Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Cyber Monday, EU budget talks, multilingual personalities, gimmicky valuations

November 10, 2013
November 10, 2013

What to watch for today

It’s Cyber Monday in China. What started as “Singles’ Day,” a celebration of bachelorhood, has now evolved into a mammoth online shopping spree (paywall) throughout China. On this day last year, nearly $3.3 billion was spent on e-commerce giant Alibaba alone, compared to $1.5 billion spent on the Cyber Monday in the US. Today, sales are expected to near $5 billion.

The Philippines’ largest public offering. Robinsons Retail Holdings, which operates drug stores, supermarkets, and department stores, starts trading publicly after raising at least $621 million from selling shares at 58 pesos ($1.34) each. Although Typhoon Haiyan could weigh on the peso and the nation’s stock market, strategists say consumer companies could get a boost from purchases tied to relief efforts.

Budget talks in Europe. Finance ministers from the EU’s 28 member states are scheduled to meet the European Parliament to negotiate the terms of the 2014 EU budget, including public investment and innovative financing. UN-brokered climate change talks also kick off today in Warsaw, Poland. 

Nuclear probe in Iran. Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, travels to Tehran to continue investigating whether Iran has secretly developed nuclear weapons. Last week’s talks between Iran and six world powers ended without a solution but key players said progress has been made.

The Congo finds peace. A deal between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the M23 rebel movement is set to be signed today in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, after rebels last week declared an end to their 18-month-long insurgency.

Over the weekend

Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines. Landslides, 150 mph winds, and 20-foot waves hit the Philippines this weekend, killing as many as 10,000 people in one city alone, making it the deadliest natural disaster on record in the Philippines. A weaker Haiyan is headed for China and Vietnam, where around 600,000 people have been evacuated as a precaution.

Feds tell Bank of America to pay up. The US government wants Bank of America to pay almost $854 million in damages after a federal jury found the bank liable for fraud over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit in 2007 and 2008. The amount is based on the gross loss incurred by the government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Colombian drug baron arrested. One of Colombia’s most notorious drug lords, Palencia Gonzalez, has been arrested in Madrid while planning new drug routes to Spain. Gonzalez, the head of Los Urabenos gang, is accused of drug smuggling, extortion and ordering the murder of police officers.

Venezuelan crackdown on overpriced electronics. President Nicolas Maduro seized the Daka chain of electronics stores after accusing them of overcharging by as much a 1,000%. Bargain hunters flocked to buy electronics that had been marked down by as much as 75% after the seizure.

Quartz obsession interlude

Eric Holthaus and Ritchie King on how to fix global warming before it’s too late. “On its face, the idea of a global carbon budget is the ideal negotiating tool. There are hard numbers. There are clear consequences for exceeding defined limits. And it’s possible to incorporate the notion that climate negotiations have endorsed since 1992, that all nations share a “common but differentiated responsibility” to avoid further damage to the planet. But, as with all budget fights, this one has a long list of potential winners and losers, which has slowed progress so far.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Multilinguals have multiple personalities. Different languages bring out different personality traits in the speaker.

The Tea Party has learned nothing. Three election cycles in and the Tea Party is as dysfunctional as ever—because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Polygamy is closely linked to poverty. In west Africa, educational investment reduces polygamy, while conflict and lower rainfall lead to more wives.

Internet companies have gimmicky valuations. Non-profitable companies, like Twitter, use their own valuation measures and ignore generally accepted accounting principles.

Developed nations should foot the bill for natural disasters. Richer nations contribute the bulk of climate change-causing gases, but low-income countries disproportionately feel the effects.

Surprising discoveries

The internet’s top word. “404,” web-speak for a page that fails to load, and “fail” are the most popular words on the English-speaking world in 2013.

Say “ahhh.” Scientists are figuring out what makes people afraid of the dentist by playing the noise of drills and other dental instruments.

What didn’t happen during the government shutdown: A total of 6.6 million days weren’t worked, 2 million liters of booze weren’t shipped, and 156 air deliveries weren’t delivered.

A personal undersea drone. For $849, you can get your hands on a toaster-sized drone that works under water and can be operated from your laptop.

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