Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Airbus scores in Japan, hedge funds bargain-hunt in Greece, Gates invests in vegan meat

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What to watch for

The US shutdown enters week two. House Republicans are digging in their heels and demanding concessions over Obama’s signature healthcare plan—not just to end the shutdown, but to raise the debt ceiling. Asian and European markets were roiled by the impasse.

21 world leaders meet in Indonesia. The Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation is meeting in Bali to discuss how to boost growth in a down economy. US President Barack Obama won’t make it thanks to the shutdown; in his absence, China President Xi Jinping is taking care of business.

Tech bidders want a piece of BlackBerry pie. The company’s board is considering alternatives to taking the company private, with Google, SAP and Cisco among the interested buyers, according to Reuters.

The Supreme Court returns. The justices are set to tackle hot button issues like affirmative action, campaign finance, government-sanctioned prayer, and abortion clinic protests.

While you were sleeping

Airbus inked a landmark deal with Japan Airlines. The $9.5 billion order for 31 jets breaks Boeing’s long-running dominance over the Japanese market; its 787 Dreamliner has been hit by numerous delays and groundings.

China warns off rivals. The country said the US, Japan, and Australia shouldn’t use their alliance as an excuse to intervene in territorial quarrels over islands in the East China and South China Seas.

Burberry sees trouble ahead. CEO Angela Ahrendts said China’s slowdown and lower sales of luxury items could be the “new normal.

World Bank slashed its Asia forecasts. The development bank expects growth in China and developing countries in East Asia to increase 7.1% this year and 7.2% in 2014, versus 7.8% and 7.6% previously, citing China’s slowdown and lower commodity prices.

The US captured a long-time al Qaeda suspect. Abu Anas al-Libi, wanted for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Africa, was apprehended this weekend in Libya. He is being interrogated on a Navy ship in the Mediterranean.

Demonstrations in Egypt turned violent. Supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi clashed with security forces on the 40-year anniversary of the country’s last war with Israel, leaving at least 50 dead.

Investors are bargain hunting in Greece. US hedge fund manager John Paulson and a crew of others are investing in a number of Greek banks that shaped up after the country’s crippling financial crisis.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on the $1.2 billion New York start-up you’ve probably never heard. “Selling databases is by no means a sexy business, which is why you may not have heard of MongoDB. But databases are the lifeblood of corporate IT departments. MongoDB, whose name is derived from the word ‘humongous,’ has been quietly chipping away at database king Oracle’s stranglehold on the sector with an open-source version of its technology.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Dogs are people, too. MRI scans show striking similarities in the brains of canines and humans.

Spotify hurts musicians. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke says the streaming music service is “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse.”

“Gravity” is a fine movie. But its script kowtows to Chinese ticket buyers.

The US should merge with its northern neighbor. The US and Canada should become one to fend off an economic takeover by China and Russia.

Robots have nothing on humans.  Even the most cutting-edge robotic contraptions are a far cry from the dominating intelligent machines that inspire needless technophobia.

Surprising discoveries

Chinese doctors get no respect. Physicians are poorly paid and subject to frequent assaults by unhappy patients.

North Korea is about to open a huge ski resort. Just 0.02% of the country skis.

Shutdown scraps Klan rally. The Ku Klux Klan scheduled an event at a Civil War battlefield, but the federal park was closed.

Gates wants in on fake meat. The Microsoft chairman invests in a “vegan meat” company.

The sun used to be a lot cooler. It wasn’t even warm enough for life when life began.

Working through lunch is good for you. Socializing with coworkers at lunchtime can lead to higher levels of fatigue.

Google wants to handle your dinner bill. The company filed for a patent on a product that will help patrons split the check at restaurants.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, fake meat and check-splitting methods to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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