Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Puerto Rico defaults, Obama’s climate plan, lunar expense reports

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What to watch for today

Southeast Asia ministers gather to talk—or not talk—about the South China Sea. Chinese deputy foreign minister Liu Zhenmin said the South China Sea dispute should not be on the agenda as a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations kicks off in Kuala Lumpur. China has been aggressively reclaiming land on disputed reefs in the sea, but has resisted any attempt to have ASEAN mediate the disputes.

India and Pakistan find common ground at sea. More than 150 Indian fishermen who were held in Pakistan’s custody after crossing a controversial border are due to return home. Their release comes after Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in Russia.

Disney reports its earnings. The entertainment giant is expected to post strong third-quarter results, following the blockbuster release of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Disney’s stock is up 29% this year, and hopes are high for the upcoming “Star Wars” sequels.

More earnings: Toyota, CVS, Liberty Global, Aetna, Kellogg, Charter Communications, Sprint, Scripps, Hyatt, and a number of energy companies report their results.

While you were sleeping

Puerto Rico defaulted on its debt. As expected, the US territory failed to make a $58 million debt repayment due Aug. 3. The commonwealth is in deep economic trouble and is more than $70 billion in debt—mostly owed to its own citizens through credit unions.

Obama unveiled a plan to fight climate change. The US president’s new regulations require states to reduce power plant emissions by 32% compared to 2005 levels over the next 15 years. Power companies and Republicans are already gearing up to fight the plan.

Stocks tanked as trading resumed in Greece. In the first day of trading since late June, the Athens exchange lost a fifth of its value when the market opened, though shares rebounded slightly during the rest of the day. Since trading had last taken place, the ruling Syriza party struck a deal with Greece’s euro zone creditors, and new austerity measures began to take hold.

Gulf Arab nations cautiously endorsed the Iran deal. After months of intense US lobbying, the Gulf Cooperation Council backed a deal to lift sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits to its nuclear program. That could represent an important diplomatic victory for the Obama administration as it tries to win approval of the deal in Congress.

The lion controversy raged on. Delta Airlines, the largest carrier between the US and Africa, introduced a ban on shipping hunting trophies, including elephants, rhinoceros, leopards, buffalo, and lions. Meanwhile, another Zimbabwean lion was reportedly hunted down by an American doctor. 

Quartz obsession interlude

Jean-Louis Gassée on how ad-blocking software will change the web content industry. ”Losing trust is bad for the bottom line—no economy can function well without it. When you lose the consumer’s trust, you’re condemned to a chase for the next wave of suckers. Even sites that get us to pay for access to their content play questionable advertising and tracking games.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Men are literally freezing women out of the workplace. Standard office temperatures are designed for men.

America’s founding fathers wanted to include Muslims. Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran provides new and important insights.

Elon Musk’s lesser-known business could be the most important. SolarCity’s innovations could enable mass adoption of solar power.

We should be hacking our own cities. The only way to beat cyber attacks is to pre-empt them.

Facebook’s video business is built on lies. The social network’s most popular videos are “freebooted” from rival services like YouTube.

Surprising discoveries

Harvard prefers college essays that reference “mother” and “father.” Stanford, on the other hand, likes “mom” and “dad.”

There is now a smart watch for the blind. It has a Braile display that can show four characters at a time.

An Indonesian chicken is totally goth. The “Ayam Cemani” is entirely black, including its internal organs. 

Medical devices aren’t safe from hackers. US regulators warned hospitals to remove vulnerable intravenous drug pumps.

Buzz Aldrin had to file an expense report after flying to the moon. He received a $33 per diem payment.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, lunar expense reports, and goth fried chicken recipes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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