Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Malaysia’s crash investigation, Microsoft’s footprint, Nasdaq hackers, office f-bombs

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What to watch for today

Malaysia investigates its airline flight crash in Ukraine. Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak is launching an investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines’s Boeing 777 in war-torn Eastern Ukraine, which had 295 people on board. So far US intelligence officials have confirmed that a ground-to-air missile downed the plane (paywall).

Berlusconi faces the fire. An appeal ruling is expected for the former Italian prime minister for convictions of abusing power and engaging a 17-year-old in prostitution. If denied, he faces a seven-year prison term.

GE sits on big decisions. GE’s second-quarter earnings come after striking its biggest acquisition in history, to buy Alstom’s power assets for $16.9 billion. And the pending IPO of its consumer finance arm, Synchrony Financial, could be the US’s biggest public offering this year.

Americans embrace economic ca-ching. The country’s July consumer sentiment survey is expected to show that its consumers feel more confident about the economy than they did in June.

While you were sleeping

Israel’s military launched into Gaza. After a five-hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza, hostilities resumed. Israel launched its ground operation after its military officials said rockets were fired into open areas in southern Israel and three Palestinian children were killed by airstrikes.

Microsoft laid off 18,000 workers. The tech giant is eliminating 14% of its workforce, the largest job cuts in the company’s 39-year history, and a move that is bound to alter its global footprint.

Russian hackers (almost) stole the Nasdaq. An exclusive Bloomberg Businessweek report revealed that elite Russian hackers broke into Nasdaq’s computer system in 2010, allowing months worth of meddling and planting of malware.

Australia scrapped its carbon tax. Environmentalists denounced the country’s decision to be the first developed nation to repeal laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions. No wonder: Australia is one of the world’s biggest per capita carbon emitters.

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Frommer on Microsoft preparing for its new role as the underdog. “In reality, Microsoft is now an underdog, and new CEO Satya Nadella seems to get that. Sure, Windows still runs more than 90% of desktop and laptop PCs sold worldwide. But the near-term future of the computer industry isn’t just PCs—it’s also mobile devices, including phones and tablets. With that broader definition of a computer, Microsoft Windows powered just 14% of computers shipped last year, according to Gartner. In a software era defined by cross-device continuity and network effects, Microsoft doesn’t have nearly enough.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The Malaysia Airlines crash bodes poorly for the war in Ukraine. It suggests the conflict is escalating.

Go ahead, reuse weak passwords across multiple accounts. The security wonks who say you shouldn’t are wrong.

Harry Potter played a part in Obama’s 2008 victory. Millennials who read the fantasy series were brainwashed by its Democratic values.

Hipsters should stop drinking almond milk. It’s a waste of nutrients and resources.

Surprising discoveries

Mount Fuji is getting angry. The Japanese earthquake that caused the Fukushima disaster raised pressure below the active volcano.

The use of f-bombs spiked during recession. They were more tolerated in the workplace then.

Marvel diversified its superheroes. The comic book giant announced a black Captain America and a female Thor.

Stop the “this weekend” vs. “next weekend” madness. The second weekend from now should be called “oxt weekend.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, repetitive password ideas, and almond milk alternatives to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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