Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Vodafone-Verizon deal, China’s recovery, Obama’s Syria gamble, Greenland’s grand canyon

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

A $130 billion telecom deal gets good reception. The boards of Vodafone and Verizon reportedly plan to announce a deal for the UK company’s 45% stake in the No. 1 US wireless carrier. The deal could be announced anytime after the closing of the London stock markets.

China’s factories are stabilizing. The HSBC purchasing managers’ index, which focuses on small-and medium-sized firms in the private sector, is expected to have risen to four-month high in August. Official PMI data released Saturday showed that factory activity increased at the fastest pace in 16 months.

Italian investors have half a second to change their mind. Order changes and cancellations within a timeframe shorter than half a second will face a 0.02% tax (paywall). Market participants warn the new levy will hurt liquidity in the Italian market.

Lukewarm news on US Labor Day. Markets will be closed in honor of American workers, even as data shows that young people are not joining unions anymore and that despite productivity gains, wages are falling.

Over the weekend

Barack Obama reversed course on Syria. The US president halted what had seemed an inevitable move towards intervention in Syria, by seeking Congress’s approval on military force. This effectively puts any strike on hold at least till Sept. 9. Meanwhile, laboratory tests indicate sarin nerve gas was used in an Aug. 21 attack that killed more than 1,400 people.

China stepped up anti-corruption efforts. The Communist Party has launched a corruption investigation into Jiang Jiemen, the head of the commission that regulates state-owned companies. Jiang, who was the head of the corruption-tainted China National Petroleum Corporation till March, is the highest level figure to face such a probe since Xi Jingping took over last year.

Ikea can’t assemble this thing. New CEO Peter Agnefjall told the Financial Times (paywall) that the furniture maker would open only five stores this year and focus on investing more in existing outlets. This is a turnaround from outgoing chief executive Mikael Ohlsson’s pledge to open 20 to 25 stores a year.

Radiation levels spiked at Fukoshima. Radiation levels around the nuclear plant crippled by the 2011 tsunami have risen 18-fold. The radiation is now high enough to prove lethal within four hours of exposure.

Nelson Mandela was discharged from hospital. The former South African president’s condition remains critical, and he will continue to receive intensive care at his home.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on Tesla’s focus on oil-rich Norway as it looks beyond the US market. “Tesla’s focus on Norway comes from the same root as Norway’s fascination with electric vehicles: an incentive system so generous that it seems almost financially unsound to not buy one. … As a result, a Tesla Model S that is priced at $62,500 in the United States, costs only a little more—roughly $73,000—in Norway. Without the exemptions, it would cost more than $100,000.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Barack Obama’s Syrian gamble is risky. The US president is putting his credibility in the hands of two unpredictable powers: The Assad regime in Syria and the Republican party in the US congress (paywall).

Emerging markets are turbulent, but will land just fine. Once the Federal Reserve-inspired selloff subsides, these economies will again see investors seeking returns form growth and diversification.

Indian women won’t be safe until there’s law and order. Protests, sex education, and behavioral conditioning will not succeed unless the streets are well-policed and the courts are efficient.

Surprising discoveries

America’s cyber warfare. US spy agencies carried out 231 attacks in 2011 to infiltrate and disrupt foreign computer networks.

Greenland’s own Grand Canyon. Scientists have discovered a 750-kilometer (467-mile) long canyon beneath the ice sheet in northern Greenland.

Drink those blues away. A new study suggests that drinking a glass of wine a day can help prevent depression.

Nailing the art of protest. A group of Paraguayan bus drivers have nailed themselves to crosses to demand their jobs back.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, name suggestions for Norwegian electric cars, and examples of extreme protests to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.