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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Typhoon Wipha, one day to default, Apple’s taxes, knights fighting snails

  • Quartz
By Quartz

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Typhoon Wipha hits Japan. The “once in a decade” storm will make landfall, threatening further radioactive leaks from the shuttered Fukushima nuclear reactors.

A last minute scramble in Washington. With one day until the US government runs out of money, and as the Senate nears a bipartisan agreement to re-open government and lift the debt ceiling, House Republicans have injected new uncertainty by working to preempt it with a bill of their own that Democrats are likely to reject.

The new government in Germany. A decision on a coalition partner is expected from German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, who have been negotiating a potential grand coalition with the country’s Social Democrats. A deal could include support for hiking taxes or the minimum wage.

Kinder Morgan hopes to wrong-foot its doubters. Kinder’s earnings report today is an opportunity to answer its critics; the US energy firm saw its stock fall when a hedge fund urged clients to sell it short, sparking a furious debate about the analyst who made the call.

A bevy of financial sector earnings. Get a read on Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, American Express, US Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group, Piper Jaffray, and BlackRock.

While you were sleeping

Apple swiped Burberry’s China expertise. By hiring Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, Apple is gaining an executive who knows how to succeed in China, where just 5% of smartphone users own an iPhone.

Ireland announced plans to crack down on Apple’s tax scheme. By targeting “stateless” subsidiaries that don’t pay taxes, the country will gain plaudits, but Apple may simply start sending its money to tax havens like Bermuda.

The UK wooed Chinese banks. In a bid to spur foreign investment and trading in the renminbi, chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne announced plans to allow Chinese banks to open their own branches, backed by their own capital in the UK.

Citi was bopped by bond yields. Slowdowns in Citigroup’s consumer-lending and fixed-income businesses sapped its earnings, but it joined the trend of big banks boosting results with a forecast of fewer defaults on its loans.

The father of the gummi bear passed away. A brief history of Hans Riegel and his Gummibärchen.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on the deadly, potentially unstoppable jellyfish plague in the sea. ”Disturbances are happening all over the world. Throngs of jellyfish have disrupted power generation everywhere from Muscat to Maryland, from South Korea to Scotland. Things are worse in the fishing business, where blooms have wiped out billions of dollars in earnings over the last few decades. They’re also a nightmare for fishermen, who must contend with bursted nets and clogged trawl lines. Japan’s now-annual bloom of Nomura jellyfish, which each grow to be the size of large refrigerator, capsized and sank a 10-ton trawler when the fishermen tried to haul up a net full of them.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US default has already begun. Even if US politicians agree to pay the country’s bills in a timely fashion, the financial system has already been undermined.

Banks can save the US from default—and make a pretty penny doing it. In the spirit of the original JP Morgan, the financial services industry could fill the gap if government stops paying contractors, employees, and pensioners; the question is who will bear the cost.

OPEC doesn’t matter. The world’s foremost chronicler of the petroleum industry writes off the once-feared oil cartel.

Graphene isn’t living up to its promise. Sure, the ultra-light, ultra-strong material could enable nanotech, but it still costs $800 a gram and is still hard to tame.

Surprising discoveries

More Americans die from car pollution than car accidents. It’s your lungs that are getting run over.

Why medieval knights are always fighting snails. It’s a recurring theme in pictures in the margins of gothic manuscripts, and it’s either a visual pun or a reminder of the inevitability of death.

The first ever hashtag, @-reply and retweet. All key parts of Twitter’s business that were invented by its users.

What it looks like to jump from 128,000 feet up. The entire point-of-view film of Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking space jump a year ago.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, armored snails or miraculous nano-materials to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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