Asia Daily Brief—Hong Kong IPOs, Ringo Starr’s drums, French elections

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What to watch for today

Bank of Jinzhou debuts in Hong Kong trading. The mainland commercial lender has been blasted for opacity and risky loans, and had to price its IPO near the bottom of an expected range. But such listings have helped put Hong Kong’s exchange on pace to rank number one globally for total value of its IPOs in 2015, beating the New York Stock Exchange.

US president Barack Obama delivers a major address on terrorism. Obama is speaking to the American people from the Oval Office for the first time in five years. Here’s what to expect and how to follow it live.

U2 performs in Paris. The rock band had called off concerts scheduled for the weekend of the terrorist attacks last month, and now returns for two appearances concluding tonight.

Over the weekend

France’s far-right National Front party posted major gains in the first round of regional elections. Estimated returns had Marine Le Pen’s party coming in first with over 30% of votes (link in French), capitalizing on concerns about security and immigration heightened by the Paris terror attacks.

Three people were stabbed in an apparent terrorist attack in the London Underground. Social media celebrated a witness who yelled at the alleged attacker, “You ain’t no Muslim bruv.”

Record rainfall flooded the UK. Tens of thousands of homes were without power amid storm winds and major flooding in northwest England, Ireland, and Scotland

African nations promised to restore their forests. At the United Nations climate talks in Paris, more than a dozen governments pledged to take on the timber industry and illegal logging and restore 100 million hectares of forest by 2030.

Jimmy Carter said he is cancer free. The former US president has been undergoing treatment for brain cancer.

Ringo Starr’s drum set sold for $1.75 million. The former Beatle and his wife made millions auctioning off memorabilia—also bringing in $650,000 for an original UK pressing of the White Album.

Quartz obsession interlude

Olivia Goldhill on Finland’s plans to give every adult citizen €800 monthly: “It may sound counterintuitive, but the proposal is meant to tackle unemployment. Finland’s unemployment rate is at a 15-year high, at 9.53%, and a basic income would allow people to take on low-paying jobs without personal cost. At the moment, a temporary job results in lower welfare benefits, which can lead to an overall drop in income.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The modern sports bubble is about to pop. ESPN’s subscriber losses are a sign that the economics of sports television and, ultimately, sports leagues are being dismantled by the internet.

Most people underestimate their own ability to generate ideas. And that’s in part because they lack perseverance.

Tech start-ups are waiting way too long to go public. As a result, many will struggle to raise more cash (paywall) or have to accept lower valuations.

Using the term “radical Islam” is a disservice to peaceful Muslims. It also plays into ISIL’s efforts to stir up a clash of civilizations.

Surprising discoveries

The United States Postal Service has begun emailing customers their mail. The post office will send images of the front of envelopes to their recipients for free in certain cities.

Hello Barbie could allow hackers to eavesdrop on children. Researchers say the internet-connected doll has had major security flaws.

Running very long distances can make your brain shrink. Ultra-marathoners’ brains shrunk as much as 6% by the end of a race, with the area responsible for visual processing most affected.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, €800 payments, and Beatles memorabilia to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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