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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—The UK’s election results, Alibaba’s new CEO, Russia’s Earth-bound spacecraft, abused manicurists

  • Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The UK counts its ballots. The survey by a group of broadcasters put the Conservatives at 316 seats (up 9) to Labour’s 239 (down 19). That leaves Cameron’s party short of a majority, but with enough seats to form one by joining with the Liberal Democrats, as after the previous election. The first actual results are due around 11pm UK time.

The US jobs report card. The US labor department will report how many jobs the country’s employers added in April, following meager March results (126,000 jobs were added after a streak of monthly gains above 200,000). Analysts expect April’s numbers will bounce back to 222,500.

Europe and America celebrate the end of World War II. The 70th anniversary commemorates the war having ended on May 8; Russia celebrates a day later, marking Germany’s capitulation to the Soviet Union. Many Western leaders are boycotting Russia’s fete due to its role in the Ukraine crisis.

A Russian spacecraft will crash into Earth. The unmanned Progress 59P cargo vessel, which broke down on route to the International Space Station on April 28, is expected to retain 20% to 40% of its capsule and cargo when it hits the earth’s surface.

US fast food chain Bojangles goes public. The chicken-and-biscuits restaurant, valued at up to $610 million, is expected to raise $106 million. With 622 stores across the US and an old, unflappable menu, the chain is betting on investors’ hunger for restaurant stocks (paywall).

While you were sleeping

US federal court ruled that NSA surveillance was illegal. The appeals court ruled that the bulk collection of phone metadata by the US National Security Agency was beyond what Congress authorized in the Patriot Act after 9/11. The ruling reversed a lower court’s decision on the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The judges permitted the program to continue for now, and requested that Congress better define its boundaries.

Alibaba named a new CEO and beat earnings expectations. The Chinese e-commerce giant reported a 45% revenue increase in the quarter that ended March 31, beating analysts’ pessimistic expectations of slower growth. Also, CEO Jonathan Lu will step down, to be replaced by COO Daniel Zhang.

Yelp’s stock climbed after reports of a potential sale. The website valued at $2.9 billion, which allows customers to review restaurants and other services, is considering a sale and has been in touch with potential buyers (paywall), the Wall Street Journal reports. Following the news, the company’s shares climbed more than 15% (paywall).

EU employment rose for the first time since the financial crisis. An early sign of measured economic recovery (paywall), the share of those working in the EU between age 20 to 64 increased from 68.4% in 2013 to 69.2% in 2014, according to figures released by the European Commission.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on Norway rolling back incentives for electric cars that were just too good. “Norway has some of the world’s most generous incentives for electric vehicle buyers. Electric cars are exempt from value added tax (VAT) and purchase tax, which on average in Norway add 50% to the cost of a vehicle. They are also exempt from road tolls, tunnel-use charges, and ferry charges. And they get free parking, free charging, and the freedom to use bus lanes. It seems silly to not buy an electric car. So Norwegians have. In droves. As a result, the incentives are now being rolled back.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Checking after-hour work emails is an epidemic. Compulsively checking professional email has contributed to low worker productivity in the UK relative to other countries.

The Greeks are playing chicken with Germany. The country’s approach to its debt debacle resembles that of wanton pedestrians in California: It’s daring Germany to run it over.

The Israeli government can learn from Baltimore. Just as leaders have condemned recent violence among Ethiopian Israelis and African Americans in Baltimore, Israel can condemn Palestinian violence while still addressing the injustices of controlling the West Bank.

Alibaba has big shoes to grow into. The euphoria of the company’s IPO may be over, but investors still have Amazon-sized dreams for Alibaba (paywall).

 Surprising discoveries

Life sucks as a manicurist in New York City. Workers in the industry, many who hail from Asian countries, are severely underpaid (paywall), discriminated against, and abused.

A soggy brain is to blame for midnight munchies. New research shows that we eat more at night because our brain is less sensitive then to the rewards of food.

The cops can track you anytime, anywhere. Facial recognition technology is already helping authorities catch looters and rioters after the fact.

Don’t ask which job offer to take on Quora. An engineer who was weighing job offers from Uber and Zenefits on the question-and-answer site had his offer rescinded by the CEO.

Election fraud is getting creative. A Polish journalist wants voters to use their own pens to vote because he fears those provided at polling stations could contain disappearing ink (link in Polish).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ink-based atrocities, and comparative job queries to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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