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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Abe’s answer, record recession, Google gains, contraband KFC

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

A gut-check for Abenomics. Japan announces economic growth for the first quarter—analysts expect an annualized 2.8%, faster than the US. The data will be an early test for the controversial economic program of prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Commodities giant’s first meet-up. Glencore Xstrata has its annual meeting just weeks after finalizing a long-awaited merger to become the fourth-largest miner in the world. Despite recent good news from its mining holdings, expect managers to outline their response to the sector’s global price slump.

Will the US Federal Reserve keep missing its inflation target? The target is 2%, but April’s consumer prices revealed today are expected to have once again undershot. It’s the same story in Europe, where the European Central Bank will confront its own slowing economy.

While you were sleeping

It’s officially Europe’s longest recession. New data shows the euro zone economies are shrinking faster than last year, with both France and Germany starting to feel the pain slow growth.

UN calls for Syria’s president to go. 107 nations called for Bashar Assad to leave; Russia opposed the resolution, natch. Syria, meanwhile, had its internet plug pulled once again.

No luck in Iran nuke talks. More stalling, but maybe June elections in Iran will create new opportunities for a deal.

Google gains on improved services. Google stock closed at an all-time high of $915.89 after its developers’ conference revealed a bunch of new and upgraded services including Hangouts, maps and streaming music, the latter a genuine Spotify competitor. And what we think is interesting: You’ll be able to send money via Gmail.

Euro donors plan “total relaunch” of Mali. International donors pledged €2 billion of the €4.3 billion needed to execute plan that aims to restore the country after last year’s military coup.

The US government seizes assets belonging to the largest bitcoin exchange. Apparently, it’s a problem if you lie about whether your money transmission service will transmit money.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on Android’s deceptively large market share. “It is hardly disputable that Android has a clear lead over iOS in terms of the number of people using it. Just yesterday, a report put its worldwide market share in the first quarter of this year at nearly 75% of all smartphone sales. That number is worth looking at more closely. What are all these Android owners doing with their phones?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The UK needs better arguments to stay in the EU. The Swiss seem to be doing alright.

Financiers are right to doubt the Fed’s track record. Remember the housing bubble? And the internet bubble?

You don’t need austerity to fix a broken economy. Give the feckless politicians more credit.

Is Mexico’s reformist president threatened by his own party? The old guard may not tolerate threats to their economic power.

Surprising discoveries

Are India, Bangladesh and Hong Kong are the least racially tolerant countries in the world? More than 40% of survey respondents wouldn’t want a neighbor of a different race.

The inside story of Ranbaxy’s criminal fraud. The fabricated test results behind the $500 million guilty plea.

Underground tunnels deliver KFC from Egypt to the Gaza strip. After three hours under the border, it’s apparently still finger-lickin’ good.

The best value-for-money degree you can get? Georgia Tech will offer a $7,000 master’s in computer science to 10,000 online students.

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