Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Snowden elusive, Berlusconi banned, and plant math

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What to watch for today

Will Sprint close the deal? Sprint shareholders will vote on SoftBank’s sweetened offer, worth $21.6 billion. Sprint’s other suitor, Dish Network, abandoned its bid last week after a long bidding war, clearing the way for SoftBank.

Obama’s climate vision. President Barack Obama is expected to announce a slew of measures including limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants, which account for 40% of the annual emissions in the US.

Digital drag for Barnes and Noble. The retailer is expected to report a loss for the fourth straight quarter, while revenues may see a 4% drop. The drag: the Nook division, which includes e-readers, tablets and e-books.

Homebuyers are back. Economists expect new US home sales to increase 2.2% in May to an annual rate of 464,000 (paywall). The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for April and durable goods orders for May are also due.

While you were sleeping

Where in the world is Edward Snowden? US intelligence agencies—and a lot of frustrated journalists—continued their hunt for the NSA whistleblower after he didn’t board a flight from Moscow to Havana. The US also criticized China for letting Snowden leave Hong Kong for Moscow—if in fact he went.

Bunga-bunga finally brought down Berlusconi. Italy’s former prime minister was sentenced to seven years in jail and banned from public office for having sex with an underage prostitute. The ruling threatens to destabilize Italy’s ruling coalition.

Dilma Rousseff goes to the people. Brazil’s president responded to days of nationwide protest by offering to hold a referendum on political reform and invest 50 billion reais ($25 billion) in public transport.

Affirmative action goes back to the drawing board. The US Supreme Court sidestepped a sweeping decision on race-conscious admission policies by asking lower courts to take fresh look under more demanding standards. But make no mistake, affirmative action is already dead.

Neiman Marcus filed for an IPO. Credit Suisse will be the lead underwriter for the US luxury retailer’s public offering. But an outright sale by Neiman’s private equity owners TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus still isn’t completely off the table.

Dell said Icahn needs another $2.9 billion. The special board committee charged with negotiating the buyout of the US computer-maker said the latest $14-a-share proposal from Carl Icahn and Southeastern Asset Management “lacks credibility.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on what the US and Chinese central banks have learned about bubbles. “Before the global financial crisis hit, central bankers didn’t try to deflate asset bubbles. Instead, they just waited until they popped and tried to contain the damage and pick up the pieces. But that hand-off approach appears to be no longer in vogue. The evidence? Look no further than the most recent market upheaval, which was sparked by central banks in the world’s two largest economies doing their best to deflate bubblicious conditions in key financial markets.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The next merger boom is already here. Merger volumes will rise even though most mergers continue to disappoint.

The India story isn’t over. A 10-step program can help India revive growth and improve productivity. 

Japan needs more women in the office and boardroom. An idea for giving Abenomics a boost. 

Get important people to answer your emails. Six secrets on how to get responses.

America’s Atlantis? Rising sea levels will submerge Miami before the end of the century.

The coffee critics are wrong. The science shows that caffeine can drive creativity.

Surprising discoveries

Plants do some serious number crunching.  Research shows plants do complex math to make sure they have enough food to get them through the night.

Visit the Burj Khalifa for free. Google Street View now takes you into the world’s tallest building.

The 1% of the 1%. 0.01% of the US population contributed 28% of campaign donations in the 2012 elections.

America’s best-loved pets. Dogs are an overwhelming favorite. But tigers are the top exotic pet.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, odes to coffee, and pet tiger pictures to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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