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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Gay marriage, trade deals, Lumber Liquidators, dumb lyrics

  • Quartz
By Quartz

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

What to watch for today

Ireland votes on gay marriage. The majority-Catholic country will hold a referendum on whether to add a line to the constitution to allow for people to marry “without distinction as to their sex.” Recent polls show that around 70% of voters support gay marriage.

Janet Yellen speaks in Rhode Island. Markets are anxiously awaiting any hints the Federal Reserve chair might drop about the timing of the central bank’s next rate hike. Minutes released from the Fed’s April meeting suggest that an increase won’t come before July (paywall).

The Bank of Japan talks monetary policy. The central bank is expected to perhaps upgrade its assessment of the Japanese economy for the first time in nearly two years. Data released on Wednesday indicated first-quarter GDP grew at better-than-expected 2.4% annualized rate.

Inflation data. Incoming from Mexico and Brazil.

Who’s up, who’s down: Footlocker, Campbell Soup, and Deere report quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

The US senate made way for Obama’s pet trade deal. In a hard-fought win for the White House, Congress’ upper chamber voted 62-38 to end the debate on a bill that would allow the president to fast-track a wide-ranging trade agreement. The legislation is now expected to be put to a final vote in the coming days.

The CEO of Lumber Liquidators resigned. It’s more fallout from a report on the CBS news program 60 Minutes that the US hardwood-flooring retailer sold Chinese-made flooring with toxic levels of formaldehyde, a carcinogenic. The company is facing a federal investigation, and its stock has been tanking.

A batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails on Libya was released. The New York Times published emails from Clinton’s private account, including memos sent from advisors following the attack on US diplomats in Libya, and correspondence (paywall) containing details about her personal life.

Goldman Sachs compiled a list of the hedge fund world’s favorite stocks. Apple and Facebook commonly make the top 10 in hedge fund portfolios; the best performer of the bunch, though, is Valeant, up nearly 70% this year.

Protesters demanded higher wages from McDonald’s. They descended upon the company’s headquarters outside Chicago and delivered a petition signed by more than 1 million people demanding support for a $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. New CEO Steve Easterbrook, speaking at the company’s annual meeting, said he’s “proud” of the wages McDonald’s pays its employees.

Quartz obsession interlude

Peter Schwartzstein on how Iraq is losing control of its Shia militias. “The Iraqi government narrative suggested they would disperse when the Sunni jihadists were finally defeated. But the militias’ role in the fighting has emboldened them. And few are now betting against the militias’ longevity—especially after the key city of Ramadi fell back into ISIL hands a few days ago.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Donating to Nepal is good for business. You’ll want to be among those who saved the country’s economy.

Assad’s defense of Palmyra against ISIS was lackluster. But it could turn into a propaganda victory for the dictator.

Schizophrenia is often misunderstood. Treat it right and it’s nothing to fear.

Silicon Valley is turning into Hollywood. A dream factory where investors throw around money to create a brave new world.

Trigger warnings are not just a tool of political correctness. They have to do with how we process traumatic stress.

Surprising discoveries

Many hit lyrics are at a third-grade reading level. Beyonce’s music scores particularly low on “song intelligence.”

We were using emoji all wrong. That teary face is actually supposed to be sleepy.

An adorable, origami-inspired drone. It fits in your pocket and could be a lifesaver.

The Large Hadron Collider just smashed an energy record. Some 13 trillion electronvolts.

Don’t litter in Hong Kong. The DNA you leave with it will be used to publicly shame you.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fourth-grade reading level lyrics, and messages sent by foldable drones to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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