Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Suez Canal upgrade, MH370 debris confirmed, Earth’s mini-moon groupies

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What to watch for today

A somber anniversary in Japan. Seventy years ago, the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, killing more than 100,000 people. The city will hold a huge event to commemorate the anniversary, with ambassadors from over 100 countries in attendance, including US envoy Caroline Kennedy. Sunday marks the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing.

Egypt unveils a huge Suez Canal expansion. An upgrade of the man-made waterway that links Asia and Europe will feature a new 35 km (22 mile) extension, which cost $8.5 billion and was built in less than a year, part of president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s plan to reinvigorate the country’s economy. But the canal may not be big enough to accommodate the world’s largest tankers and container ships.

The Bank of England’s “Super Thursday.” The central bank is expected to leave its benchmark rate at 0.5%. More importantly, it will simultaneously release the minutes of its monetary policy meeting for the first time, in an effort to make the process more transparent.

A major court challenge for Uber. A California judge’s ruling on a class-action lawsuit will hinge on whether drivers are employees of the ride sharing giant, or self-employed freelancers. Some 160,000 drivers are trying to force the company to reimburse them for mileage and tips.

The earnings season continues: Novo Nordisk, Allergan, Rio Tinto, Duke Energy, Petrobras, Viacom, AMC, Paramount, and the New York Times report quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

A breakthrough in the search for MH370. Aviation experts in France concluded that a piece of an airplane wing that was found on Réunion Island last week is in fact from the doomed flight. The first concrete evidence of the fate of MH370, which vanished in March 2014 with 239 people on board, still leaves many important questions unanswered.

China said its island-building spree has stopped.  Foreign minister Wang Yi announced that the country’s provocative land reclamation projects in the South China Sea are on hold, and urged critics to “just take an aeroplane to take a look,” Reuters reported. The announcement came after US secretary of state John Kerry spoke with Yi on the sidelines of a meeting at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Catholic Church made nice with divorcees and China… Pope Francis said divorced people can receive communion, emphasizing that they are still part of the church even though it does not recognize divorce. Meanwhile, Chinese Catholics ordained their first new bishop in three years, signaling a thaw between the Vatican and Beijing.

…And Francois Holland and Vladimir Putin made up over a cancelled warship deal. France agreed to reimburse Russia for two Mistral helicopter carriers that it failed to deliver, part of a $1.3 billion deal that was scuttled due to western sanctions against Russia.

Quartz obsession interlude

Shelly Banjo on the new US rule that requires companies to disclose their CEO-employee pay gaps. ”As an investor, you could see whether pay differences among, say, retail workers at Walmart, Costco, and Target have led to better sales over time. And as a consumer, it would be great to buy goods and services equipped with information on how much companies are paying their workers.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

Google’s search engine is indifferent to the truth. Users must rely on their own consciences.

Let’s just give poor countries cash. The “teach a man to fish” mentality does not work when fighting poverty.

China is gambling by “internationalizing” the yuan. It’s ambitious but also risky.

American exceptionalism is over. Presidential candidates from both parties are praising Scandinavian ideas.

In Zimbabwe, lions are hated, not loved. Cecil who?

Surprising discoveries

Russia wants to ban foreign condoms. One former official says it could boost the country’s birth rate.

The Earth may have its own groupies. Mini-moon asteroids could make great space mission targets.

A street lamp destroyed by pee nearly killed a driver in San Francisco. Corrosion from urine caused it to snap.

A real-life giant Minion attacked Dublin. First the swearing, and now this.

The gene responsible for cilantro hatred also applies to wheat beer.  Coriander seeds from the cilantro plant are the culprit.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, killer Minions, and cilantro-garnished wheat beer to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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