Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Bank of Japan, US-Taiwan trade, Chinese inflation, papal garments

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What to watch for today

Bank of Japan’s new chief gets confirmed. Haruhiko Kuroda’s confirmation hearings begin today. A longtime critic of the bank, Kuroda may help set the tone in Japan’s battle against deflation. He is expected to be confirmed quickly.

World Bank chief arrives in India. Jim Yong Kim meets with India’s leadership to discuss development issues and the nation’s role in dealing with global poverty. India’s trade balance also comes out today; it last showed a negative balance with 110 countries.

Venezuelan election marathon begins. The race to replace Hugo Chavez officially began on Sunday. Acting president Nicolas Maduro and centrist Henrique Capriles register their candidacies today, in the first step toward an April 14 vote.

Kenya’s election is still not resolved. Though the nation elected a president facing charges of crimes against humanity, his opponent Raila Odinga hasn’t yet conceded. Odinga said he plans to challenge the victory in Kenya’s highest court.

Over the weekend

US-Taiwan trade talks reopened after a five-year halt. Taiwan lifted its ban on US beef last July, allowing for new talks between America and what used to be its 11th-biggest trading partner.

China saw rising inflation numbers. Even as other indicators, including industrial output and retail sales, softened, Chinese inflation rose to 3.2% in February. The Lunar New Year likely boosted retail prices, but property prices have been spiking, too.

BlackBerry’s India head stepped down. The nation’s market for smartphones has been growing, but BlackBerry is losing ground there to Google’s Android.

Chuck Hagel visited Afghanistan, violence continued. A Taliban suicide bomber killed nine people during Hagel’s first visit as US defense secretary. Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused Hagel of colluding with the Taliban.

Iran cut off access to virtual private networks, or VPNs, that some people use to get around the government’s strict control of the internet. It could be another step toward implementing an entirely domestic internet in Iran.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on the failures of e-voting in emerging economies: “Kenyan authorities, hoping to avoid the chaos of the 2007 election, decided that this time the country would use a tamper-proof, state-of-the-art electronic voting system…But everything that could go wrong did…Kenya’s troubled electronic voting experiment is part of a strange dichotomy where electronic voting is on the way out in most Western countries, but taking hold in emerging economies, possibly to their detriment.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Horsemeat: proof the EU can’t function. At least, for some Euroskeptics.

Parsing higher American employment numbers: Everyone was happy to see 236,000 new jobs added in February, but it isn’t enough for the Fed to ease up.

Tibet: why no one cares that monks are lighting themselves on fire.

Surprising discoveries

Robots might run the New York Stock Exchange. But only in the event of a disaster.

Harder! Faster! Stronger! Google announced a prototype of a talking shoe that can log miles while you run.

The next pope’s tailors are already prepared to stitch his garments, and a selection of red loafers is available in every conceivable size.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and papal fashion tips to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.