Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Syria brinkmanship, solar earnings, Russian warming, confession TV

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What to watch for today

Turkey toys with interest rates. The central bank is under pressure from the government to drop its benchmark rate again, despite have lowered it by 175 basis points since January. The government says  more rate cuts will slow inflation, contrary to what most economists believe.

Tiffany and Co. reels in the bling. After reporting revenue over $1 billion last quarter, the retailer and jeweler hopes to continue its strong streak. Despite a luxury brand slowdown in Asia, analysts are expecting the company to report even higher profit than in the previous quarter.

Hopeful news for the solar industry. Yingli, the world’s largest solar panel maker, is expected to report a smaller quarterly loss, amid signs that the three-year-long global glut of solar components is coming to an end. Its competitor Trina yesterday reported a 69% jump in shipments (and that was less than it hoped for).

Brinkmanship over Syria. The news that the Islamic State wants $6.6 million for an American aid worker held hostage in Syria will add to pressure on the US to launch airstrikes against the militants, after it sent surveillance flights to track them. Syria has warned the US not to bomb unilaterally. Here’s the town it might bomb first.

While you were sleeping

There was gunfire in Gaza, joyful this time. Palestinians turned out to cheer an indefinite ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, including an agreement to ease Israel’s blockade on Gaza immediately and discuss further measures in a month. Some Israeli analysts note it was a better deal for Hamas than one Israel previously rejected (paywall).

France unveiled its new cabinet. It’s the third in François Hollande’s two years as president, after a dust-up with anti-austerity rebels. The new line-up replaces the firebrand leftist economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, with Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker described as a “seducer.”

Burgers + donuts = tasty, said Warren Buffett. The billionaire investor’s Berkshire Hathaway is financing the $11.4 billion merger between Burger King and Tim Hortons to the tune of $3 billion, at a 9% interest rate. The combined company will be the world’s third-largest fast-food group, with some 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries.

Ukraine and Russia beat their chests. As president Vladmir Putin met with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, for peace talks, Ukraine released videos of what it claims to be captured Russian soldiers. That further raises tensions a day after the country accused Russia of attempting to open up a new war front.

Another milestone for the S&P. The broad gauge of US stocks closed above 2,000, after touching the level on Monday and falling back. But the market gained only 0.1% on the day, even though consumer confidence also hit a new post-crisis high.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how global warming has hit Russia with a vengeance. “When Vladimir Putin declined to support the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty to limit carbon emissions, he famously quipped that higher temperatures might actually benefit Russia since its people would have to spend less on fur coats. Well, he’s getting his wish… Between 1976 and 2012, average Russian temperatures rose 0.43°C (0.8°F) a decade—more than twice the global average of 0.17°C.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Gaza isn’t safe yet. A UN resolution would make sure the ceasefire, and all of its clauses, stays intact.

Entrepreneurs should work less hard. Employees who rely on them to always be there won’t do so well in their absence.

The resignation of the French government is a wake-up call. France and the euro zone need to act now to avoid an economic disaster.

The bombing of Tripoli is a game-changer. The joint Egyptian-Emirati airstrikes paved the way for Arab governments to take action against jihadists in other countries.

Narendra Modi’s been a disappointment. He talked big, but his actions in his three months as Indian prime minister haven’t been up to much.

Burger King’s Canadian acquisition isn’t about taxes. It’s been reported as a “tax inversion” deal, but it’s really about growth.

Surprising discoveries

The Knee Defender caused a fight. A US domestic flight had to be diverted after an altercation caused when a man used the device to block the seat in front of him from reclining.

Toddlers are really good at math. At least, they have a strong aptitude for probability.

Televised confessions are a hit in China. CCTV is broadcasting them from prison.

The online taxi wars are getting really dirty. Uber has a secret plan for sabotaging competitors called Operation SLOG.

A woman single-handedly killed a leopard that attacked her. She was armed with just farm tools.

An elk strolled into an office building in Germany and got stuck. It remained calmly in the foyer until it was freed.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, toddler math problems, and televised confessions to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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