Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Obama in Ethiopia, Baidu’s mobile puzzle, Turkey shatters truce, pee-repelling paint

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What to watch for today

Baidu’s mobile report card. The Chinese internet giant has been trying to make the switch to mobile apps as consumers desert desktop search, where Baidu is dominant. But company, which reports quarterly earnings after US markets close, has struggled to generate revenue from mobile users.

A Chinese VC’s $5 billion war chest. GSR Ventures is set to announce a new fund devoted to buying up Western tech, internet, and biotech companies that need to crack the Chinese market, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). GSR was an early investor in China’s Didi Dache, which holds a substantial lead over Uber on the mainland.

Obama discusses “plan B” for South Sudan. The US president visits Ethiopia for the second leg of his African tour, where he will sit down with African leaders to discuss potential sanctions if South Sudan’s warring factions don’t agree on a peace deal. Fighting in the world’s youngest country has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Health care consolidation picks up speed. Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals is set to announce the acquisition of Allergan’s generic drug business for $40 billion to $45 billion, according to Bloomberg. A deal could be announced as soon as today.

Fiat Chrysler gets a record fine for bungling recalls. The automaker will pay $105 million to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Its misdeeds include obstructing regulators, making inadequate repairs, and failing to notify car owners in a timely manner—and that’s before it recalled 1.4 million cars that were vulnerable to being hacked over the internet.

Over the weekend

Obama told Kenyans that some traditions are bad traditions. A day after pushing for gay rights in a country where it’s illegal to be homosexual, the US president wrapped up a trip to his father’s homeland by telling a massive crowd to end corruption, inequality, and the unfair treatment of women and children.

Turkey shattered its truce with the Kurds. Turkish jets bombed camps of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, a move that was followed by a car bomb that killed two Turkish soldiers. The Kurds are among the most reliable US allies in Syria in the fight against the Islamic State extremist group, which Turkey also hit with air strikes this week.

Pearson is trying to sell the Economist. Days after its $1.3 billion sale of the Financial Times, Pearson is also looking to offload its 50% stake in the Economist Group. But the other half is held by a byzantine group of individual shareholders, which include scions of the Rothschild, Cadbury, and Agnelli families.

Egypt tested out Suez Canal 2.0. Several cargo ships passed through the new $8.5 billion, 44-mile-long waterway, which can accommodate larger vessels and two-way traffic, ahead of its official opening next month. Security was tight, as the route passes through territory controlled by Islamic militants.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gideon Lichfield imagines an Amazon-esque warehouse in about 20 years: “The two pairs of pickers stood motionless, about 20 feet apart with him in the middle, their arms by their sides like an inscrutable honor guard. He stared at them; despite their utterly machine-like appearance, he could almost feel his mind scrabbling to detect faces in their weird, insectile combinations of camera-eyes, anything it could latch on to so he could try to guess their intentions.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

A LinkedIn for sports could replace agents. But don’t expect to find the next LeBron James.

Advanced math is a lot like jazz. A former prodigy says solving problems is more like practicing scales.

Africa’s love for Obama goes beyond family. He is not just a patron, but a partner.

San Francisco’s progressives made a housing crisis worse. A development ban had unintended consequences.

Stretch limos are a safety hazard. They promise luxury, but lack modern features like passenger airbags.

Surprising discoveries

Twitter is taking down copycat tweets on copyright grounds. Stolen jokes have been deleted. 

You can airlift a cow some water, but you can’t make it drink. Drought-stricken Swiss livestock are turning up their noses.

Airbnb now offers vans down by the river. RVs in Queens, New York go for as little as $22 a night.

San Francisco walls can defend themselves against urinators. A special paint enables a “splash-back” effect.

Your musical preference says a lot about you. “Empathizers” to to like mellow artists such as Norah Jones.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, stolen tweets, and Airbnb RV listings to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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