Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—US debt vote, JP Morgan’s fine, Oktoberfest economics, lovable robots

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What to watch for today

First punches thrown in the US debt-ceiling brawl. The House of Representatives will vote on a stopgap funding bill, meant to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1, that includes defunding president Barack Obama’s signature health-care law.  The Senate is almost certain to block the measure, and the White House has promised to veto it if not.

Raghuram Rajan takes center stage in India. In his first monetary policy meeting, the new central bank governor is expected to remove liquidity tightening measures put in place in July to support the rupee. The bank is however likely to keep benchmark rates unchanged at 7.25% to tame inflation.

While you were sleeping

JP Morgan got slapped with a $920 million fine. British and US regulators extracted fines and a rare admission of wrongdoing from the biggest US bank for last year’s $6 billion “London Whale” trading loss. They largely blamed the bank’s senior management.

Another trading glitch, this time at the NY Fed. A technological snafu at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s bidding system last week blocked a multibillion-dollar order for three-month Treasury bills from Goldman Sachs. The Fed was forced to make amends by manually allotting Goldman more T-bills than the bank had asked for.

Nokia’s CEO got $25.5 million for engineering its partial sale to Microsoft. Nokia will pay CEO Stephen Elop €18.8 million ($25.5 million) in compensation when he returns to Microsoft after the completion of the $7.2 billion deal.

US home sales hit a six-year high. Sales of previously-owned homes unexpectedly rose 1.7% in August to a 5.48 million annual rate, a sign that buyers were rushing to lock in mortgage deals before interest rates rose still further.

Don’t worry about our nukes, said Iran’s president. Hassan Rouhani told NBC News that his country would never develop weapons of mass destruction. Rouhani added that he had the complete authority to make a deal with the West over Tehran’s nuclear weapons program.

Pope Francis gave the Catholic church a telling-off. The pope said the church had become “obsessed” with preaching about divisive issues like abortion, homosexuality and contraception, and warned that its moral structure could “fall like a house of cards” unless it changed.

Quartz obsession interlude

Roberto A. Ferdman on the bizarre, rule-defying economics of beer at Munich’s Oktoberfest. “Dating all the way back to 1980, a 1% increase in beer prices at the event has, rather incredibly, corresponded with a 0.3% increase in demand. Oktoberfest beer, the report explains, falls into the category of what economists call a Giffen paradox, whereby the demand for and price of a good increase simultaneously.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Stop thinking of Apple and Google as competitors. They’re actually locked in a symbiotic embrace from which neither can escape.

A delayed “taper” is the last bit of help emerging nations will get from the Fed. They should learn to live without the US central bank’s extraordinary stimulus.

Banking without risk is impossible. The financial system depends on short-term money to fund longer-term investments, and it can never be made fail-safe.

Surprising discoveries

The Romans were nanotechnology pioneers. 1,600 years ago, they impregnated a jade-green glass with silver and gold particles to make it appear red when lit from behind.

Soldiers can fall in love with their robots. A study finds they get emotionally attached to bomb-disposal robots and occasionally even hold funerals for them.

Giving up $6.3 million for a clear conscience. A Spanish man who found a winning lottery ticket turned it in saying he wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if he claimed the prize.

The right body language can get you served first at a bar. Squeezing between customers, chatting with friends, and reading menus are definite no-nos.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ancient nanotech, and winning lottery tickets to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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