Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—America’s net neutrality, ISIL’s ‘Jihadi John’, weak American satire, Indian food revelations

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What to watch for today

Ukraine’s military plays chicken with pro-Russia rebels. Both sides are preparing to reverse course on their announced decisions to pull heavy weapons away from the front line in Ukraine’s east, as part of a ceasefire deal brokered two weeks ago.

Narendra Modi meets with Mufta Sayeed in New Delhi. The Indian prime minister and the future chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir will formally agree on an alliance between their respective political parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as the states of Jammu and Kashmir come under BJP control.

Germany votes on whether to endorse the Greek debt deal. 

At least 

two dozen members of German parliament

 are expected to abstain or oppose a vote 

about whether 

Germany will go along

 with the euro zone’s four-month extension on Greece’s bailout plan. 


The UN special envoy to Syria holds talks in Damascus.

 Staffan de Mistura is expected 

to meet with Syrian officials

 to discuss the possibility of a humanitarian ceasefire in Aleppo. The Syrian government would suspend air bombings for six weeks, and the rebels would be asked to suspend rocket and mortar fire for six weeks. 

While you were sleeping

The US enacted net neutrality rules. The US Federal Communications Commission voted 3-to-2 to mandate equal treatment of data by US broadband providers, a long-awaited decision that open internet advocates say will protect online innovation and free speech.

Argentina’s president was let off the hook. An Argentine judge threw out a case filed by state prosecutors against president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for conspiring to cover up Iran’s alleged involvement in a 1994 bombing that killed 85 people. The case was originally brought forward by a prosecutor who turned up dead under suspicious circumstances last month. The government, which blamed his death on rogue spies, is now overhauling the national intelligence agency.

British ISIL member ‘Jihadi John’ is identified. Mohammed Emwazi has been named as the Briton who carried out beheadings in videos released by the group. The emerging details of Emwazi’s life are chillingly mundane up to 2009, when he was detained and released (paywall) by British authorities who suspected he was involved with the terrorist group Al Shabab. It’s unclear how much the authorities knew before he left the UK to join the group also known as the Islamic State.

Amazon hired Obama’s former press secretary. Jay Carney, who resigned as White House press secretary in 2013 and has since worked as a political analyst for CNN, will join the online retail company on March 2. As a senior vice president, he will head Amazon’s new global affairs office.

Cheap oil led to a bout of deflation in the US. The country’s consumer prices fell by 0.7% last month, marking a decline of 0.1% over the last 12 months. It’s the first dip into deflation since 2009, thanks mostly to tumbling oil prices. The shift could postpone any looming hike in interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jenni Avins on the historic US Supreme Court case about an employer’s rejection of a job applicant wearing a hijab. In some ways, it seems that where Abercrombie & Fitch went wrong was in attempting to sidestep a potentially awkward conversation—by denying Elauf the job. The retailer’s lawyer, Shay Dvoretzky, said that asking Elauf about her headscarf would  be “asking employers to treat applicants differently based on stereotypes or assumption about whether something is likely a religious practice.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

No one produces entertaining satire like the British. When Americans try to do it, they take themselves too seriously.

Lenovo is having the worst year in tech. The Beijing-based tech giant was wildly profitable until 2015, when it stumbled into its Superfish malware debacle, which continues to plague the company.

Solitary confinement constitutes torture. Take it from someone who’s been there.

You’re a more convincing hire in person than on paper. Stop worrying about the perfect cover letter and find a way to get on the phone or meet face-to-face with hiring managers.

If you’re a fast-growing tech company, go for the IPO. Staying private only gets more constraining and draining as time goes on.

Surprising discoveries

Strippers and porn actors are performing on Snapchat. The mobile messaging app turned into a venue for virtual lap dances (paywall) when it introduced a payments platform.

Men on corporate boards named John, Robert, William or James outnumber women on boards altogether. That’s according to a study by Ernst & Young’s global organization, EY. Disturbing, if laughable.

Indian recipes don’t care about food pairing conventions. Computer scientists found that the notion that ingredients with similar flavors go well together in recipes doesn’t hold for cuisines from southern Europe and East Asia.

More sharks are keeping their fins. The shark fin trade, criticized as wasteful and threatening to the survival of entire species, has shrunk by 25% over the past decade.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mind-blowing food marriages, and weak American satire to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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