Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Israel-Palestine talks, Perrigo-Elan tie-up, Apple supplier’s alleged labor abuses

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What to watch for today

Israel and Palestine go back to the negotiating table. For the first time in three years, the two sides will resume peace talks in Washington on Monday evening, largely thanks to the efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry. The last of many preconditions was met on Sunday when Israel released 104 Palestinian prisoners.

Japan dispatched an envoy to patch up ties with China. Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki will visit Beijing on Monday and Tuesday in an attempt to improve relations between the two Asian giants, particularly over territorial disputes. Saiki’s visit could precede a summit between the two countries’ leaders.

Europe weighed in on Egypt’s crisis. The EU’s foreign minister, Catherine Ashton, will plead for calm on Monday from Egyptian authorities. At least 70 people were gunned down by security forces over the weekend and interim president Adly Mansour prepared for a further crackdown.

A crisis meeting in India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will discuss the falling rupee, rising current-account deficit, and slowing growth with industry leaders.

A magic pill for profits?  US-based nutritional supplements seller Herbalife is expected to post robust earnings despite hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s continued claims that the company is a Ponzi scheme.

Over the weekend

China commissioned a debt audit to tally how much money is owed by all levels of government, from villages up to central authorities—and figure out which Chinese cities might end up like Detroit.

Kuroda supported a controversial tax policy. Japan’s central bank chief said that he is not concerned that the country’s economy would suffer from a doubling of the sales tax rate to 10% next April. However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is reportedly considering alternatives to the tax, according to Reuters.

Apple supplier’s alleged labor abuses. A workers rights group said Pegatron, which makes one-third of the world’s iPhones and iPads, routinely flouts Chinese law and Apple’s own guidelines.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed warned that oil demand was “in continuous decline.” In a public letter to Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, the prince said Saudi needs to reduce its dependence on oil exports as the US turns to home-made shale gas.

A Mad Men merger. New York-based Omnicom and Paris-based Publicis, the second- and third-biggest ad firms respectively by revenue, will merge to create the world’s largest advertising holding company with a market value of $35.1 billion. The deal is being pegged as a “merger of equals,” in part to appease antitrust regulators.

US generic drug-maker Perrigo bought Irish rival Elan. The deal, worth $8.6 billion, will give Perrigo access to Ireland’s preferential tax system and end a saga in which Elan rejected three hostile takeover attempts from the US investment company Royalty Pharma.

A strong formula. Yogurt and baby milk maker Danone reported better that expected earnings on strong demand from China and better Europe figures, though the company declined to comment on how price cuts triggered by a Chinese probe into baby formula price fixing will affect future business.

Boeing requested inspections of an airplane component.Airlines have been asked to check on equipped Honeywell International emergency beacons, one of which is thought to have started a fire on a parked Dreamliner 787 aircraft two weeks ago.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why US banks may get bigger if Larry Summers is chosen as the US Federal Reserve chairman. “He points out that some of the highest-profile financial failures of the crisis—Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers—were individual Wall Street investment banks. In other words, they would have been allowed to exist even before Gramm-Leach-Bliley was enacted. ”If you look at the big failures, Lehman and Bear Stearns were both standalone investment banks,” he told a British interviewer back in early 2012. ”Perhaps if they had been combined with banks they would have been in a more healthy situation.”  Read more here.

Matters of debate

God doesn’t know everything. We are cognitively biased toward believing that deities know the most about our interactions with others.

Online education can be good or cheap, but not both.Low pass rates and high drop-out rates show how hard it is to succeed without the labor-intensive side of teaching.

To lead the world, you have to be big. An eastward power shift is a main motivator for US/EU cooperation.

Chinese workers helped create the great recession. New wealth in the developing world fueled the bubble in the West.

Criticize Putin, but don’t support his rivals. It’s counterproductive to make governments believe that the west is out to replace them.

Surprising discoveries

Women in Poland are selling their babies. There could be as many as 2,000 illegal adoptions each year.

Scientists have grown an “in vitro” burger. The $385,000 delicacy—”said to be grey with a slippery texture“—will be served at a west London venue next week.

Lightning-fast computing. New materials to replace silicon could lead to computers thousands of times faster.

Hackers can control your Prius. They can make it brake hard at 80mph or even jerk it off the road.

A spinach gene could protect orange trees from an incurable disease. But convincing consumers may be hard work.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, odes to intelligent pigs and potential silicon substitutes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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