Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Iran’s deadline, Nigeria’s results, lithium-ion wars, dangerous beards

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What to watch for today

Iran’s deadline. Time finally runs out for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The chances of a last-minute accord aren’t looking good, and if there isn’t one, expect Iran to ramp up its program and the US to ramp up sanctions. President Barack Obama is probably too politically battered to start new talks.

Hong Kong’s biggest IPO hits the market. Fuyao Glass raised nearly $1 billion with its initial public offering (paywall). The glass maker has numerous automotive customers, including American car maker General Motors.

Nigeria’s election results. It’s down to the wire in the presidential race between incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and former dictator Muhammadu Buhari. Nigeria’s The Guardian is live-blogging the tally. Both the US and the UK have voiced concerns about possible vote-rigging.

Apple starts a trade-in program in China. Take your old iPhone to a local Apple Store and you’ll be able to hand it over for credit towards the purchase of a new model—at least that’s what sources told Bloomberg. Foxconn will reportedly be buying the older smartphones and reselling them.

Sotheby’s new CEO takes the helm. Tad Smith is expected to bring some tech savvy to the 271-year-old auction house after stints at Madison Square Garden in New York and cable provider Cablevision. But some think Smith, who got the job after a long fight between Sotheby’s and an activist hedge fund, may be out of his depth.

Ringo Starr drops a new album. The Beatles’ drummer releases “Postcards From Paradise” today—it features 11 new tracks. Next month, he’ll be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 74-year-old regrets the band broke up and says they could’ve kept going had communication been better.

While you were sleeping

A Swiss bank agreed to make penance. BSI will pay the US Justice Department $211 million to escape prosecution for helping American depositors avoid taxes. It’s the first of dozens of banks expected to reach similar deals in return for spilling the beans on their clients and methods. Separately, an internal report revealed HSBC was failing to abide by a similar deal.

UnitedHealth said it wants Catamaran for $12.8 billion. The purchase will give the largest health insurance provider in the US greater leverage in negotiating prices with drug companies. The resulting entity will fill out 1 billion subscriptions a year.

A Saudi air strike killed at least 40 Yemeni refugees. The attack was aimed at Houthi fighters—the Iranian-backed insurgents trying to topple Yemen’s government—but hit a camp for internally displaced people instead.

Shots were fired at the NSA. Officials say two men—dressed as women—attempted to drive a sports utility vehicle through the gates of the US National Security Agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. One of the drivers was killed. Approximately 40,000 people work at the building.

A South African was named to lead The Daily ShowTrevor Noah, 31, beat out a host of American contenders to helm the US’s leading political comedy show. He follows a well-established tradition of Americans hiring foreigners—albeit usually Brits—to poke fun at them on TV.

A most embarrassing security breach. An Australian official accidentally sent passport and visa details of the leaders of the US, Russia, Germany, Britain, and several other G20 countries to the organizers of a soccer tournament last November, the Guardian reported. The data apparently spread no further, but Australia had tried to hush it up.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on the battle for the future of the battery. “The high-tech patent wars have spread to a new front, engaging two of the world’s largest industrial companies in a multibillion-dollar court battle over lithium-ion batteries. At issue is a battery chemistry that, while little known to the public, many experts believe currently holds the best chance of electric cars penetrating the mass market.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Millennials don’t know how to be adults. There used to be a clear path one would follow to becoming a productive member of society, but it’s now gone.

Religious freedom legislation is dangerous. Apple CEO Tim Cook argues that businesses in America shouldn’t be allowed to refuse services to LGBT people.

It’s time for Singapore to grow up. Some of its laws are so archaic, and punishments so antiquated, that they’re holding back the country’s future.

Facebook is going to become the world’s newspaper. Let’s hope its algorithms keep the populus informed.

Solve Iran, and everything else will follow. Many of the issues plaguing the Middle East are nearly impossible to solve, but the Iranian nuclear deal isn’t (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Graphene light bulbs are coming this year. Filaments coated with the high-tech material—which some thought might remain forever useless—will be brighter than LEDs and use 10% less energy.

Make yourself visible at night. Spray this new formula from Volvo on your clothes or your bicycle—it’s invisible in daylight, but when a bright light shines on it, it reflects white.

China jailed a man for growing a beard. The man in Muslim-majority Xinjiang got six years because facial hair there is considered a form of trouble-making.

Parents can’t tell when their children are fat. Standards have slipped so far in the UK that no one really knows what a healthy weight looks like anymore.

This virus can make water boil three times faster. The tobacco virus can be made into a coating for industrial applications, though not for your tea kettle.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, shaving cream, and tobacco plants to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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