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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Facebook’s pricey expansion, Fed’s rosy view, white rhino RIP, pig fat lasers

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

What to watch for today

India carries out a controversial execution. Yakub Memon, a convicted terrorist involved in the 1993 bombings that killed 257 people in Mumbai, is slated to be hanged in a jail in the city of Nagpur. The looming execution has sparked a national discussion about the death penalty.

Is the US economy rebounding? The Commerce Department releases an estimate of second-quarter GDP, which is expected to bounce back after a harsh winter and a West Coast port slowdown. A revision to the first quarter GDP may also show that the economy did not contract by very much.

An earnings cornucopia. Take a deep breath: quarterly results are due from Colgate Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal, AstraZeneca, Samsung, Sony, Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens, Nokia, Lufthansa, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander, Anheuser-Busch, Renault, Fiat Chrysler, Rolls-Royce, LinkedIn, ConocoPhillips, Cigna, Royal Dutch Shell, and more.

While you were sleeping

Facebook’s expenses mounted and its profit fell. Revenue and earnings per share figures were ahead of analysts’ estimates as the social networking giant neared the 1 billion daily user mark. But the company’s stock fell in after-hours trading on higher-than-expected expenses due to investments in WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus Rift.

The Fed cited labor gains as it prepares to raise interest rates. The central bank’s benchmark rate will remain near zero for a little while longer, ahead of a planned increase later this year. The Fed’s open market committee very slightly upgraded its economic forecast, saying that the“underutilization of labor resources has diminished”—it had previously used the modifier “somewhat.”

Britain and France held emergency talks about Chunnel migrants. As many as 5,000 migrants from Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Afghanistan are now camped near Calais, France, seeking a way in to Britain. French interior minister interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the emergency was “a mirror of the conflicts and crises that are tearing some of the world’s regions apart.”

Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead, according to the Afghan government—and for real this time. Anonymous Afghan officials and two sources close to the Taliban told the the The Wall Street Journal and BBC that the group’s spiritual leader is dead—and has been for at least two years. Omar’s death has been rumored many times before, but the White House called the latest reports “credible.”

One of the world’s five remaining white rhinos died. Nabiré, a northern white rhino who lived in an open-air zoo in the Czech Republic, died from a ruptured cyst at the age of 22. There is only one male white rhino left, living under 24-hour armed guard in Kenya. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean hunters who helped a US dentist kill a beloved lion could face up to 15 years in prison.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Epstein on Google’s program to provide free internet access using balloons. ”After test runs in New Zealand, Brazil, and the US, Project Loon is finally ready to…balloon. In 2016, Google will deploy balloons all over Sri Lanka, filling in its coverage gaps and effectively blanketing the entire island nation with broadband internet.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Prostitution is not a human right. Amnesty International’s endorsement supports the exploitative global sex trade.

Lion killer Walter Palmer is now among the hunted. But it is hypocritical to go after him alone.

Your opinion can, in fact, be wrong. Climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers are actually suffering from misconceptions.

Evil isn’t banal—it’s ingenious. Dastardly people know exactly what they’re doing.

Japan has to face its Enron-style demons. Corporate governance does not mean running a company like a personal fiefdom.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists have turned fat cells into lasers. Glowing squares of pig flesh could one day help track human cancer cells.

Charleston shooter Dylan Roof has an unlikely public defender. David Bruck is a longtime critic of injustice against African Americans.

A London skyscraper is knocking people over. The building known for a reflected “death ray” also creates a dangerous wind tunnel.

You can hack a “smart” sniper rifle. The Wifi-enabled weapon can be tricked into firing at an unintended target.

Frequent flier miles can be used to pay for university. At least in Canada.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, bacon lasers, and terrifying hacks to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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