Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—The daring Dow, global toilet troubles, African optimism, email apnea

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What to watch for today

Nokia at the crossroads. Shareholders of the Finnish tech company will vote today on whether to approve Nokia’s deal to sell the majority of its cellphone unit, as well as licenses to its patents, to Microsoft for $7.2 billion. Separately, Microsoft holds its annual general meeting, where it could face questions on its Nokia purchase and drop hints about its hunt for a new CEO.

A better Best Buy. Investors will be watching Best Buy’s same-store sales growth this quarter, after they dropped 0.4% in the last quarter. If those turn around in the third quarter, expectations will rise for its pinnacle moment: the holiday season.

EasyJet flying high. Shrugging off the woes of its budget competitor Ryanair, the British airline is set to report pre-tax earnings growth of around 50% this year, with revenues-per-seat up 6%, thanks partly to strong summer bookings.

World Toilet Day. This year marks the United Nations’s first official day to draw attention to the global sanitation crisis. A third of the world’s population—2.5 billion people—still don’t have access to a toilet, and poor sanitation costs countries up to 7% of their GDP.

While you were sleeping

The Dow climbed a wall of worry. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose past 16,000 for the first time, while the S&P 500 touched 1,800 before slipping slightly. The stock markets were bolstered by Boeing, whose share price climbed 2.1% after strong airplane orders at the Dubai Air Show.

Chile mulled its new president. Michelle Bachelet, the center-left candidate and former president of Chile, won the first round of Chile’s presidential election with 47% of the vote. She will rival center-left candidate Evelyn Matthei, who took 25% of the vote, in a second round in December.

JPMorgan accepted its lashings. JPMorgan agreed to take financial responsibility (paywall) for the actions of Washington Mutual, saying it wouldn’t try to claim back any costs related to its mid-crisis purchase of the fund. The US Department of Justice’s settlement with JP Morgan is expected to total $13 billion—its biggest ever with a single company.

…and so shall MF Global. A US federal court ordered MF Global to pay out more than $1 billion to customers harmed by the fund’s collapse—which lost $1.6 billion of client money—as well as an additional $100 million settlement with US regulators.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Pasick on China and bitcoin’s love affair. “China and bitcoin are an ideal match for a host of reasons. In particular, bitcoin appeals to Chinese investors who cannot freely trade the renminbi because of government regulations, and the hype has been fanned by positive state-run media reports about the currency—even after the collapse of a trading platform called Global Bond Limited, which turned out to be a swindle, as the New York Times reported today. There also aren’t many places yet to spend bitcoins in China, although online search firm Baidu accepts them, along with a Shanghai real estate developer.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Why no bankers go to jail. US attorneys have other priorities and would rather rack up smaller, easier cases with higher chances of success.

Obamacare’s failure is a myth. The numbers show that its beneficiaries greatly outnumber its victims.

Can vegetarian meat save the world? Western meat consumption needs to be cut by half, and artificial meat could be the answer.

Don’t glamorize the new normal. The depression-like conditions of the last few years could be around for decades (paywall).

People are courting natural disasters. As the global population continues to grow, more people are moving to cities along coastlines, putting themselves in harm’s way.

Surprising discoveries

At least someone’s hopeful. Africans are more optimistic than any other region in the world about the power of politics, business and media to deal with global challenges.

Email apnea. Around 80% of people stop breathing while they type.

Female architecture. Phallic buildings are nothing new, but the design for Qatar’s new World Cup stadium has been likened to a vagina.

Facebook for the dead. It’s a website where people can log gravestones in memory of the deceased.

Your dinner, brewed. Your coffee maker has more to offer in the kitchen than you might think.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, breathing techniques and coffee machine recipes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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