Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—GM spurns Fiat, EU rebuffs Greece, Apple’s privacy obsession, angry mountain spirits

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What to watch for today

The Bilderberg Group holds its annual conference. Global elites are gathering in Austria for a series of secretive meetings about international affairs. Don’t expect much news, unless an interloper makes it through security at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol.

Emirates defends its global expansion. President Tim Clark will speak at an aviation industry luncheon in New York about a bitter trade spat between Gulf carriers and US airlines, who say that Middle East airlines receive unfair government subsidies.

The US treasury releases its monthly budget report. In May, the government reported its largest monthly budget surplus in seven years. This month it’s expected to post a deficit of $98 billion.

Microsoft rolls out its gigantic new tablet. The touchscreen Surface Hub, which comes in 54- and 84-inch (137-213 cm) versions, was first unveiled in January, but details on pricing and availability come out today.

Krispy Kreme’s donut update. The chain is expected to post an 8.6% decline in quarterly profits as it battles competitors like Starbucks and Dunkin Brands, which are also expanding aggressively around the world.

While you were sleeping

General Motors spurned Fiat. CEO Mary Barr told shareholders that Fiat Chrysler’s CEO had recently proposed a merger in an email, but that she and the company’s board are determined to remain independent.

The EU parliament delayed its vote on Obama’s trade deal. Lawmakers failed to reach a compromise on the transatlantic trade pact, especially the controversial mechanisms to resolve disputes without using national courts. The MPs decided to postpone the vote indefinitely.

Greece’s prime minister made conciliatory noises, and was rebuffed. Alexis Tsipras said Greece is “very close” to a deal with international creditors if all parties can agree that pensions would not have to be cut. But EU officials quickly shot down his assertion, arguing that Athens has not offered up enough concessions to unlock additional funds.

A key Obama election strategist switched to selling burgers. Robert Gibbs, the US president’s former press secretary and senior advisor, will become McDonald’s chief communications officer, which includes lobbying and other government-related duties. David Plouffe, another former Obama advisor, has a similar role at the ride-sharing start-up Uber.

The Indian army clashed with insurgents on the Myanmar border. Days after rebels in the area ambushed Indian soldiers, killing 18 and injuring 14, the Indian army said it inflicted “significant casualties” on the rebels with the help of the Myanmarese government.

America’s TSA got another slap on the hand. The Department of Homeland Security criticized the Transportation Safety Agency for clearing 73 airport workers for sensitive positions despite their presence on a US terrorism watchlist. The news comes a week after the TSA failed to detect up to 95% of weapons in passenger luggage in undercover tests.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on Apple’s new obsession with user privacy. “Apple, argues Apple, does not pass along your data to third parties or use it to profile you. It only uses it to make your services better. This is a seductive (and also probably reductive) argument, but it strikes at an undenial truth about the internet business in 2015: no company can hope to survive without access to user data.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Vladimir Putin is not a Bond villain. Keep treating him like one, though, and he may become one.

Organic farming is a goldmine. It is much more profitable than conventional farming.

The US for-profit university experiment has failed. And it continues to waste taxpayers’ money.

No one owns music anymore. Artists should rely on live listening experiences instead.

Africa has a secret economic history. Residents have not always been poor, and poverty is not inevitable.

Surprising discoveries

Belgium outflanked France for a Waterloo commemorative coin. It will be worth €2.50 to foil Paris’ objections.

A Chinese actress is being sued for her intense stare. It’s one of a new crop of frivolous lawsuits.

Climate change is creating child brides in Bangladesh. Disaster-stricken families are marrying off girls as young as 10 years old.

Malaysia blamed naked hikers for a deadly earthquake. It arrested two people for “angering the mountain’s spirit.”

The creator of the best tabloid headline ever has died. Vinnie Musetto came up with “Headless Body in Topless Bar” for the New York Post.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, killer headlines, and anti-French coinage to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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