Quartz Daily Brief—Asian diplomacy, US jobs bonanza, Obama’s unfinished business, Beyoncé out-earns Jay-Z

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What to watch for today

Beijing cozies up to Seoul. China president Xi Jinping will visit his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye. It’s the latest example of the close relationship that has developed as China’s relations cool with North Korea and Japan.

Steady as she goes in Europe. The European Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged, though some think it may 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 jobs report is expected to be particularly upbeat; yesterday’s preview from payroll company ADP said 281,000 private sector jobs were created in June.

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

A look at Brazil’s World Cup effect. HSBC releases its purchasing managers’ index for the service industry for June, which will serve as a useful way to gauge how much hotels, restaurants, and bars have benefitted from football.

While you were sleeping

Obama has unfinished business with Wall Street. The US president wants to see reforms that reduce banks’ appetites for risks that could harm many but only benefit a few. Obama told the radio program Marketplace he also wants banks to profit from investing in US growth, not just from “trading bets.”

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 also noted that she sees “pockets of increased risk-taking” in the financial system.

Japan moved to ease North Korean sanctions. Shinzo Abe’s government said it will lift some of its restrictions against the hermit kingdom—its citizens, ships, and commerce are currently banned from Japan—after North Korea agreed to reinvestigate the fate of Japanese citizens who were abducted in the 1970s and 1980s.

Australian retail sales took a fall. A 0.5% decline in retail sales in May surprised analysts who expected them to remain flat. Slowing activity in Australia’s mining sector appears to be dragging on consumer confidence.

The US tightened security rules at overseas airports, announcing plans to put “enhanced security measures” in place due to reports that al Qaeda operatives in Syria and Yemen are creating bombs that could be smuggled on to planes.

American Apparel’s ousted CEO handed over his shares. Ousted CEO Dov Charney gave his voting rights to Standard General, the hedge fund that had previously supported him in an attempt to retake control of the retailer. American Apparel has not met with Charney since he was suspended and will only deal with Standard General.

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 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.

We’re in too much of a rush to let people die. The way doctors discuss life-sustaining treatment options with patients needs to change.

Climate change destabilized Iraq. Droughts and other strains on natural resources are fueling the unrest there.

The true story of Tinder is worse than you think. The dating app start-up mired in a sexual harassment lawsuit also tried to erase its female co-founder.

Surprising discoveries

Goldman Sachs is suing Google over a misaddressed email. The bank would really like the message to be deleted.

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

Beyoncé makes nearly twice as much as Jay-Z. She earned $115 million in the year to June 1, according to Forbes.

Rome’s Colosseum was also a condo complex. Between 800 and 1,349 AD, the venue best known for hosting bloodsports was 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).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, misaddressed email hijinks, and Colosseum condo floorplans to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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