Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US jobs report, G20 Syria wrangling, German exports fall, the world’s biggest boat

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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 will 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.

Apple sews up Asia. Ahead of its iPhone product launch next week, the US tech giant is on the verge of signing up the last remaining major mobile carrier in Japan, via a deal with NTT DoCoMo, and in China, via a deal with China Mobile.

G20 consensus? Not on Syria. World leaders in St. Petersburg are split down the middle in the divisive debate over whether to strike Syria’s military. Presidents Obama and Putin shared a chilly 15 seconds together; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly had a more cordial encounter.

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 Smithfield’s 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

German exports unexpectedly tumbled in Julydown 1.1% from the month before, defying sunnier expectations that the euro zone recovery was picking up. French consumer confidence had a moderate bump up in August; UK manufacturing output and trade deficit data missed expectations.

Iran’s contingency plan. Iran has ordered militants in Iraq to attack US interests (paywall) if Washington strikes Syria, the Wall Street Journal reports.

US drones hit another target in Pakistan. At least six people were killed in the Pashtun tribal region on Friday morning, according to local authorities. Repeated targeting of militants in the country has angered Pakistani opposition groups, who say that the attacks violate sovereignty and kill civilians.

Singapore became Asia’s foreign exchange king. Its central bank said the city state overtook Japan as FX trading volume soared around 44% in the last three years. In April, daily trading volume reached $383 billion, while average daily interest-rate derivatives trading reached $37 billion.

South Korea is banning Japanese fishing products. Taking no chances with the stubborn radiation leaks from the Fukushima power plant, South Korea has stopped all imports from eight Japanese prefectures, which last year accounted for 5,000 tonnes (5,511 tons) of produce.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on 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

The yuan standard is not yet upon us. China’s leaders want the prestige of an internationalized currency but without the consequences.

Quantum physics could save your life. The strange paradoxes of particles and waves could reshape medicine through inventions like needle-free injections.

India’s beleaguered economy is oversold. The populous developing behemoth may be slowing, but will still grow faster than other BRICS.

The one thing that hasn’t leaked about the new iPhone is the only thing that matters. The phone’s price will be instrumental to its success in developing markets.

Interning is the new retirement. The era of long vacation-style retirements is over, to be replaced by programs that connect private sector retirees with non-profits needing help and expertise.

Surprising discoveries

Twitter diplomacy by Iran. The new president and foreign minister wished Jews a happy Rosh Hashanah, and even refuted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denial.

The world’s biggest boat will be almost as long as the Empire State Building is high. It’s being built by Maersk and Daewoo and will weigh 55,000 tons when empty.

London’s “fryscraper” is now a tourist attraction. The building that melted a car draws crowds trying to fry eggs with its reflected sunlight.

Bashar al-Assad has an Instagram account. Its propaganda-heavy tone gives insight into the cloistered lives of Syria’s first family.

One of the solar system’s largest volcanoes is deep beneath the Pacific. Tamu Massif is 400 miles wide and covers an area the size of Britain and Ireland combined.

Your gut is making you fat. Stomach bacteria can result in obesity or slimness, which may also be useful in future treatments.

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