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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Obama reins in police, China’s misguided banks, climate change subsidies, Twitter’s celebrity shark

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

What to watch for today

Thailand’s former prime minister goes on trial for corruption. Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government was deposed one year ago in a military coup after accusations of negligence related to a costly rice subsidy program, could face 10 years in prison and a blow to her family’s political standing.

Singapore hosts a mega defense fair. Asia’s largest-ever naval warfare exhibition and fair kicks off amid a regional naval arms race. The exhibition’s focus will be unmanned vehicles and submarines, organizers say.

Wal-Mart reports its results. The world’s largest retailer by sales is expected to report a drop in profit, and was possibly stung by a long winter and tightening job market (paywall). The earnings report follows its $1 billion plan to raise wages for low-paid workers, which has pushed other large employers in that direction.

Other earnings report cards: Home Depot, TJX, Vodafone, Etsy.

Quartz: Next Billion London. Quartz is hosting a conference of global industry leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly connected world. The online stream of the event is available here.

While you were sleeping

Obama clamped down on police militarization.The White House announced an executive action by the president that will restrict the use of military-style equipment in local police departments. Following widespread protests against police violence, the police will no longer be able to acquire certain kinds of armored vehicles, bayonets or grenade launchers.

The IMF said governments subsidize climate change to the tune of $5.3 trillion a year. The measure of fossil fuel subsidies, which comes to $10 million a minute, is “shocking,” the fund said in a new study. It’s an estimate of the “true cost” (paywall) of climate change from burning fossil fuels, factoring in environmental and health effects.

Endo, one of the biggest generic drug makers, agreed to buy Par Pharmaceutical. Adding to a spree of drug-maker mergers and acquisitions, the producer of painkillers such as Opana and Percocet said it will buy Par Pharmaceutical, the maker of over 100 drugs, for $8.05 billion in cash and stock.

US senator Lindsey Graham joined the country’s presidential race. The Republican lawmaker said he will announce his bid on June 1 in his hometown of Central, South Carolina, adding to an already long line-up of candidates for the GOP nomination He says he is running because he thinks “the world is falling apart.”

Shia militias descended on Ramadi. The Iraqi government has summoned Iranian-backed militants to retake the capital city of its largest province in a counter-offensive, after ISIL forces captured the city on May 17.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how China’s banks are dangerously close to repeating the earlier mistakes of Japan. “China’s bank bloat comes from the same investment-driven, industry-focused growth model once championed by Japan. As the Chinese government attempts to ditch this model, it faces many of the same challenges Japan did in the late 1980s.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China’s education has taken an enormous leap forward. Don’t focus on the fact that it still isn’t top-notch.

Let’s stop talking about a reformation of Islam. It’s simplistic and ignorant.

Amal Clooney is the new feminist hero. The high-profile human rights lawyer and fashion icon is America’s closest thing to royalty.

Don’t be fooled by wearing a Fitbit. The fitness gadget industry benefits when we ignore that diet, not fitness, is what drives obesity.

The global economy is crippled by fear. Governments mustn’t perpetuate growth anxiety by holding back investment.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists may have discovered what causes volcanoes to erupt. The finding could help forecasting and save lives.

The final scene of the Mad Men finale isn’t that mysterious. Here’s one big visual clue that not everyone noticed.

Misogyny lost at the box office this weekend. Ladies kicked butt in Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road.

President Obama finally got his own Twitter account… Only six years into his presidency.

…and a great white shark became a Twitter star. She goes by @MaryLeeShark and is cruising America’s east coast.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Fitbit takedowns, and celebrity shark sightings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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