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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Japan’s typhoon, French jobs, Iraq’s power vacuum, heroin marketing

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

A huge storm heads for Okinawa. Japan has issued emergency warnings for the island as Super Typhoon Neoguri is forecast to become a Category 5 typhoon, with 160-mile-an-hour winds. That would make it the strongest storm to make landfall in the Pacific since Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people in the Philippines last November.

Jean–Claude Juncker begins his EU charm offensive. The Luxembourg native, likely the next president of the European Commission, will spend the next two days meeting with a series of political groups in the European parliament in an attempt to convince them he’s the right man for the job.

Alcoa kicks off earnings season. The aluminum giant releases second-quarter results, which will give a sense of the effect of weak aluminum prices, and the outlook for the global aerospace sector, an industry in which Alcoa has focused its efforts recently.

Brazil releases inflation data. Currently the subject of global attention for the World Cup, the country’s currency has been under scrutiny, declining against the dollar rapidly recently. Economists estimated consumer prices rose 6.51% through June ahead of tomorrow’s official announcement, which would be just above the upper limit of the country’s official target.

Moguls gather in Sun Valley. At this year’s annual Allen & Co. conference of some 250 top media and tech execs, a famously elite gathering in California, the planned mega-mergers of US telecoms firms are likely to dominate the agenda (paywall).

Legal pot goes on sale in Washington. It becomes the second US state where marijuana can be sold for recreational use. In Colorado, which legalized recreational use six months ago, the governor recently said the outcome “could’ve been a lot worse.”

While you were sleeping

Is this man Afghanistan’s new president? Preliminary results declared former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani the winner of last month’s presidential election run-off, with 56.44% of the vote. But the process has been dogged by cheating and fraud, and the tally may still change; final results are due on July 22.

France’s jobs drive got off to a rocky start. A job-creation summit launched by president François Holland aims to create half a million jobs in return for lower taxes. But the summit opened with labor boycotts from leading French union federations, saying they would skip out on Tuesday’s talks.

Carrefour gave up on the Indian market. The French supermarket giant is closing down its five wholesale stores in the country, four years after they opened. Frustrated at restrictions on foreign ownership of retail supermarkets, Carrefour had been trying to form a joint venture with Bharti Group, but those talks have broken down.

Iraq will remain rudderless a little longer. Iraq’s new parliament was meant to meet today for another attempt at choosing a successor to prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, after talks last week broke down. But the meeting got postponed to next month after leaders failed to reach a deal despite growing unrest (paywall).

Uber took on New York City taxis. The startup that allows people to order a car via a smartphone temporarily cut its fares by 20% in New York, to compete with standard yellow cabs. But that’s also a 20% wage cut for Uber drivers.

Eduard Shevardnadze died. The Soviet foreign minister who helped Mikhail Gorbachev break up the USSR and went on to become a divisive president of his native Georgia was 86.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on what the US’s busiest port explains about the world’s economy. “The first thing you notice on a visit to the Port of Los Angeles is the cranes towering along the water, poised over the massive ships beneath them. The second is that there are no people, at least none visible: Sometimes you catch sight of a silhouette in a crane’s control room or a truck cab, but the work that goes on is largely far above human scale. This is the US gateway to the most important economic trend of the new century: The epic export-driven growth of China’s economy.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t panic about market corrections. They’re normal, inevitable, and all but impossible to forecast.

Silicon Valley is investing in the wrong stuff. Why money flows to instant messaging instead of potentially transformative research (paywall).

America’s love of soccer isn’t just a fad. The audience is younger, better informed, and more likely to stick around until the next World Cup than ever.

Russia is losing its battle with stagflation. Despite the Kremlin’s attempts to put a positive spin on recent economic news, things are looking rough.

Surprising discoveries

Japanese grapes can be incredibly expensive. A wedding hall spent $5,400 on a bunch of 30 Ruby Roman grapes, the first of the season.

ATM skimmers have gotten frighteningly tiny. The devices that thieves attach to cash machines to steal card data are incredibly difficult to detect.

Heroin baggies include surprisingly intricate marketing. From planned obsolescence to diluting brand power, the underground economy mirrors the legitimate one.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, expensive grapes, and heroin baggies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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