Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—US-Russia talks, Dell vote, EU roaming ban, doctor’s appointments

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What to watch for today

Thrashing out a solution for Syria.  US secretary of state John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov will meet in Geneva to discuss the Kremlin’s plan to disarm Syria of chemical weapons. Only then will the UN security council vote on a French proposal to give Syria a 15-day deadline for fessing up about what it has.

Indonesia’s currency crisis. The central bank is poised to hike benchmark interest rates for the fourth time this year to 7.5%, as part of its efforts to support the falling rupiah. South Korea and New Zealand are likely to leave rates unchanged.

The US economy chugs along. The federal budget deficit is expected to have fallen to $150 billion in August, while import prices likely rose 0.4% due to higher fuel prices. Weekly jobless claims are expected to hover around pre-recession levels. Industrial production data out of Europe is also likely to be positive (paywall).

Dell buys out Dell, at last. Shareholders are expected to approve the sweetened $25 billion buyout offer by the computer maker’s founder, Michael Dell, after activist investor Carl Icahn threw in the towel earlier this week.

While you were sleeping

All of Europe could become a local call. The European commission wants to ban mobile operators from charging roaming fees for incoming calls when customers travel in the 28-nation bloc starting July 2014, and end all roaming charges two years later.

Germany lost out as its neighbors’ recovered. The interest rates on German 10-year Bunds rose above 2% for the first time in two years, as a spate of positive economic data from the euro zone reduced demand for safe-haven assets.

Verizon paid a high price for its record debt sale. The US telecom giant reportedly paid a significant premium over prevailing US Treasury and corporate bond yields to raise the $49 billion it needs to fund its buyout of Vodafone’s 45% stake in their joint venture.

Southeastern took a 12% stake in News Corp. The asset-management company will become the second-largest shareholder in Rupert Murdoch’s publishing business, after acquiring Class B shares valued at $397 million. The investment translates to a 4.1% economic interest.

The NSA shares raw intel with Israel. The US spy agency gives Israeli intelligence intercepted communications without first screening out information about US citizens as it does for its own analysts, according to the latest documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on why Sweden wants homeowners to pay off their mortgages faster. “Fixed-rate ‘bottom loans’ cover up to 75% of a home’s value while a variable-rate ‘top loan’ is added on if borrowers need more. But for the bottom loan, they don’t have to pay off the principal as long as they keep paying the interest. So, once the pricier top loan is paid off, many Swedes simply pay the minimum interest due on their remaining debt. Forever.“ Read more here.

Matters of debate

Disarming Syria will be hard. Large numbers of foreign troops will be needed to protect the inspectors working in the midst of the civil war.

Emerging economies are on the brink of a lost decade. Rising interest rates, declining investment ratios and lower commodity prices will hurt growth.

What the New York mayoral election shows. Growing inequality will play a big part in upcoming elections around the US.

Hiring myths exposed. Analysis shows that job-hoppers, the long-term unemployed, social media-addicts, and ex-convicts are not bad hires.

Surprising discoveries

The most popular online classes aren’t what you’d expect. Yes, there’s coding and finance, but a lot of the most sought-after courses explore human thinking and behavior.

Use your finger as a loudspeaker. A new microphone from Disney allows users to record sounds and transmit them by touching another person’s ear.

Turning back time in cells. Scientists have reprogrammed adult mouse cells to become stem cells in live mice, raising hopes that organs could be prompted to repair themselves

Don’t go to the doctor at 10a.m. on a Friday. In the US, at least, that’s the most popular time for an appointment.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, online course ideas, and requests for a doctor’s appointment to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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