Skip to navigationSkip to content
STAR WARS

Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Delhi’s vote count, OECD scolding, Netflix comes to Cuba, see-through eggshells

What to watch for today

Vote-counting starts in Delhi. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party, currently the biggest in the Indian capital’s state assembly, is predicted to lose some seats to Aam Aadmi. If the latter wins, its leader, Arvind Kejriwal—Delhi’s last chief minister, who stepped down after 49 days of office—will likely get the job again.

An attempt to end the United Steelworkers strike. The American union resumes talks with oil companies on a national contract for an estimated 30,000 oil workers. About 5,000 workers aren’t showing up to work across 11 sites, making it the largest strike by US refinery workers since 1980 (paywall).

The Ubuntu phone finally ships. South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth has been trying to launch a smartphone running his open-source software, Ubuntu, for years. The €169.90 ($192) device is designed not to be packed with apps like other smartphones, but the unusual interface might put some buyers off.

Take two for the DSCOVR satellite. SpaceX will try—again—to send the Deep Space Climate Observatory into an orbit one million miles (1.6 million km) from Earth, after a radar problem delayed the original launch. DSCOVR will be able to detect dangerous solar storms before they hit the planet.

The numbers. On the economic calendar: Chinese inflation data, French, Italian, and UK industrial production, and US wholesale inventories. Companies reporting include América Móvil, Coca-Cola, SoftBank, and UBS.

While you were sleeping

The OECD admonished rich-world economies. In a weighty report, the organization chided them for sluggish reform efforts that threaten growth—particularly in the case of Japan and the euro zone—and for pro-growth policies that widen inequality.

Egypt canceled soccer after a lethal stampede. At least 25 people died, according to authorities, when a riot broke out at Cairo’s Air Defense Stadium. Fans say the violence was sparked because police began firing tear gas into crowds that were forming because there weren’t enough entrances to the arena.

Europe gave Russia a break ahead of talks. The European Union has held off on extending sanctions against Russia in the lead-up to talks in Belarus. Leaders from Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine are due to meet in Minsk on Wednesday to hammer out a peace deal for eastern Ukraine.

Netflix came to Cuba. The company says it is offering its online streaming service in the country, where only one in 20 citizens has internet access. Cubans will also need an internationally accepted means of payment (credit or debit card); at $7.99 per month, the service is nearly half the average monthly wage.

France widened its online censorship powers. Under rules that went into effect on Monday, the government no longer needs a judge’s permission to block suspected terrorist and child-porn websites. Critics warn this endangers free speech. The terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo sped up approval of the change, which had been under consideration since 2011.

Twitter published its list of snooping governments. The microblogging company’s semi-annual transparency report revealed that governments made 40% more requests for users’ information in 2014 than in 2013, and 84% more requests to delete tweets. The most censorious countries were Turkey (477 deletion requests), Russia (91), and Germany (43).

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips tackles the uncomfortable issue of government debt. “Britain essentially defaulted by going off the gold standard in 1931. Currency devaluation was the preferred mode of default for the French. And while it’s often said that the US has never defaulted on its obligations, that’s not true either. The fact is, governments never really pay back all the money they borrow, at least not in real (i.e. inflation-adjusted) terms.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Five day work weeks are old hat. When every weekend is three days, companies run better and employees are far happier.

Don’t arm Ukraine. It’s only going to make the situation worse, especially given how unpredictable Putin is (paywall).

Worried about climate change? It’ll cost you. People need not only to realize things are bad, but be willing to pay for higher-priced gas and electricity.

The media is doing a bad job covering Syria. Not because it’s dangerous to send journalists there, but simply because it’s become a complicated story.

Surprising discoveries

Being kinky is good for you and your relationship. People have a desire to dominate and be dominated, and the couples who do are less stressed out.

The latest use of drones: Marriage proposals. The boyfriend of Zhang Ziyi—who starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon—got down on one knee after a drone flew in with an engagement ring.

Be careful what you sell. A Finnish man tried to sell a dead Siberian flying squirrel he found outside his house, only to learn he was trafficking in protected species.

Never fear crowded parking lots again. Cars will soon be able to tell you when they’ve been dented and use onboard cameras to identify the culprit.

Watch your breakfast grow. Chinese scientists have invented transparent eggshells to help them study development in chicken embryos.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, kinky marriage proposals, and creative omelet recipes to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.