Putin’s hotline bling, new basketball record, communists can play golf

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Vladimir Putin is listening. The Russian president will field calls, emails, and social-media queries in his annual live Q&A session with the public. Questions are likely to focus on the economy and the military mission in Syria, but Putin’s ties to offshore accounts in the Panama Papers could come up. Last year’s highlights included missiles, milk, and macroeconomics.

The European Parliament’s corporate espionage bill. The Trade Secrets Protection Act would protect European companies from corporate spying by global business rivals. Critics say the law could turn whistleblowers into criminals if they publish company information. A new EU directive on sharing air-passenger data to fight terrorism is expected to pass today as well. 

New offshore drilling rules for the US. Six years after the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Barack Obama will set out new regulations to increase safety and environmental protection. They’re going to be costly for oil companies, many of whom have lobbied against the changes.

While you were sleeping

South Korea’s ruling party lost the parliamentary election. The Saenuri Party lost out to the opposition Minjoo Party in a surprise defeat after 16 years in power.  It reflects people’s discontent with president Park Geun-hye’s handling of the economy, which has led to rising unemployment and high levels of household debt.

Asian currencies fell hard against the dollar. The impact of the South Korean elections and the Singapore central bank’s surprise decision to curb currency appreciation to spur growth rattled markets (paywall). The Chinese yuan experienced its biggest one-day depreciation since January.

Germany agreed fresh counter-terrorism measures. The government’s new measures include increasing police powers and facilitating better information sharing between Germany’s intelligence agencies and their foreign partners, Reuters reported. Details of a planned refugee integration law were also hashed out.

China began prosecutions in the vaccine scandal. The State Council said 202 of 357 officials involved in the sale of illegal vaccines had been detained to face punishment over their involvement in the drugs ring, which had been operating since 2011.

A big day for basketball. The Golden State Warriors set a new NBA season record with 73 wins. Michael Jordan, whose Chicago Bulls were the previous record-holders in 1995-96, congratulated the team. Separately, Kobe Bryant scored 60 points in the LA Lakers’ victory over the Utah Jazz to cap a 20-year career that included five championship rings and 18 all-star selections.

Quartz obsession interlude

Mike Murphy on the groundbreaking sport of drone racing. “What we may be witnessing is the birth of the first new sport of the internet age: A sport that isn’t bound by time or collective experience, but instead a sport that is atomized and doled out in digital chunks, like so many Snapchats, Instagrams, Facebook links and tweets before them.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Athleisure is stretched to its limits. As cheaper retailers expand in the market, Lululemon and Under Armour’s great run may be coming to an end.

Facebook’s Internet.org has a noble goal and a fatal flaw. It threatens innovation and condemns the poor to a walled garden.

Is polygamy the next gay marriage? Courts may soon be forced to decide whether you can marry more than one person.

Surprising discoveries

A Russian jet buzzed a US destroyer like a scene out of “Top Gun.” The Russians were flexing their muscles in front of the Americans and Poles onboard.

Golf is no longer a crime in China. The Communist party has lifted its ban, saying there’s “no right or wrong” about playing.

An Israeli Arab cop has reached the highest rank ever. Jamal Hakrush starts his job in difficult times.

Being married can help cancer patients live longer. White men benefit the most from matrimony.

Outlandish “service animals” are at an all-time high. More than 24,000 were registered in the US last year, including “helper turkeys” and “support pigs.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, underground golf-club memberships, and support pigs to hi@qz.com. And download our new iPhone app for news throughout the day.