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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Obama gets tough, Canada calls elections, Viagra in Chinese liquor

This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

John Kerry meets with Gulf leaders to discuss the Iran deal. America’s Secretary of State will continue his tour of the Middle East in Doha to brief the Gulf Cooperation Council, answer questions, and allay fears that the deal has Iran coming out ahead. The meeting comes after Kerry promised stronger ties with Egypt while in Cairo.

The first weekday of the month means fresh economic data. Markit will release its worldwide Purchasing Managers’ Index results, an important measure of the health of the manufacturing sector. Meanwhile Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, and Turkey are all set to release their latest inflation estimates.

Obama unveils tough new climate rules. The final version of his Clean Power Plan—to be formally released today—will require America’s power plants to reduce carbon emissions 32% by 2030, from 2005 levels. The Obama administration shared a flashy video on Facebook laying out the president’s climate change vision.

Over the weekend

Puerto Rico missed a payment, signaling default. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said his government didn’t have the money to make a $58 million bond payment that was due Saturday. The missed payment will be considered a default by investors. Padilla has long warned that his government would be unable to repay the $72 billion it owes to creditors.

Evidence strengthened that debris from the Indian Ocean came from MH370. Malaysian authorities said a wing part that washed up in Reunion Island, a French territory in the Indian Ocean, last week is from a Boeing 777, the very same model as the plane that went missing. Authorities dismissed speculation that another object that washed ashore was an aircraft door, saying the object was “just a domestic ladder.”

Verizon dodged a bullet, for now. A union representing nearly 40,000 wireline employees at the American telecoms giant decided—temporarily—not to call a strike after the workers’ contracts expired on August 1. Workers had agreed that they would strike if necessary, and are looking for expanded benefits and job security provisions as Verizon looks to cut costs.

Canada’s Prime Minister called an October election. After leading the country for nearly a decade, Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party will fight to stay in power amid disappointing economic performance and questions over ethics. The election is set for October 19.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jake Flanagin suggests a radical change to the Olympics as we know them. “With the privilege of hosting comes responsibilities—governments must invest large sums of money to build up infrastructure in a short period of time. And in places without reliable systems in place to ensure development is pursued ethically, it’s ordinary citizens that suffer most…The quick solution? Do away with host cities all together.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The United States is an “oligarchy with unlimited political bribery.” Former president Jimmy Carter summarizes American democracy on the Thom Hartmann Program, a nationally syndicated radio show.

Canadian rivers could help lower electricity bills in the American northeast. Except swaths of scenic New England would have to be strung up with long distance power lines.

Hairy ethical questions should not get in the way of medical advances. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker wants to let a hundred biomedical flowers bloom; people worried about the ethics of human genome modification are getting in the way of medical progress.

Israel wants new powers against domestic terror. In the wake of recent attacks, the Israeli government wants to be able to hold suspects indefinitely, without charges.

Surprising discoveries

Doping is as widespread in endurance running as it was in cycling. Thousands of blood test results leaked by a whistleblower suggested that a third of Olympic and world-championship medals have been awarded to runners suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.

Microsoft is charging Windows 10 users for ad-free Solitaire. The game that stole millions of hours of productivity is no longer the distraction-free distraction it once was.

US schools are still segregated. A Missouri law inadvertently allowed students to transfer out of integrated school districts into whiter ones.

Chinese distillers are adding Viagra to their liquor. Investigations are ongoing, but food-safety issues remain a serious problem.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, blood-test leaks and Viagra cocktail recipes to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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