Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Obamacare inquiry, Spanish growth, BofA guilty, bras for men

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What to watch for today

An Obamacare inquiry begins. The first congressional hearing will be held into, which cost more than $400 million and has suffered technical problems since launching three weeks ago as the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s signature health-care law.

A big drugs deal. McKesson Corp, the largest US drug distributor by revenue, is expected to announce an offer to buy Germany’s Celesio AG, one of Europe’s largest distributors, valuing it at up to $7.6 billion. McKesson hopes to gain purchasing power with drug makers and get more clout in emerging markets (paywall).

Chinese and European manufacturing trends. Last month, China’s manufacturing PMI from Markit/HSBC—a sign of economic strength—rose very slightly but missed expectations. Another disappointing month could dampen hopes of China’s return to rapid growth. Euro-zone PMI, which dipped last month after August’s 26-month high, is also out today.

A bevy of corporate earnings. Microsoft might reveal details about its search for a new chief executive and its strategy for competing with Apple and Google. Amazon is expected to post another profit loss but that doesn’t seem to bother anybody—its revenues are still on the rise. Also reporting are Zynga, 3M, Ford, Hyundai, Daimler, América Móvil, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, Altria and Dow Chemical.

While you were sleeping

Spain kicked the recession. GDP grew 0.1% from the previous quarter, according to preliminary data, which means Spain emerged from its two-year slump—its second recession since 2008.

The SEC proposed crowdfunding rules. If approved, the rules—a requirement of the 2012 JOBS Act—will allow entrepreneurs and start-ups to raise money from the general public over the internet. Currently, private companies may solicit money only from people with a certain level of wealth.

Some Australians can return home. The worst is over for the wildfires raging through New South Wales, and families in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney can now return home. Some schools will open Thursday, although the threat has not entirely abated.

Bank of America: guilty! A jury found the bank’s Countrywide Financial unit liable of civil fraud for defrauding two government-backed mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Damages have not yet been determined.

Belgium’s Breaking Bad. Police uncovered what is said to be the biggest synthetic drugs production site in the EU—in an old pig shed—which produced several hundred kilos of ecstasy a week. Five people were arrested.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how your McDonald’s dinner will cost you more because of climate change. ”Since 2011, rising temperatures across the United States have  led to drought conditions in cattle-ranching states like Texas and Oklahoma. Ranchers have had to cull herds facing limited pasture and pay more for feed, leading to fewer, more expensive cattle on the market. When cattle cost more, so does ground beef.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Financial institutions should be allowed to fail. Opposing reforms because they “wouldn’t have prevented Lehman Brothers from going bust” misses the point.

TED talks are lying to you. Their anecdotes and examples about innovation and creativity are themselves formulaic, repetitive and uncreative.

The West has become the global norm. Globalization is not an economic event—it’s a psychological phenomenon showing the developed West’s values have become accepted around the world.

Bet on China’s children. Forget the real-estate and pollution bubbles, and instead focus on China’s deep commitment to high quality education.

Stop being scared of genetically modified foods. They can feed the world’s growing population (paywall) and protect the environment, and they’ve caused no health problems in two decades.

Surprising discoveries

Cash is coated in cocaine. So much so that the US Drug Enforcement Administration has stopped bothering to test $50 and $100 bills for traces.

Danes will be able to vote at McDonald’s. To combat low turnouts, the fast-food chain will help promote next month’s local government election by hosting polling stations.

Chaiman Mao invented “traditional” Chinese medicine. It was part of a gigantic propaganda campaign for the benefit of both China and the West.

Ja Rule is releasing a microwave cookbook. During his almost-two-year stay behind bars, the American rapper learned to cook using a microwave to avoid pesky prison meals.

Men wear bras, too. A new confidence-boosting undershirt reshapes skinny arms and man-boobs into bulging biceps and sculpted pecs.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, microwave recipes and body-sculpting underwear to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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