Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—smart EU cars, ConocoPhillips cuts, White House 2.0, Japanese speed dating

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What to watch for today

The US Federal Reserve speaks. It’s going to publish fresh economic forecasts, some hints about when it will raise short-term interest rates, and a policy statement that will influence how investors think about the future.

Lufthansa pilots go on strike. Short and medium range flights are going to be affected. The pilots union wants its members to continue to be able to retire at 55 with 60% of their pay. They also say younger pilots have inferior working conditions.

Even more of Alibaba shares can be traded. 437 million shares—roughly 18% of the company—emerge from the 180 day lock up period that was imposed as part of the Chinese firm’s September 2014 public offering. About a quarter of those will still have restrictions placed on them due to employee policy.

Exxon’s CEO pays Russia a visit. Rex Tillerson is allegedly visiting Moscow to meet with state oil producer Rosneft and government officials to discuss ongoing sanctions and land holdings. BP owns a 20% stake in Rosneft.

Toyota tackles wage increases. Management will meet with union officials to offer employees a 4,000 yen ($33) raise, one third less than the 6,000 yen ($50) workers had requested. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has been urging the country’s firms to raise wages.

While you were sleeping

European cars will soon automatically report accidents. Officials have decided that beginning in March 2018, new cars have to have the capability to reach emergency services should an accident occur. Cars will send their exact location to first responders automatically or when someone presses a button. Tracking will be in “sleep mode” during regular usage.

Facebook started letting you send your friends money. But only in the US. And both of you need to be using Facebook Messenger. Once a transaction is complete, the sender will immediately have funds withdrawn from their selected Visa or MasterCard. The receiver will have to wait several business days.

ConocoPhillips cut spending—again. With the price of oil hitting six year lows, it’s inevitable that companies will pony up less money to dig fresh crude out of the ground. Previously, ConocoPhillips shaved $2 billion off its 2015 spending plans. Now the company says it’s going to cut another $5.5 billion (paywall) going into 2017.

There’s going to be a new White House—kind of. The US Secret Service—whose reputation is in tatters after numerous recent security lapses—wants $8 million to build a replica (paywall) in Maryland of president Barack Obama’s residence to better train its agents. Currently, a not-to-scale model of the front grounds is used in training.

Microsoft’s wearable finally got a wide rollout. The Microsoft Band—pitched as a fitness tracker that also shows you your phone’s notifications—used to be a Microsoft Store exclusive. The problem with that strategy is there aren’t that many of them. The company is fixing that with a partnership with Amazon and brick-and-mortar sellers Best Buy and Target. It’s also headed to the UK.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on this fall’s newest sensation. “While you can always find next season’s most cutting-edge looks in Manhattan’s Garment District, the most futuristic outerwear in New York City wasn’t on the runways during the recent Fashion Week. Rather, it’s to be found in a small studio in Brooklyn, where an émigré Russian engineer and a US-born artist are making the ultimate in bespoke couture—the space suit—into a fast-fashion product, one-size-fits-all.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Submarines will soon be obsolete. The advanced vessels—designed with ever increasing sophistication since the Cold War—could be replaced by underwater drones.

It’s the government’s job to make people healthy. It’s well understood that most health issues are diet-related, so the government should legislate better nutrition.

Sex education needs to include pornography. Thanks to the internet, today’s young people are already looking at it—they need to learn it’s entertainment and not real life.

Hillary Clinton needs a democratic challenger. In becoming the face of her party, she’s also become the one who bears all the heat.

Grexit is inevitable. Money is flowing in and out of countries and banks in such a way that staying in the euro is simply unsustainable for Greece—and the currency union.

Surprising discoveries

Recalling memories may erase old ones. Your brain only has so much space, it seems, and researchers have discovered the human mind actively deletes old thoughts.

Japan’s local governments are hosting speed dating events. Not yet, but soon—policy makers are looking into ways to boost the nation’s birth rate.

Having a deep voice makes you attractive—if you’re a horse. Mares prefer stallions that can hit the lower octaves.

Your barista wants to ask you a few personal questions. And the internet is not impressed—the Twitterverse heaped scorn on Starbucks’ plan to have its employees talk to customers about race relations.

German is hard. 90% of Americans can’t spell Jägermeister and over 40% can’t even spell Budweiser.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, misspelled drink orders, and opinionated coffee to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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