Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Asia market rout, US retail earnings, British press freedom, the start-up cheat sheet

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What to watch for today

A contagious rout? Asian stocks traded broadly lower Tuesday, triggering early jitters European markets and raising fears of a week of big losses.

US retail earnings under scrutiny. After muted earnings from Macy’s and Walmart last week, JC Penney is likely to add to the gloomBest Buy is expected to struggle in the face of growing competition from discounters and other online retailers, while Barnes & Noble is likely to post a loss. Home Depot may report higher earnings thanks to the US housing recovery.

The fallout from Miranda’s detention. British authorities defended their decision to detain the partner of a journalist who broke the NSA spying story, calling it ”legally and procedurally sound.” Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger disagreed in a provocative article describing the detention.

The UN hears North Korean defectors. A UN human rights panel will hear testimony from North Korean defectors in Seoul before moving to Toyko later in the week to hear evidence relating to the abduction of Japanese citizens by the isolated Kim dynasty.

Kodak to emerge from bankruptcy. A Manhattan court will review Kodak’s plan to pay off its creditors. The company has shed assets and operations, and now plans to focus (pdf) on its commercial-imaging business, which includes digital printers and motion-picture film.

While you were sleeping

A bad day for miners. Glencore Xstrata, the world’s biggest exporter of power station coal, reported a 39% decline in first-half profit, writing down $7.7 billion in assets from the company’s takeover of Xstrata three months ago. Meanwhile BHP Billiton said net profit dropped 30% (paywall) as commodity prices fell.

Musharraf faces a trio of charges. The former Pakistani president was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy to murder and facilitation of murder over the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

Muslim Brotherhood leader arrested. Mohammed Badie, the spiritual leader of Egypt’s angry opposition, was arrested in Cairo a day after a court ordered the release of the country’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

Bo Xilai’s son speaks out. In a statement published in the New York Times, Bo Guagua said he has been denied contact with both of his parents for the last 18 months, and that the trial against his father, which begins Thursday, will carry no “moral weight” if his well-being is being used by Chinese authorities to barter for testimony.

Fukushima leaks again. Tokyo Electric, the operator of Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, said that about 300 tons of highly-contaminated water leaked from a storage tank at the site.

Israeli troops raided a Palestinian refugee camp. Two Palestinians were injured and one killed as part of a raid in the occupied West Bank territory, which Israel said was an attempt to arrest a suspected militant. The raid was followed by protests and anger towards both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, further destabilizing peace talks that resumed last week.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why investors are fleeing emerging markets. “As the rip-tide of liquidity pours out of a country, it drives the value of the currency lower. That makes imports of crucial foreign products—such as energy—costlier. The surge in spending on imports worsens the current account deficit. That prompts still more worries about investing, setting off a further outflow of investor cash. The decline of the currency gets deeper. A spiral can ensue until you hit something known as a ‘sudden stop,’ which pushes a country into default.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Control without bloodshed: China’s India strategy. Subduing India, preferably without striking a blow, is a major objective of China’s border policy.

Cultural traditions do not excuse banks from breaking rules. A clearer line must be drawn between tradition and criminality (paywall).

Not everyone with cancer needs treatment. Improved detection methods may actually be putting a lot of people through trauma, unnecessarily.

Safe banks need not mean slow economic growth. New evidence shows higher bank capital does not necessarily make banks lend less (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

The ultimate cheat sheet for starting a business. What your lawyer would say, if you could afford one, without any of the legalese.

More is more. Overwhelming people with product options has little impact on sales, while offering a ludicrously expensive item can persuade people to buy the less expensive rip-off.

London calling. More than a quarter of new homes sold in the UK capital are being bought by Chinese investors, and 75% are purchased by foreigners (paywall).

A snowmobile called Loki. The Canadian military is testing a $620,000 stealthy snowmobile for Arctic operations, named after the Norse god.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, free start-up secrets and Norse god namesakes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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