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Quartz Daily Brief — Asia Edition — Mining merger, Bo’s son, diaper supplies

By Kevin J. Delaney

GOOD MORNING QUARTZ READERS IN ASIA!

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR TODAY

A massive mining deal gets closer to the finish line. The board of Australia’s Xstrata today is expected to recommend its takeover by Glencore International, in a sweetened offer. Once combined, the two firms would be the world’s fourth-largest mining company. But given the headwinds facing the mining sector–including a dropoff in Chinese demand for raw materials–the two companies’ marriage could come at a challenging time.

Manufacturing data released today provide an update on the health of the global economy. China, the US, and Germany are among the countries with numbers due out. China is expected to show an ongoing drop in manufacturing, amid its economic slowdown and tepid demand for exports means the US data are not expected to be especially rosy.

It’s National Day in China, as the country celebrates its Golden Week holiday. It remains to be seen whether retail sales (paid) during what’s traditionally a boom week for shopping will be impacted by the broader political and economic uncertainty.

Georgia holds parliamentary elections. President Mikhail Saakashvili’s United National Movement faces a tough challenge in the Georgian Dream coalition led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia’s wealthiest man. Energy transport through the country and the possibility of contested elections add geopolitical significance to the outcome.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING 

The son of fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai publicly defended his father for the first time. The Harvard-educated Bo Guagua, believed to still be in the US, posted a statement on Tumblr, saying “it is hard for me to believe the allegations that were announced against my father, because they contradict everything I have come to know about him throughout my life.” The government last week stripped the elder Bo of his party membership and said he faced legal action, the latest development in a scandal that has added drama to the coming once-in-a-decade change in China’s political leadership.

Russia doubled its estimates of the costs of preparing for the 2018 football World Cup to $19 billion. Private investment is expected to foot roughly half the bill.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE:

Ron Brownstein on the demographic time-bomb facing the US Republican Party: “In today’s media-saturated world it’s not clear that either party can establish the sort of lasting hold on voters triggered by earlier realigning presidential elections, like Abraham Lincoln’s victory in 1860 or Franklin Roosevelt’s in 1932. But an Obama victory that largely reassembles the coalition that elected him in 2008, despite the greatest economic upheaval since the Depression, would send Republicans a stark warning.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE:

The Church should pay more taxes. How the question is playing out in Spain.

President Obama should have taken the lessons of history more seriously. A reassessment of the White House’s efforts to stimulate the economy.

Angel investors shouldn’t expect to make any money. Data suggest profits are elusive for all but the very connected or very lucky.

Bike helmets shouldn’t be a requirement. How the health benefits of letting people ride helmet-free could outweigh the risks.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES:

US police are tracking license plates and creating massive databases of cars’ movements. In parallel, private companies are doing so also.

The global diaper production chain goes through a chemical plant in Himeji, Japan. Global diaper manufacturing could be affected following a fire that shut down the factory, which makes 20% of the world’s supply of a key resin used in diaper production.

A new high school math textbook is being distributed for free. The book was written this weekend and requires reading knowledge of Finnish.

Pre-historic man went to the dentist. Remains of a man living 6,500 years ago appear to show a beeswax tooth filling.

ALSO TODAY:

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at the Economic Club of Indiana.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, Golden Week traditions, and questions for Bernanke to hi@qz.com.

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