Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—US jobs report, G20 debates, Libor settlement, broadband for the moon

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What to watch for today

The all-important US jobs report. It could be the watershed event of 2013 for global markets. A strong reading would probably prompt the Federal Reserve to start scaling back its easy-money policies, unleashing a wave of economic ripple effects. Economists expect non-farm payrolls to rise by 180,000—possibly strong enough.

Consensus at the G20? World leaders in St Petersburg have been locked in a divisive debate over whether to bomb Syria’s military for its presumed use of chemical weapons against civilians. On a more harmonious note, the summit may issue a manifesto on how to stop corporate tax avoidance.

Spotlight on Smithfield Foods. The world’s largest pork producer should report improved earnings, but more importantly for investors, the US Justice department could okay its acquisition (paywall) by China’s Shuanghui International. Meanwhile activist hedge fund Starboard Value is trying to cobble together a rival bid.

Last day for Olympic lobbying. Diplomacy will reach a fever pitch as the 100 delegates of the International Olympic Committee prepare to choose the host city for the 2020 Olympics. Madrid is seen as the frontrunner; Tokyo’s chances have been marred by fears over radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant, while Istanbul’s hopes have been hit by currency woes and political unrest (paywall).

While you were sleeping

A close shave for Egypt’s interior minister. Mohamed Ibrahim survived an assassination attempt after a powerful bomb exploded near his convoy. Ibrahim, who has overseen the crackdown on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, warned that the attack was the start of a wave of terrorism.

Europe’s central banks left rates unchanged. The European Central Bank raised its 2013 growth forecast for the euro zone—or rather, reduced its contraction forecast. But president Mario Draghi warned that shoots of recovery that were “still very, very green.” The Bank of England kept rates at 0.5%, where they have been since March 2009.

ICAP could settle over Libor. The world’s largest broker of transactions between banks is reportedly in advanced talks with US and UK regulators investigating how the benchmark rate for hundreds of trillions of dollars worth of loans and securities was manipulated. British banks have paid some $2.5 billion in fines since the scandal broke last year.

More Snowden surveillance leaks. US and British intelligence agencies can circumvent many of the safeguards on communications and personal data by allying with tech companies to insert secret vulnerabilities in encryption software. But here’s how to stay safe.

JPMorgan will wind up its student loan business. The biggest US bank will stop making new loans in October. It’s become uncompetitive since the federal government started bypassing banks and lending directly to students.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on why this might be the dawn of a potentially catastrophic insurance bubble. “The worry is that new investors won’t understand the risks that accompany investing in insurance, and that they’ll invest far more money into it than they should. Individuals and companies—particularly those affected by disasters—do occasionally file claims en masse. Investors who become convinced that these investments aren’t that risky could be in for big losses.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

Why senior women are leaving Wall Street. The industry doesn’t value their attributes and gives preference to men.

Rigged or not, Bo Xilai’s trial is a sign of progress in China. The riveting, five-day trial in full public glare shows Beijing is moving towards transparent governance and rule of law.

Silicon Valley shouldn’t get all the credit for innovation. Governments have patiently nurtured wealth-creating technologies the world over.

You can train humans to be good people. A new education curriculum is trying to help high schoolers recognize situations that can lead to unethical behavior, and rise above them.

Let watches stay dumb. The wrist is a terrible place for a computer and the concept of an interactive watch is fundamentally unappealing.

Surprising discoveries

China’s language barrier. Nearly one-third of the country’s 1.3 billion citizens can’t speak Mandarin.

Broadband for the moon. NASA’s lunar orbiter will use laser pulses instead of radio waves to send high-bandwidth signals back to Earth.

Never leave your wallet in a cab again. A Tokyo-based taxi firm will install a camera system that sets off an alarm if passengers forget their possessions.

Hundred-thousand-dollar hot-dog carts. Some street-food vendors in New York City pay exorbitant license fees—the highest is $289,500 a year.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, laser pulses and hot-dog-cart licenses to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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