Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—e-books trial, Wikileaks trial, Manhattan mega-deal, globesity

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Apple e-book trial. The Department of Justice begins its antitrust lawsuit against Apple, for allegedly colluding with book publishers to raise e-book prices and undercut Amazon. All five of the publishers involved have settled, though. Here’s why Apple’s still fighting.

Manning’s WikiLeaks trial. The controversial and much anticipated trial of Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of passing a trove of government secrets to Wikileaks, begins in Maryland. If found guilty, Manning could face life in prison without parole.

EU and Russia talk turkey. Top of the agenda at the summit meeting will be Syria, after the EU scrapped its arms embargo on the country last Monday. Other issues will include Iranian nukes, North Korea, conflicts on former Soviet territory, and doubtless the fee Russia imposed on foreign car makers that looks suspiciously similar to a trade tariff.

Cleaner skies? The International Air Transport Association holds its annual meeting in Cape Town against a backdrop of higher traffic and cheaper fuel prices. EU officials are hopeful that IATA will propose measures to cut emissions.

New governor takes charge. Stephen Poloz takes over as Bank of Canada governor, replacing Mark Carney, who moves to the helm of the Bank of England in July. Poloz will have to tackle slow economic growth, low inflation and an overvalued currency.

Over the weekend

Sticky-fingered Lords. Three members of Britain’s upper house of parliament were suspended from their parties after a newspaper sting operation caught them allegedly offering to ask parliamentary questions and lobby ministers in return for cash.

Money-laundering questions for Barclays. The British bank has been dragged into the investigation against Costa Rica-based digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve, accused of laundering more than $6 billion in illicit funds. After the bitcoin boom, it looks like virtual currencies are now in the news for all the wrong reasons (paywall).

Tax-evasion questions for UBS. France has launched a formal investigation into whether UBS helped rich French citizens evade taxes.

Manhattan’s real-estate mega-deal.  A 27-storey office and retail tower near Central Park has been sold for $1.3 billion, in the biggest commercial property deal in over two years.

China’s counter-surveillance. The Chinese navy has started patrols in the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zones off Guam and Hawaii. The move is seen as retaliation to the US navy’s practice of sending ships and aircrafts to regions where China has exclusive economic rights.

Softbank-Sprint deal gets a key thumbs-up. The $20.1 billion bid by Japan’s Softbank for US carrier Sprint Nextel moved a step closer  to success after Institutional Shareholder Services advised shareholders to vote for SoftBank’s offer. The prominent proxy advisor however sidestepped the more contentious question of whether the deal is better than a rival proposal from Dish Networks. 

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why Swedish students have massive debt even though tuition is free. 85% of Swedish students graduate with debt, versus only 50% in the US. Worst of all, new Swedish graduates have the highest debt-to-income ratios of any group of students in the developed world (according to estimates of what they’re expected to earn once they get out of school)—somewhere in the neighborhood of 80%. The US, where we’re constantly being told that student debt is hitting crisis proportions, the average is more like 60%. Why?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Advice for budding entrepreneurs. A startup isn’t a rebellion; it’s just a means to an end.

Unshackling the internet. Why a business-focused approach is needed to fight internet censorship in China.

Overworked? Set these boundaries and reclaim your life.

Sweden’s startup struggle. A little bit of boasting may do Stockholm’s startups a world of good.

Will this man be the Bill Gates of marijuana? Don’t be so sure.

Surprising discoveries

A journey to Mars is riskier than you thought. The radiation exposure could cause cancer.

Globesity, bliss point, pillar ingredients. The delicious menu of tasty new words and phrases cooked up by the food industry.

Don’t throw out your old computer scanner just yet. Japanese engineers can turn them into a holographic camera.

Gems of commencement wisdom. The 30 best pieces of unconventional advice for the class of 2013.

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

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.