Quartz daily brief—Asia Edition—Quartz daily brief—G8 talks, M&S results, Fed’s red faces, procrastination

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What to watch for today

A North Korean missile test? South Korea believes a test is coming any day now, causing alert levels to go up for South Korean and American troops. While North Korea has conducted missile tests before, it has never done one for its longest-range weapon, which could hit Japan and Guam.

G8 talks end. It’s no surprise that North Korea and Syria have been top of the agenda. The foreign ministers were also set to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.

Australian jobs report. The employment numbers are expected to hold steady for March but could rise in the coming months.  Economists are also still scratching their heads over the unexpectedly strong jobs numbers in February. In the US, weekly initial jobless claims will also be reported.

Marks & Spencer looks a little shabby. The largest British clothing retailer is expected to report a disappointing performance when it reveals sales numbers and other data. In the US, drugstore company Rite Aid will report earnings.

While you were sleeping

The Fed debated dialing back easy money. But the discussion, related in the latest Fed minutes, was held before the most recent dismal US jobs numbers, which might make the central bank prolong its growth policy. (Meanwhile, red faces all round as some people accidentally got the minutes five hours early.)

Obama unveiled his budget proposal. And dared Republicans to reject it. They dared him back.

Europe had better watch out for Italy and France. Those two countries, and especially France given its size, are threats to the euro zone since they were out of sync with better-performing Germany, says a new EU report.

Lagarde on the next crisis. The IMF managing director said the world was dividing into three groups—countries that are doing well, recovering or are still in trouble—and that imbalance could create the next financial crisis.

The Louvre shut down. The staff at France’s flagship museum protested over intimidation by pickpockets, prompting one of the most popular museums in the world to close its doors. Some of the thieves are children.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why gold is the worst investment for 2013: ”We’ve told you several times that gold has been the dog of global markets this year… Now Goldman Sachs commodities analysts suggest the selloff in the yellow metal could be about to gain momentum. In a research note Wednesday they write not even the stress over Cyprus could generate much of a rally in gold prices. And they come to the conclusion that “long” enthusiasm over gold prices is ebbing fast.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Capitalism won’t change North Korea. And its leaders are rational to the extreme.

How Iran won the war on drugs. And what it can teach Afghanistan.

US Senator Mitch McConnell is more dangerous than Kim Jong-un.

Gun control is a waste of time.

Surprising discoveries

Finland apologizes to Putin. Its police put the Russian president on a blacklist of criminals. Oops.

Bookies cut the odds on the name Alexandra for Kate Middleton’s baby. They are also betting it’s a girl.

Even more hurricanes this year. Mother Nature is expected to be worse in 2013. 

When you are driving, daydreaming is more dangerous than texting.

How to procrastinate at work. The Quartz complete guide.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hurricane name suggestions and criminal blacklists to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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