Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Chinese exams, Europe’s floods, government spying, candy crackdown

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What to watch for today

The world’s worst college entrance exam. About 9.2 million Chinese students will take the nine-hour gaokao. New this year: some reforms are kicking in to make it easier for students from rural areas to get into top schools in Chinese cities.

Europe gets more and more flooded. The worst of the record-setting flood in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Austria will reach Dresden today and Budapest on Monday.

Trouble in Taksim. Protesters are massing in Turkey’s Taksim Square, preparing to ramp up activity to mark prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s return from a state visit to North Africa.

Big-time US jobs day. With US data disappointing recently, the fate of the US growth story—and the Federal Reserve’s controversial quantitative easing—could rest on unemployment data. Economists expect that 167,000 private, non-farm jobs will be added to the economy, and the unemployment rate will stay steady at 7.5%.

Barack Obama, meet Xi Jinping. The US president and Chinese premier will meet today in California for the first time since Xi took office. Here’s how to read all the signs.

While you were sleeping

More secrets leaked about government surveillance. A day after evidence that the US National Security Agency is hoovering up phone-call data, the Washington Post and Guardian published revelations that it also has a secret partnership with tech giants like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, giving it direct access to search their users’ data.

The ECB left rates unchanged. Nor did it announce new measures to help small businesses. But ECB president Mario Draghi did give himself a public—if unconvincing—pat on the back for a job well done.

Another affront to Abenomics. The yen strengthened sharply in midday US trading, suggesting that the Bank of Japan’s efforts to devalue the currency are being tested.

Vladimir Putin is single. Russia’s president announced he’s getting a divorce from his wife, Lyudmila. Russians jokingly asked which half of the country she’d be getting.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the lessons the US should learn from how Britain has done business with Huawei. “Put in place a robust system for the government to monitor investment into national infrastructure by foreign organisations, and to impose conditions for managing risk, such as setting up cells akin to the one monitoring Huawei. Good oversight beats bombastic protectionism any day of the week.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The key to happiness. Remind yourself to be happy.

Earth to the IMF. The fund shouldn’t have been in the euro zone in the first place.

The real shortcomings of US border control. The cost of a long line.

Surprising discoveries

Jay-Z is just like Samsung. You’d be surprised at the similarities.

George Soros, an atheist, is allegedly behind an American Evangelical campaign. A case of strange bedfellows.

Candy crackdown. Canadian authorities have charged Nestle and Mars with some not-so-sweet price-fixing of their chocolate products.

Monster shark catch. A Texas man caught what might be the biggest mako shark ever reeled in, at 1,323 pounds (600 kg).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, sweets scandals and Jay-Z revelations to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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