Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Pakistan’s protests, the Mosul dam, Gaza ceasefire, emoji origins

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Khan’s supporters march into scary territory. Supporters of opposition politician Imran Khan are set to march into Islamabad’s “Red Zone,” an area of diplomatic missions and government offices, after prime minister Nawaz Sharif failed to meet Khan’s Monday midnight deadline to resign over claims of election fraud.

Israel and Hamas give it one more day. The two sides agreed to extend the five-day ceasefire that elapsed on Monday by another 24 hours after talks in Cairo on ending the Gaza war saw no breakthrough. Israel has also destroyed the homes in the West Bank of two of the suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers in June.

A moment of reckoning for New Zealand’s government. A month out from the general election, finance minister Bill English, who along with prime minister John Key is campaigning for a third term in office, will publish a fiscal update that should reveal whether he can deliver the first budget surplus in seven years as he promised.

While you were sleeping

Kurdish and Iraqi forces recaptured the Mosul dam. The Iraqi military and Kurdish peshmerga are claiming victory, with the help of US air strikes, in driving out ISIL militants, who seized Iraq’s biggest dam weeks ago. The fighting was intense, with conflicting claims for a time over whether the structure was back in government hands.

Turkey gave Germany a rap on the knuckles… Turkey’s foreign minister summoned the German ambassador over allegations that the German secret service, BND, had eavesdropped on conversations between the US and Turkey—just the kind of thing that infuriated chancellor Angela Merkel when the US did it to Germany.

…and StanChart could get a second rap on the knuckles. The UK-based bank is reportedly preparing to pay up $300 million (paywall) to New York regulators. Two years ago it was fined for transactions that violated sanctions on Sudan, Iran, Libya, and Myanmar; the new fine is because the procedures it put in place to prevent such transactions allegedly didn’t work properly.

The cavalry is on its way to Ferguson. Missouri’s governor called in the National Guard and lifted the nighttime curfew (paywall) after a particularly violent night of looting and clashes between protestors and police. Meanwhile, president Obama said he would send Eric Holder, the US attorney-general, to the town on Wednesday to monitor unrest.

Claims of carnage in Ukraine. Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of firing rockets at a convoy of buses carrying civilians who were fleeing the fighting between rebel and government forces, killing dozens. The separatists denied it happened; so far there’s been no independent confirmation.

Dollar General entered the race for Family Dollar. Dollar General has offered $8.9 billion for Family Dollar (some reports say $9.7 billion), trumping Dollar Tree’s previous $8.5 billion bid three weeks ago. It’s the latest move in a bidding war that will determine who comes out as the top US discount retailer.

Quartz obsession interlude

Max Nisen on how Google decides whether to buy a company. “At Google, the process comes down to co-founder Larry Page’s “toothbrush test,” according to the New York Times (paywall): Is the product the target company makes something people will use at least once a day, and that makes their lives better? This reflects an attitude that values growth over profit, instinct and product over advice from Wall Street, and the long term over the short run.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Geopolitics has no effect on your investments. Markets only slightly teeter on news of war, then resume their prior trend.

We won’t fix climate change by eating fewer hamburgers. Instead, science should focus on making livestock more productive (paywall) and environmentally friendly.

The first step to fighting Ebola is shoes. Millions of people in Africa walk barefoot, which puts them at higher risk of catching all kinds of infections.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders see peace as a threat. The continued conflict allows them to avoid dealing with tough domestic problems.

Surprising discoveries

An explanation for two inscrutable emojis. If you’ve ever wondered what both arms crossed in front of you or raised in a circle mean, we can now reveal all.

The world’s most pierced man couldn’t get into Dubai. Airport officials thought Rolf Buchholz, visiting to perform at a nightclub, was “black magic.”

Hillary Clinton already travels like she’s president. The standard speaker’s contract for the former secretary of state includes a private jet, the presidential hotel suite, and an entourage.

Chess can be lethal. Two players recently died at an international tournament, and the mental and physical stress has claimed other victims too.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unusual emojis, and extra piercings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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