Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Apple earnings, JP Morgan’s settlement snag, quarter-mile-wide asteroid, tech-induced illness

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What to watch for today

Apple’s record earnings. This quarter’s earnings for Apple will include the new iPhone 5S and 5C, of which an unprecedented 9 million were sold on their opening weekend. Analysts are expecting a record fourth-quarter for the tech giant.

Phone hacking trial, finally. The first trial for the phone-hacking scandal that shut down Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World begins today. Among the eight defendants called to London’s Old Bailey court will be Rebekah Brooks, the former tabloid executive, and Andy Coulson, who was David Cameron’s director of communications.

Iran’s nuclear negotiations. Expert representatives from Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency will meet in Vienna to begin talks about Tehran’s nuclear program. The two sides have clashed over whether Iran’s nuclear capabilities are strictly part of a civilian defense program or not.

Poor US home sales. After declining for a second consecutive month in September, existing home sales are expected to continue this slump in October’s figures, damping hopes of an economic recovery led by the housing sector.

Over the weekend

Syria listed its weapon inventory. As part of the international agreement to destroy its arsenal, the Syrian government submitted details of its chemical weapons stockpiles two days ahead of schedule. Washington, D.C. estimates that Assad’s military has about 1,000 metric tons of deadly gases and nerve agents.

Twitter tested the market. The New York Stock Exchange did a trial run of Twitter’s upcoming flotation in a bid to avoid the glitches that plagued Facebook’s IPO in 2012 and could cost the Nasdaq $41.6 million. The NYSE was checking to see that it could handle the traffic demands and send prompt order reports.

Argentina’s midterm elections. The current president, Cristina Fernandéz de Kirchner, could suffer in an election that decides who fills half the seats in congress and a third the seats in the senate. Kirchner has been unable to campaign while recovering from an operation earlier this month.

Stalemate in the Czech Republic. An election designed to end months of political turmoil failed to produce a clear winner when the Social Democrats claimed just over a fifth of the vote, which isn’t enough to form a government. The center-right former ruling party took only 7.7% of the vote.

Settlement snag for JP Morgan. The US Justice Department is opposing JP Morgan’s request to make the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp liable for part of its record $13 billion payment, which could delay the bank’s move to bring an end to the civil claims over its sales of mortgage bonds.

McDonald’s pulled the plug on Heinz. After a 40-year-long relationship, the fast food chain will stop serving Heinz ketchup in its stores because the condiment king’s new chief executive, Bernardo Hees, used to run Burger King.

Quartz obsession interlude

Eric Holthaus on what would happen if the quarter-mile-wide asteroid hurtling through space hit Earth, and you survived it. “The crater would be about twice the width of Manhattan, and about as deep as the newly constructed Freedom Tower in New York is tall. More than one hundred million cubic meters of rock would be instantly vaporized on impact. The shaking produced would be equivalent of a 7.0 earthquake. If you were standing about 60 miles (100 km) from the impact site, within two minutes you’d be pelted with debris up to about two inches in size. Within five minutes, the air blast generated by the heat of the impact would create hurricane force winds, shattering your windows.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Amazon is playing the long game. The retail giant could easily turn a quarterly profit but instead Amazon is biding its time in order to achieve world domination.

No end in sight for the euro zone crisis. Don’t be fooled by growth in Spain’s exports or the fall in Greek wages: the rising euro offsets any improvements (paywall) in the European economy.

High school should last for six years. Students at American schools focused on technology training, learn with a corporate mentor, graduate with an associates degree and are guaranteed a job at IBM.

Cinemas are their own worst enemy. Now that exclusive movie content is available on internet streaming services, movie theaters must amp up the experience they give customers or risk losing them.

The disc drive is on its deathbed. Apple first axed the disc drive with its MacBook Air in 2008 and has continued to tinker with its ports ever since.

Surprising discoveries

Technology is making us ill. Apple’s new operating system made some people feel queasy—but tech gadgets can also mess with our sleep, our skin and our mind.

Everyone is playing hooky. One-third of people who take sick days are not ill. Excuses include false teeth flying out the car while driving on the highway, a heavy turkey dinner, and a fake eyeball falling out of its socket.

Homer Simpson is a math genius. Episodes of The Simpsons are full of mathematical jokes, hidden shout-outs to classic number theories and other nerdy delights.

Bee-dinopocalypse. There was a widespread extinction of bees around 66 million years ago—around the same time that dinosaurs died out.

Hacking defibrillators is highly unlikely. The real security threat with electronic medical devices and hospitals is malware.

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