Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Japan’s inflation, Italy’s budget, stock-exchange glitches, termite poop

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What to watch for today

Japan celebrates more inflation. Consumer prices are likely to have increased 0.7% year-on-year in August, marking the third straight month of increases. That’s a sign that the Bank of Japan’s economic stimulus is working; it will keep buying bonds until annualized inflation hits 2%.

Americans celebrate more spending. US consumer spending probably rose 0.3% in August, making it the fourth consecutive month of increase. The consumer sentiment index for September is also expected to be revised higher, a promising sign as holiday shopping season gets under way.

Italy wrestles with its budget deficit. The government coalition will try to work out how to keep the deficit under the EU’s ceiling of 3% of output without raising the sales tax. Silvio Berlusconi’s party has threatened to bring down the coalition if the tax rise goes into effect in October as planned.

US wrestles with just having a budget. The Senate could pass a spending bill today to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1, having stripped out provisions put in by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives that would defund Obamacare. But the Republicans say they won’t sign off on the bill.

The UN’s latest, greatest word on global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release its sum of all knowledge on the subject. Leaked drafts have said that sea levels could rise higher than previously thought and it’s more certain that humans are the main culprits.

While you were sleeping

JP Morgan’s CEO came calling on the government. The meeting between Jamie Dimon and US attorney-general Eric Holder comes amidst talks of a possible $11 billion settlement of criminal and civil charges, which would be the largest single-bank payout in the history of financial regulation.

Stock exchange rivals may team up against glitches… NYSE and Nasdaq are reportedly working (paywall) on a plan to back up each other’s stock pricing data, so as to give traders access to information even if one of the exchanges breaks down.

…While Knight Capital’s glitch will cost it another $12 million. The trading firm that was acquired by Getco Holding is nearing a $12 million settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the software problem that led to a flood of unintentional orders in August last year, losing Knight $461.1 million.

EBay paid $800 million to invigorate PayPal. The e-commerce giant acquired Braintree, a payments start-up, which it will combine with PayPal. Braintree, whose clients include Uber and Airbnb, also owns Venmo, an app that lets people pay each other through text messages.

Quartz obsession interlude

Allison Schrager and Ritchie King’s step-by-step guide to making a profit off the hike in US postage-stamp prices. “Our plan is to buy 10 million stamps at $0.46 each and sell them at $0.48. The margins, of course, are small. If we buy 10 million stamps, spending $4.6 million, we’ll earn $200,000—a 4.3% profit. The good news is that you can buy up to 1 million stamps in a single order from the USPS, and pay a mere $1.75 in shipping (shipping is their business, after all).” Read more here.

Matters of debate

France shouldn’t try to repair its finances and reform its economy at the same time. The government should forget about deficit targets, but stabilize spending and forego tax hikes.

Raghuram Rajan alone cannot save India’s economy. The government must play its part and address low productivity, inadequate infrastructure, and bureaucratic delays.

Organ donations should be mandatory. Voluntary donations aren’t enough to meet demand, while paying donors makes the poor more likely to sell bits of themselves.

The myth of executive stress. Top people can still control their own lives. Those lower down are not that fortunate.

For life-changing opportunities, manage your inbox. When everyone wants a piece of you, prioritize whom you help: those who help others.

Surprising discoveries

Giant hornets are killing dozens of people in China. And they’re spreading further worldwide too, because of climate change.

Clandestine cell-phone surveillance is big business in the US. Meet the machines that make it happen.

The termite-poop force field. Termite feces act as a natural antibiotic that protects them against biological efforts to exterminate them.

Rule #1: Don’t kill her. Alarmed by a rise in “femicide”, some Italian schools are teaching high school boys how to fight the urge to hurt their girlfriends.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, giant hornet sightings, and advice for schoolboys to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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