Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—India’s budget, Snowden’s asylum, banking benchmarks, Harry Potter

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What to watch for today

India’s first taste of Modinomics. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s first budget will set the tone for reform, after yesterday’s government economic survey depicted a dangerous fiscal deficit, 4.6% of GDP in the last fiscal year. The finance minister, Arun Jaitley, will outline a plan to boost economic growth and narrow the deficit.

Negotiations in Indonesia. The president has summoned the two candidates in the presidential election, reformer Joko Widodo and ex-general Prabowo Subianto, to hold talks aimed at preventing unrest, after both men claimed victory in the closely-fought race. Final results aren’t due until July 22.

China’s economy could be in for a treat.  Although Asia’s biggest economy showed a slowdown in inflation yesterday, trade data out today are expected to forecast stronger domestic demand and faster growth in the export market.

All eyes on Malaysia’s central bank. South Korea’s and Indonesia’s central banks are meeting to set monetary policy too, but traders are keeping a close eye on Malaysia’s Bank Negara, expected to hike interest rates to 3.25% as inflation picks up.

Half an eye on the Bank of England. The central bank is unlikely to raise its record-low benchmark rate (0.5%)  at today’s policy meeting. But the incoming deputy governor, Nemat Shafik, suggested that it might soon do so, as spare capacity (or “slack”) in the economy is reducing—one of governor Mark Carney’s triggers for raising rates.

Will Family Dollar earnings matter? The US discount store chain reports quarterly earnings, which are forecast to dip by about 18%. But analysts will be more interested in questioning the CEO on whether the company is planning to sell, under pressure from billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

World Cupdate. As we send this the Argentina v Netherlands semi-final has gone to penalty kicks. We’re on the edge of our seats. The winner plays Germany in the final.

While you were sleeping

The Israel-Hamas conflict intensified. Israeli planes bombarded Gaza while militants targeted rocket fire at the heart of Israel for the second day straight. Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has hinted he might send ground troops into Gaza, where the air strikes have so far killed over 40 people.

Edward Snowden’s looming expiration date. The ex-NSA contractor who leaked US intelligence documents is applying to extend his asylum in Russia, where he’s been living since June 2013. His current permit expires at the end of the month.

IBM made another bet on chips. Though the company is selling its chip-making arm, it announced it wants to pour $3 billion into computing and chip materials research over the next five years, but with a focus on smaller, stronger semiconductors instead of traditional silicon chips.

Citigroup’s mortgage mega-fine. The bank and the US Justice Department could reach a $7 billion deal to settle a probe into its alleged sale of questionable mortgage investments as early as next week. That means the heat will next be on Bank of America to settle its own investigation, which some reports have said could cost it $12 billion.

New Orleans’ ex-mayor got jail time. Ray Nagin, who was the head of the city and the spokesman of its suffering during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was sentenced to 10 years for bribery, wire fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other charges.

At least someone was happy Brazil lost. The country’s stock markets jumped at the prospect that Brazil’s 7-1 defeat in the World Cup semi-final might scupper president Dilma Rousseff’s re-election chances this October; investors blame her policies for an economic slowdown, high inflation and growing unrest.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on the company that thinks it can create an incorruptible banking benchmark. ”So why is Credit Benchmark so sure that the data it gets won’t be fiddled? Crucially, because it comes directly from the systems that the banks already use to calculate how much capital they hold against their various exposures—which is also shared with regulators.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Brazil’s defeat is good for it. The lack of evident leadership in yesterday’s match can provide an opportunity for a new government and economic reform.

The selfish narcissist is more likely to get promoted than you are. The humble, hardworking employees will stay at the bottom of the food chain.

Silicon Valley interns’ salaries are ridiculously high—and totally justified. A $6,000-a-month pay packet is only fair if a high-caliber tech company expects professional work.

The US should spend less on border security and more on aid to Central America. That would do more to stop the flood of migrants than the extra $3.7 billion in security measures the president wants.

Surprising discoveries

The 34-year-old Harry Potter has “threads of silver” in his hair. And he’s busy watching the Quidditch world cup, according to a new J.K. Rowling short story.

Dubai is at it again. This time it’s the world’s first climate-controlled pedestrian city.

A record number of Americans want to go to business school. Competition is cut-throat for the top undergraduate business schools in the US.

Got sand in your cellphone? Good. Researchers have developed a lithium-ion battery made from sand.

An American is worth 110 times as much as an Indian. To advertisers, that is.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, business school admissions bribes, and ground-breaking battery technologies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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