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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—GoDaddy popped, California parched, Iran talks redux, bovine mugshots

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The Iran talks deadline—third time lucky? After six world powers and Iran missed their March 31 deadline to reach a framework agreement about the future of Iran’s nuclear program, it got pushed to April 1. Then talks were extended to today. People are starting to focus on what will happen in the absence of a deal.

David Cameron debates—again. The UK general election, scheduled for May 7, is creeping nearer. The prime minister will be joined by six other candidates, including Labor’s Edward Miliband. Polls say the first of four debates, held last week, was won by Cameron.

Delphi holds an investor meeting update. The car parts maker will likely talk about the state of its latest publicity stunt: adding self-driving technology to an Audi SQ5 and letting it drive from one coast of the US to the other. The car should arrive before the start of the New York Auto Show on April 3.

Know where you’re flying over. The UN’s civil aviation body, ICAO, launches a new website to host information about risks to aircraft flying over conflict zones. The downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine last year prompted the move.

While you were sleeping

Russia’s economic outlook went from bad to worse. In December the World Bank predicted that collapsing oil prices and Western sanctions would make Russian GDP shrink by 0.7% in 2015. It’s now predicting a 3.8% contraction (paywall), with the potential to go even further—4.6%—if oil prices drop further.

Martial law was lifted in Thailand. That doesn’t mean the military junta is stepping down, however; far from it. Prayuth Chan-och, the prime minister installed by the military, will continue to run the country under a “special security” measure that essentially gives him unchecked control over the government.

GoDaddy’s IPO popped. The domain name registrar’s shares shot up by more than 30% after trading opened on the NYSE, and stayed there, valuing the company at nearly $5.5 billion. As of last year, GoDaddy had 13 million customers and looked after 59 million domain names, roughly one fifth of the world’s total.

California accepted the inevitable. The governor ordered mandatory water restrictions for the first time, aiming to reduce consumption by 25% in the face of a historic drought. A study last month predicted that California, which produces half the US’s fruit, vegetables and nuts, will henceforth have droughts nearly every year.

The US can now sanction hackers. A presidential executive order gave the US Treasury the power to levy financial sanctions on people or countries that use the internet to mess with America. The administration ratcheted up restrictions on North Korea after its alleged hack of Sony Pictures last year.

Germany began the process of banning fracking. The cabinet approved a draft bill banning hydraulic fracturing for most gas extraction for five years. Parliament will take up the bill next month, and may push for a permanent fracking ban. Businesses worry that will make Germany too dependent on Russian gas (paywall).

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on South America’s stunning financial performance. “It’s not an April Fool’s joke. Amid economic disorder and collapsing confidence, stock markets in Venezuela and Argentina are soaring. They were up 32% and 26% respectively during the first quarter, making them some of the best-performing stock markets on the planet.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Forget about Iran’s nukes, let’s focus on its human-rights record. The country is getting a lot of attention from the media for all the wrong reasons.

There are double standards for men and women. If a man is aggressive and gets things done, he’s lauded, but if a woman does the same, she has “sharp elbows”.

Farms aren’t doing a good job recycling. Modern farming generates a huge quantity of plastic trash and just 10% is re-used.

Buy gold. In 20 years, there won’t be any left to mine—and 40 years for platinum and copper.

America should be a little less friendly with Egypt. An ally in the region is useful, but when the US decided to give Egypt military aid this week, it chose to ignore how the government treats its citizens (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Chinese politicians don’t know how to drive. Government austerity measures have forced officials to let go their chauffeurs and learn to take the wheel.

The Hunger Games is being turned into a theme park. You’re going to have to visit Dubai to ride the dystopian future roller coaster come October 2016.

An apple a day doesn’t really do anything. In a study of over 8,000 Americans, the roughly 10% who ate an apple day were just as likely to be hospitalized.

Where do you keep 21 million cow photos? Police in India’s Maharashtra state asked farmers to send them mugshots of their cattle to help enforce a ban on selling beef.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, driving tips, and farm selfies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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