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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Cheap oil earnings, Facebook’s internet drone, Jerusalem pride attack, ugly sweater emergencies

By Svati Kirsten Narula
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today and this weekend

Japan sits down with the IMF. The government attends a conference in Tokyo along with officials from the International Monetary Fund, which could get a bit awkward: The IMF recently warned minister Shinzo Abe that his “economic recovery was fragile and facing substantial risks.”

US energy companies struggle with cheap oil. Analysts expect lower quarterly revenues for Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips, thanks to low oil prices. All three companies have suffered double-digit losses in their share prices this year.

The United Arab Emirates deregulates gasoline. On Saturday (Aug. 1), the UAE will be the first country in the Persian Gulf to remove transport-fuel subsidies. Prices are expected to jump, but the government says it will prevent inflation by clamping down on the prices of other consumer goods.

Puerto Rico’s debt payments are due. The US territory must deliver $58 billion in so-called “moral obligation” bond payments on Saturday, but recent statements from government officials suggest that may not happen. Analysts say default could lead to a financial crisis on the island.

While you were sleeping

Facebook unveiled its flying internet drone. The unmanned aircraft called Aquila is part of the social network’s elaborate plan to provide internet connectivity from the skies. Construction of the drone is complete, and Facebook will undertake a test flight in the US in the coming months.

The US economy grew, but is not going gangbusters. GDP rose 2.3% in the second quarter, due mostly to a rise in exports and consumer spending. That was slightly lower than the 2.7% rate analysts expected, but was still an improvement over the economy’s slight contraction in the first quarter.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras asked for another vote—this time from his own party. Tsipras called on his divided Syriza ruling party to support new his austerity programs or risk having the government fail. If left-wing members don’t fall in line, an early election may have to be called.

A man stabbed six marchers at the Jerusalem gay pride parade. The suspect is an ultra-orthodox Jew who carried out a similar attack at the same parade ten years ago. He had been sentenced to 12 years in prison and released just three weeks ago.

Fiat Chrysler made progress.The automaker nearly doubled its quarterly profits versus the same period last year, and its 7.7% profit margin in North America is inching closer to those of Ford and GM. CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company must continue to keep a tight grip on costs; perhaps cleaning up its recall procedures wouldn’t hurt, either.

SoulCycle filed to go public. The New York-based fitness company, credited with igniting the spin-class craze, submitted paperwork to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering. SoulCycle’s 38 cycling studios generated an average of $4 million each in revenue in 2014, according to the filing.

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Frommer on Spotify’s resilience after the debut of Apple Music. “So far, two things are clear: Apple Music was a bit rushed, and Spotify, the leading independent streaming service, is doing just fine …Of course, nobody knows the longer-term impact Apple Music will have on Spotify or the streaming market. Apple has more money, but Spotify may be too big to squash.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Warren Buffett is a feminist hero. He quietly funded a birth control revolution in the US.

Retire early, but don’t leave the working world completely. People are happier if they stay social and earn a little.

The US should treat all criminals like white-collar criminals. Job training and shorter sentences result in less recidivism.

US professional soccer is a retirement home for European stars. Call it the Beckham effect.

Black lives and lion lives both matter. They have one thing in common: they are denigrated by the wealthy.

Surprising discoveries

“Angry Birds” is still the most-purchased iOS app. It has topped Apple’s list of paid apps a record 311 times.

Michael Jordan doesn’t own his own name in China. The basketball legend lost his trademark case against a Chinese sports company.

Swedes have been calling the police to report ugly sweaters. The government is cracking down on silly emergency calls.

The end of invasive colonoscopies may be near. Scientists are developing x-ray pills that can be swallowed, instead.

Your typing tempo is a dead giveaway. It creates a unique profile based on your keystroke patterns.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ugly sweaters, and keystroke scramblers to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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