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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—EU-China trade, Syria sanctions, Japanese bullishness, virgin births

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

China and the EU try to smooth over a trade spat. They will hold informal talks over solar panels and telecoms equipment. The EU accuses China of “dumping” goods and plans to impose duties.

Syria: to sanction or not to sanction? EU leaders will meet to decide whether or not to ease an embargo on Syria. It’s a dilemma: Doing so could help channel weapons to rebels fighting president Bashar Assad, but might take the pressure off Assad himself.

India’s PM visits Japan. Manmohan Singh travels to Tokyo to sign infrastructure deals worth more $15 billion. Singh will also meet with his counterpart Shinzo Abe to revive talks on civilian nuclear energy co-operation, which has been bogged down since the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Memorial Day in the US. Markets will remain closed.

While you were sleeping

Japan’s central-bank governor sided with the bulls. Haruhiko Kuroda sought to reassure investors, in the wake of a sharp market fall late last week, saying the nation’s financial institutions had sufficient buffers to cope with rising interest rates and that the bank would watch out for signs of overheating or excessive risk-taking.

Dreamliners are back in Japanese skies. Boeing’s biggest 787 Dreamliner customer, All Nippon Airways, resumed commercial flights for the first time since the planes were grounded after problems with its battery system.

Kuwait’s oil minister resigned. The minister, Hani Hussein, quit after criticism of a $2.2 billion compensation payment to Dow Chemicals over a collapsed business deal.

SAC Capital lost its biggest investor. Blackstone Group is pulling much of its money out of Steven Cohen’s beleaguered hedge fund as an investigation into insider trading at SAC deepens.

Barcelona scored big.  Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. will join FC Barcelona next month. The five-year deal will be reportedly be worth close to €60m ($78 million).

Better Place is going no place. One of the great hopes of electric-car startups is filing for liquidation, after its battery-switching concept failed to take off. The problem: It wasn’t enough like Tesla.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why a big economic policy speech by Chinese premier Li Keqiang may offer less than it seems. “[T]hese proposals have been mooted for ages, with little to show for it. That’s in large part because meaningful reform hinges on freeing up the flow, allocation and pricing of capital. Though letting the market price capital might, for instance, raise deposit rates—a big boost to household wealth and, therefore, rebalancing—it could also mean less lending. And since the government’s use of lending as a policy tool is what’s keeping GDP growth above 7%, the economy would sputter.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Google Glass & privacy fearsLessons corporations must learn.

The G8 is getting serious about cracking down on tax avoidance. But will China play ball?

Do low wages for unskilled workers weaken the case for more immigration? Not really.

Autistic people don’t necessarily make great coders. What’s wrong with SAP’s latest hiring gimmick.

China too has drones. So now what?

Lists of powerful women are a bad idea. You really want Cristina Kirchner as a role model?

Surprising discoveries

An anteater’s virgin birth. It’s called parthenogenesis, and among animals it’s not that uncommon.

Coffee is at its cheapest in three years. But your latte isn’t.

A new look Gmail? You might need to get ready for the second redesign of your Gmail account in just over a year.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, latte prices, and Gmail design ideas to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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