Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Chinese growth, Australian bushfires, BlackBerry buyers, Beowulf

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What to watch for today

The (sustainable?) expansion of China’s economy. Forecasters expect that China’s economy grew at a 7.7% annualized rate in the third quarter, on track to meet the government’s 7.5% growth target, but still the slowest growth in 23 years.

GE’s flat earnings. The US industrial conglomerate is trying to shift away from its once-lucrative finance arms and into old-fashioned manufacturing, but for the time being its back-log of orders and low US demand are expected to leave it with a moribund quarter.

Bushfires continue to rage across Australia. Hundreds of fires are burning near Sydney, driving residents from their homes, and they’re not under control yet.

A partial lunar eclipse. The earth will move between the moon and the sun for the last time in 2013, with the best visibility (map) in Africa and Europe.

While you were sleeping

Lenovo will examine BlackBerry’s books. The Chinese tech manufacturer is sniffing around the troubled smartphone company. A purchase would be one of the largest deals between a Chinese and Western firm, if Lenovo can get around cyber-security concerns. Markets are skeptical.

Google had a record quarter. The company made $14.9 billion in revenue, mostly from its core business, ads on search. That means it can keep funding its blue-sky research, but casts doubt on its longer-term growth.

China will build a nuclear plant for the UK. Plans to a let a state company build and operate nuclear reactors in Britain are part of the government’s plan to cut the country’s dependence on carbon-based fuels.

Verizon’s big buyout looked smart. The US company borrowed $100 billion to take full control of its wireless network from the UK’s Vodafone, and its CEO thinks growth in smartphone use could make that a good bet—Verizon’s wireless revenue increased 8% last quarter.

SAC could wipe away its woes for a cool $1 billion. That’s the size of a proposed settlement with US prosecutors to resolve the insider-trading indictment against Steven Cohen’s lucrative hedge fund.

Quartz obsession interlude

Chris Mims on the giant coffee machine that could be the robot barista of the future. ”The Briggo coffee kiosk knows how to make a perfect coffee because it was “trained” by an award-winning barista, Patrick Pierce. He’s since left the company, but no matter: as in the techno-utopian Singularity, whose adherents believe that some day we will all upload our brains to computers, once a barista’s essence has been captured by Briggo, his human form is just a legacy system.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Does foreign aid hurt economic development? Assessing a provocative new book that says the charity of wealthy governments creates corruption without ending poverty.

How to create more competition in the audit business. The Big Four dominate—Deloitte has audited Procter & Gamble since 1890—but change could be on the way. 

Are currency markets flawed, or fraudulent? Why regulators around the world fear traders are manipulating exchange rates.

The renminbi will overtake the dollar within the decade. How China can oust the US currency even faster after the US debt ceiling debacle.

Surprising discoveries

Hard-luck Greece is importing millions in expensive furs. Turns out there’s a method to the mink-ness.

Google’s terms of service are harder to read than Beowulf. A computer told us so.

An HR manager blew up a whole sub-discipline of psychology. Some negativity about positive thinking.

China’s elegantly brutal response to the giant hornet problem. Kill them with fire!

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Beowulf translations and anti-hornet weapons to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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