60 million, according to Forbes.

In medieval times, Rome’s Colosseum was a giant housing complex. Between 800 and 1,349 AD, the venue best known for hosting bloodsports functioned as a huge condo rented out by friars.

Macau is the world’s fourth-richest territory per person. After blowing past Switzerland, it’s now behind only Luxembourg, Norway and Qatar (paywall).

Incredibly realistic skulls can be carved from Belgian chocolate. Sold on Etsy by chocolatiers who boast of their products’ ”fresh from the ground” look.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments or Yeti hair, or Belgian chocolate body parts to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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