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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Japanese military, Verizon-AOL, sporty Branson, saucy Swedes

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Japan holds its first ever defense industry show. In a marker of the country’s gradual (though still very limited) re-militarization under prime minister Shinzo Abe, MAST Asia kicks off in Yokohama. Islamic terrorism, China, and North Korea are the key threats driving Abe’s military policies.

Euro-zone growth picks up a bit. Analysts predict today’s data will show 0.5% first-quarter growth, an increase over the last quarter of 2014. Low oil prices, a weak euro, and the European Central Bank’s bond-buying will have helped. It could be the first quarter in years that the euro zone outperforms the US economy.

Mark Carney comes out of purdah. The Bank of England’s governor speaks for the first time after the six-week silence imposed during Britain’s election campaign. He’ll unveil the monthly inflation report and economic forecast, and may tell markets to expect an interest-rate rise sooner than they think.

Key data for China and America. The US releases retail sales figures, which are expected to rise only 0.2% after a big bounceback in March. China, on other hand, could show an uptick in industrial production, a sign that its recent economic slowdown is easing off.

A tricky moment for Prince Charles. After a 10-year legal battle by the Guardian, the Prince of Wales’s “black spider memos,” in which he badgered government ministers with his opinions, will be published. The government had argued publication might undermine Charles’s political neutrality, as a possible future king.

Earnings: Cisco, Macy’s, Vimpelcom and Nissan are among those releasing results.

While you were sleeping

Verizon went for AOL. The deal will cost the US’s biggest wireless provider $4.4 billion and gain it a foothold in the booming video and mobile markets. AOL’s huge web advertising business brings in $600 million, and it owns news sites such as The Huffington Post and TechCrunch.

Democrats blocked Obama’s pet trade deals. After a weeks-long public battle, a bill to give the president “fast-track” authority to negotiate two key trade deals got voted down in the Senate. Democrats were worried about losing US manufacturing jobs. If passed, the trade deals would encompass 40% of the world’s production.

The second Nepal earthquake’s death toll rose. The number of people killed in the 7.3-magnitude quake that struck on Tuesday was approaching 70, of whom 17 were in neighboring India and one in Tibet. The bigger quake three weeks ago killed several thousand.

Greece’s sleight-of-hand accounting was exposed. To help repay the IMF €750 million ($840 million), it emerged, Greece took €650 million out of its emergency holding account at the IMF. The account has to be refilled within weeks, which will send Greece back to square one.

Richard Branson ventured into amateur sports. Virgin Sport, the new division of Branson’s empire, will organize running and cycling events, seizing on a rising interest in fitness. The branch will be led by Mary Wittenberg, who is leaving the helm (paywall) of the New York Road Runners, a non-profit that organizes the city’s popular marathon.

El Niño is coming. Australian meteorologists predicted a “substantial” El Niño event this year as rising sea temperatures make their way through the tropical Pacific. The last El Niño, five years ago, contributed to monsoons, droughts, blizzards, heat waves and flooding all around the world.

Quartz obsession interlude

Heather Timmons and Zheping Huang explore how foreign CEOs venture into Chinese social media.“Foreigners trying to reach citizens in China, whether they’re a celebrity, athlete, businessman or politician, are flocking to Sina Weibo, which counts some 400 million registered users, 66 million of whom are active daily. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was the latest head of state to sign on, amassing a respectable 40,000 fans in just a few days.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Leave your kid at home when you go on vacation. It’s better for everyone involved.

Drilling in the Arctic is a terrible idea. It’s why we might never win the war on climate change (paywall).

Life-saving drugs don’t just have to be for the rich. A special fund could give drug firms an incentive to develop treatments for the poor.

A nuclear deal with Iran will lead to cheaper oil. And that would benefit everyone.

Surprising discoveries

There are 36,000 stateless children in Lebanon. Births among Syrian refugees go undocumented.

“This way if you are gay.” Say the cheeky Swedes to intrusive Russian submarines.

Why do some people have extra nipples? It’s not about evolution, as people once thought.

Harry Potter’s Moaning Myrtle has a full name. And it’s remarkably similar to a certain US senator’s.

Where you can’t drink or smoke, you eat candy. Utah’s largely Mormon population eats twice the national average.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Lebanese passports, and messages for Russian submariners to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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