Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Bank earnings, shutdown deal hopes, unveiling the Nobel Peace Prize winner

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What to watch for today

Bank earnings season begins. JP Morgan is expected to turn a tidy profit (paywall) despite a barrage of legal costs. Wells Fargo’s mortgage refinancing volume has dropped, but analysts still predict earnings per share to increase to 97 cents a share from 88 cents a year earlier, even as revenue falls slightly.

Shutdown: Day 11. President Obama rejected a GOP debt limit plan that would increase the government’s borrowing authority for another six weeks, but the GOP proposal raises the possibility that a deal could come as soon as Friday. World markets rallied on hopes that a resolution might be near.

Cyclone Phailin threatens India. The cyclone, which is half the size of the country, is on course to become the most intense storm ever recorded in India when it makes landfall on Saturday morning. India is evacuating people in low-lying areas on its eastern coast, where a 1999 storm killed more than 15,000 people 

Economic data due. Poland posts its August trade balance, Mexico releases industrial production figures for August, and Canada reports unemployment data for September.

While you were sleeping

A chemical weapons watchdog won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is supervising the destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal. The group beat out favorites such as Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani education activist, and Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege.

The US reassured the G20. According to Russia’s finance minister, US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told officials that Washington’s deadlock will be broken before the Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline.

Kenneth Bae’s mom is in North Korea to visit her ailing and imprisoned son, a missionary serving a 15-year prison term.

Edward Snowden’s dad is in Russia. He told reporters that his son deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for leaking NSA secrets.

Turkey’s jobless rate rose in July to 9.3% from 8.4% a year earlier, more than analysts expected.

Infosys earnings fell short. The Indian outsourcing giant posted second-quarter income of 24.1 billion rupees ($392.8 million), up a scant 1.7%. Narayana Murthy, the co-founder who recently came out of retirement to become executive chairman, raised the company’s full-year revenue guidance.

Google’s “Dutch sandwich” tax maneuver. Filings by one of Google’s Dutch subsidiaries showed the search giant routed $12 billion of royalty payments to Bermuda in 2012; the method enables Google to trim its overseas tax rate.

Quartz obsession interlude

David Yanofsky on nine corporations that have more cash than the US government right now. ”Republicans offered a deal today to temporarily raise the debt limit, but the saga has left the Treasury with just $32 billion in its operating accounts, less than is held by nine Standard & Poor’s 500 companies in cash and short-term investments. General Electric has nearly three times as much readily accessible cash as the US government right now.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

America is the new OPEC. Forty years after the group’s oil export embargo, the US is the world’s energy superpower.

There’s no such thing as being bad at math… What students really need is more math classes.

… And IQ isn’t fixed. Intelligence is trainable, especially if you keep learning new video games.

Analysts with an agenda. Many of the TV experts arguing for military action in Syria have financial ties to weapons companies.

A culture of confrontation is key to Amazon’s successAn opposing view: the culture of stress is burning out Amazon employees.

Germans love the European Union. Their trust in the euro has increased throughout the euro crisis, and confidence in EU institutions has recovered.

Surprising discoveries

The bird that never lands. New data shows that the alpine swift can stay aloft for as long as 200 days at a time.

Japan’s mobile, inflatable concert hall. The Arc Nova, which resembles a giant eggplant, can hold up to 500 people.

The shutdown’s hoppy victim. New craft breweries are unable to get approved when the government’s closed.

Do you want fries with your haute cuisine? McDonald’s encourages gourmet chefs to get creative with the company’s ingredients.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, microscopic cages, and kung pao chicken McNuggets to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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