Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—New iPhones, Syria deal, furious Rousseff, cheating skyscrapers

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What to watch for today

Apple unveils two iPhones. The cheaper version, which could help Apple win customers in emerging markets like China, will have a plastic case and come in a variety of colors. The higher priced-model will be an improvement on the iPhone 5, and is expected to have a faster processor and a fingerprint sensor.

Glencore management faces investors. Trading in the commodity giant’s shares was suspended in Hong Kong in advance of an investors’ day in London, where Glencore’s bosses will give their first detailed presentation on the state of the company since its $46 billion acquisition of miner Xstrata.

More evidence of China’s recovery. Factory output is expected to have increased 9.9% in August, matching the pace of growth seen in the first couple of months of 2013. Fixed-asset investment data too should be robust, thanks to heavy government spending in the summer.

South Africa to face deficit pressure. The current-account gap for the second quarter is expected to have widened to 6.1% of GDP from the 5.8% in the previous period. The widening deficit will increase pressure on the South African, which has lost over 15% of its value this year.

A verdict in India’s high-stakes gang rape case. A jury in Delhi will decide on the guilt of four men accused of the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus last December. The case has drawn international attention, sparked protests across India and triggered a national debate about the treatment of women.

The Frankfurt International Motor Show opens. The spotlight in the annual automotive extravaganza will be on hybrids, concept vehicles and SUVs (paywall).

While you were sleeping

Erna Solberg swept to victory. Norway’s general election was won by Solberg’s Conservatives, though by how much is not yet clear. The party will likely have to enter into a coalition with the right-wing anti-immigration and anti-tax Progressive Party.

Dilma Rousseff hit the roof. Already angry at revelations that the US National Security Agency had spied on her own communications, Brazil’s president is now apoplectic following reports on Sunday that the NSA had also hacked into the networks of foreign companies including Brazil’s Petrobras.

Glimmer of a settlement over Syrian chemical weapons. Syria’s government welcomed a Russian suggestion that it put its chemical weapons under international control. The US too appeared open to the idea and may opt out of military action if Moscow follows through. Barack Obama is to deliver a nationally-televised speech on Syria today.

The Nasdaq hit a 13-year high. Over 70% of companies trading on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange closed higher on Monday as global investor sentiment improves and the world’s big economies release positive data.

Verizon may set a bond sale record. The US telecoms company will pitch bonds to investors (paywall) as part of its $130 billion acquisition of Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless, their joint venture. The sale looks likely to surpass even Apple’s $17 billion record in April and may be priced as soon as Wednesday.

Koch Industries moved into electronics with a $7.2 billion purchase. The holding company controlled by the billionaire Koch brothers will buy Molex, a fiber-optics supplier for companies like Apple.

Twitter made its largest acquisition to date. The social network bought MoPub, a mobile advertising company (paywall); that should improve its ability to make money through mobile advertising in advance of a highly anticipated IPO.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on why India might have to open up its e-commerce market if it wants easier US visas. “When Barack Obama welcomes Manmohan Singh to the White House on Sept. 27, the Indian prime minister will voice his concerns over the US immigration bill. In its present form, the bill makes it much more difficult for Indian tech companies to get the visas they need to bring workers into the United States. Obama will listen. But if Singh wants his way, India might also try ceding some ground. It explicitly prohibits foreign direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce, though it’s opening up the market to foreign companies operating brick-and-mortar stores.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Germany is a vegetarian in a world full of carnivores. The country’s political debate is peculiarly parochial considering that it is the leading power in Europe (paywall).

How secure will the new iPhone’s fingerprint recognition be? Some fingerprint readers can be fooled with just a good photocopy.

Even if tipping is a waste of time and money, it’s here to stay. The custom has gone through peaks and troughs, but the war against it is futile.

Political compulsions could derail Abenomics. Powerful interest groups could stymie Shinzo Abe’s ability to introduce consumption-tax hikes.

Surprising discoveries

44 of the world’s 72 tallest buildings are cheating. Architects are adding “vanity height” that serves no purpose except to cross the “supertall” threshold.

Revenge of the geeks. A report shows that classic cars, rare stamps and coins are better luxury investment bets than art, wine, and jewelry.

How to tell what kind of dad a man will be. Men with smaller testicles participate more in parenting duties like nappy-changing and feeding.

A forgotten Van Gogh painting rediscovered. The work, entitled “Sunset at Montmajour,” was considered a fake, stored in an attic and then held in a private collection.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, broccoli for Angela Merkel and unidentified potential masterpieces to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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