Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Fed update, trans fat ban, baseball computer hacking, Pop-Tart calorie conundrum

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What to watch for today

The Fed concludes its policy meeting. The US central bank is expected to keep benchmark rates near zero until September, but will update its forecasts for inflation, growth, and jobs. Fed chief Janet Yellen will hold a press conference.

Oracle’s cloudy forecast. The database software giant is expected to post quarterly declines as it transitions to cloud-based computing from its traditional software sales model. Revenues are projected to fall 3.5% to $10.9 billion, and earnings per share are expected to total 87 cents per share, versus 92 cents a year ago.

Fedex delivers its quarterly results.  The shipping giant’s revenues are expected to climb more than 10% to $12.31 billion as the US economy improves. Investors will be looking for an update to the company’s acquisition of European counterpart TNT, which may face some regulatory hurdles.

While you were sleeping

Yahoo’s Alibaba spin-off is on track. CEO Marissa Mayer said a proposed US tax change won’t affect the company’s attempt to create a tax-free standalone firm to house its Alibaba stake. Yahoo shares rose 2% on her statement.

The US banned the most common source of trans fat from processed food. The Food and Drug Administration said partially hydrogenated oils, a form of trans fat found in many shelf-stable snacks, are not safe and cannot be added to foods starting in 2018. The ruling closes a loophole that allowed foods some foods to falsely claim they were trans fat-free.

Putin rattled his nuclear saber. The Russian president said he would add 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles to his country’s arsenal, in response to beefed-up US armaments in NATO member states bordering Russia. NATO called Putin’s move “dangerous” and “unjustified.”

The US Senate voted to ban torture once and for all. An amendment that would codify president Obama’s anti-torture executive action passed by a vote of 78 to 21. The measure permanently makes illegal the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding, which has been outlawed by the Obama administration but might have been reversed by a future US president.

A baseball team was accused of hacking a rival. The FBI is investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for illegally accessing the computer networks of the Houston Astros, the New York Times reports (paywall). The unusual case of corporate-style computer espionage in the world of professional sports may hinge on an executive’s re-used password.

Quartz obsession interlude

A paleontologist reviews a dinosaur blockbuster. “Yes, some of the scientific inaccuracies in Jurassic World are a little annoying. I wish the dinosaurs were feathered, for instance, as we know many would have been from spectacularly preserved fossils. But Jurassic World is not a science documentary, and we shouldn’t expect it to be .” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The pope is making bold statements on climate change. But his views on cap-and-trade may be shortsighted.

Helicopter parents should get a life. It will help their kids find one of their own. (paywall)

South Africa has sided with tyranny. Allowing indicted Sudanese leader Omar ​al-​Bashir to leave is an insult to human rights.  

Trees make kids smarter.  Spending time in nature boosts cognition, in part by avoiding air pollutants.

Racial identity is porous and complicated. But it’s wrong to appropriate black culture without enduring its hardships.

Surprising discoveries

Nigerian legislators got a $43 million clothing allowance. $90,000 per lawmaker will buy some very fancy threads.

China just screened the original “Star Wars” for the first time. The 1977 film had never been shown in mainland theaters.

Nintendo used graph paper to create ”Super Mario Brothers.” The side-scrolling video game classic was designed by hand.

Mathematicians are hoarding their “dream chalk.” The Japanese maker of Hagoromo Fulltouch went out of business.

Unfrosted Pop-Tarts have more calories than frosted ones. What’s in that frosting, anyway?

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Super Mario maps, and Pop-Tart theories to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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