Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Nikkei buys FT, Amazon tops Walmart, Earth’s closest cousin, treehouse architects

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What to watch for today

Barack Obama travels to Kenya. The US president’s trip to his father’s home country will include a private meeting with his extended family, but his administration is categorizing the trip as all business. Obama will attend a global entrepreneurship summit in Nairobi and address the Kenyan public over the weekend.

China begins military drills in the South China Sea. Tensions are high because of China’s numerous maritime disputes with its neighbors, including the construction of islands and airstrips on disputed reefs. The US and Japan conducted separate military drills with the Philippines last month.

Trans-Pacific trade pact negotiators meet in Hawaii. Chief negotiators from 12 countries are scheduled for four days of talks, ahead of a meeting of senior trade ministers. US officials hope they are nearing the end of negotiations on the controversial deal, which would be the most ambitious trade pact in a generation.

The UN rolls out a new climate accord. An international deal to combat and respond to climate change is supposed to be sealed in December. Delegations from 40 countries have spent the last two days in Paris preparing a new draft of the treaty.

While you were sleeping

Amazon demolished Wall Street expectations and overtook Walmart. The online retailer posted a profit of 19 cents per share, compared with expectations of a loss of 14 cents, and beat revenue estimates by more than $300 million, for a total of $23.2 billion. Amazon’s shares surged on the news, pushing its market capitalization past Walmart’s.

Nikkei bought the Financial Times. The Japanese financial publisher is paying Pearson 160 billion yen ($1.3 billion) for the pink-hued newspaper, after edging out a rival bidder, Germany’s Axel Springer. Pearson is off-loading the paper to concentrate on its main education business.

The IMF warned Japan to shape up. Economists told prime minister Shinzo Abe to “reload” his Abenomics reforms, concluding that “economic recovery was fragile and facing substantial risks.” The IMF now expects the Japanese economy to grow by an anemic 0.8% in 2015 and 1.2% in 2016.

Turkey agreed to let the US launch airstrikes against ISIL. US planes will be able to use an air base in Turkey, a shift in policy after a brutal suicide bombing near the country’s border with Syria. The Turkish military is increasingly engaged in direct conflict with Islamic State militants on the Syrian side of the border.

NASA found Earth’s closest cousin yet. The US space agency said it has discovered an Earth-like planet, Kepler-452b, that is similar to our planet in size, temperature, and orbit. It is a mere 1,400 light years away.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zach Seward on why the Financial Times is published on pink paper. “The FT has certainly become pinker over the years as its brand became more closely associated with the coloring. Some, including the newspaper itself, prefer to call the current version ‘salmon pink.’ Asked to weigh in on the matter a few years ago, the Pantone Color Institute suggested ‘bisque’ was a more appropriate descriptor.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Blame climate change for Syria’s civil war. The region’s severe drought sparked the bloody conflict.

Robots will fight our future wars. The decision to use deadly force will be monitored but not directly authorized by humans.

The next technology boom will be in space. Putting devices into orbit is enabling businesses that would have once been impossible.

Scientists are on the cusp of cutting and pasting human genes. Drug companies are excited, but the rest of us should be wary.

The Philippines can’t win against China. A South China Sea arbitration case will cause Manila more harm than good.

Surprising discoveries

The largest sauna on Earth has opened in Norway. The massive structure is built on an Arctic beach.

Rebellious children grow up to earn more money. The business world seems to reward rule-breakers.

London’s “anti-homeless” spikes are no match for activists. They are topping them with cozy bedrooms to protest “defensive architecture.”

The world’s best treehouse architect has built his masterpiece. Takashi Kobayashi used a 3D scanner and a 300-year old camphor tree.

Finland’s president called in to a nature-themed radio show. Sauli Niinistö wanted to discuss invasive wild parsnips.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, treehouse blueprints, and parsnip recipes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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