Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Typhoon Matmo, Israel flight ban, Putin’s phone calls, micro-apartments

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What to watch for today

A Chinese firm dices with default. Chinese traders are fearful of what would be only the second default in the nation’s onshore bond market, and the first ever default on a principal payment rather than interest, if construction company Huatong Road & Bridge Group fails to meet a 400 million yuan ($64 million) payment.

A nice lift for Facebook. The world’s largest social network will likely see a rise in earnings per share as the company’s mobile advertising business booms. Investors will also be waiting to hear the new CFO, David Wehner, speak for the first time.

Taiwan braces for its first major typhoon of the year. Cities are closing schools and offices in anticipation of Typhoon Matmo, which has sustained winds of 137 kilometers (85 miles) per hour. Stocks and bonds will see no action and currency markets are expected to follow suit.

While you were sleeping

Various airlines suspended flights to Israel. US and some European carriers halted service after a rocket landed about a mile from Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport. The US Federal Aviation Administration followed suit with a 24-hour ban.

Argentina’s bond talks went into overdrive. With Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez refusing to budge on paying holdout hedge funds and a July 30 deadline looming, a US judge rejected arguments by a lawyer for Argentina and ordered 24-hour negotiations to help avoid the second debt default by the country in 13 years.

The EU was all talk and no action. EU leaders postponed new sanctions against Russia over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, since they didn’t have the approval of all EU governments. Britain took its own potshot at Russia by opening a new inquiry into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian defector, on UK soil.

McDonald’s and Coca-Cola came up short. The fast-food chain’s profit fell more than expected because of weak sales in the US and Europe, and the soda company reported higher sales volumes thanks to the World Cup but lower revenue and profit, partly due to extra marketing costs (paywall) as it battles for the soda market share.

Apple’s iPhone sales drove its earnings. Though sales slowed, as they typically do in the quarter before an expected new iPhone launch, Apple sold 35.2 million iPhones, a 13% increase from the same period last year, and saw a 12% increase in profit, exceeding analysts’ expectations.

Bill Ackman’s attack on Herbalife backfired. The billionaire hedge fund manager’s three-hour presentation that promised to give a deathblow to the nutritional drinks chain did not impress investors; the stock surged 15% as he spoke.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian analyzes Vladimir Putin’s phone records. “No leader has had more contact with Putin than German chancellor Angela Merkel. Over the past six months she has spoken with the Russian president about Ukraine more than twice as many times as any other world leader. In their most recent conversation, the German chancellor “urged the Russian President strongly to use his influence over the separatists,” according to her office. This account fits Merkel’s cautious, deliberate approach to diplomacy with Russia, which has nonetheless hardened since the annexation of Crimea in March.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t send your kid to an Ivy League school. There are plenty of other places to get a first-rate education.

Drone sales should be regulated, before they get into the hands of terrorists.

Eat these fish and help the planet—and yourself. Alaskan wild salmon, Pacific wild sardines, and a few other species aren’t chronically overfished or riddled with toxins.

Bad highways are threatening the North American economy. Chronic funding shortages have left the transport systems that underpin US and Canadian trade in poor shape.

Surprising discoveries

A cancer-fighting drug has ignited an HIV breakthrough. An anti-cancer medicine exposes the hibernating HIV virus, making it susceptible to attack.

Two white flags replaced American flags atop the Brooklyn bridge. The New York police are investigating.

Hong Kong’s richest man is building micro-apartments about the size of a prison cell. It makes sense for one of the world’s most dense and expensive cities.

A Chinese shopping mall has women-only parking spots. The pink, wider spaces have sparked an outrage. 

A squatter found a loophole via Airbnb. A tenant won’t leave a Palm Springs condo until he is legally evicted.

Black people age faster than white people. A new study suggests black Americans tend to be more than three years older, biologically.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tiny apartment floor plans, and Ivy League rejection letters to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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