Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition–Softbank, Scotland, iPad Mini

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Good morning Quartz readers!

What to watch for today:

Japan’s Softbank to announce a deal to buy 70% of Sprint Nextel. CNBC is reporting that Softbank has reached a $20 billion deal for the majority stake in the #3 US wireless carrier. Core to the deal for Softbank is getting access to wireless spectrum that can be used for future mobile services.

Quarterly earnings season gains steam in the US. Citigroup is among those reporting today. Almost 60% of the 34 S&P 500 companies that reported last week beat analyst earnings estimates, though the S&P 500 index fell 2.2% for the week. Companies have been actively guiding down investor expectations for the rest of 2012 and beyond, amid concerns about the weak economy.

An advance toward possible Scottish independence. UK Prime Minister David Cameron is expected in Edinburgh today to sign an agreement that would lead to a Scotland-wide referendum on independence from the UK, likely in 2014. About 40% of Scots supported leaving the UK in polls conducted earlier this year. Ahead of the referendum, they’ll need to weigh the chances that resource-rich Scotland could be more prosperous as an independent nation.

While you were sleeping:

The IMF wrapped up its Tokyo summit. Among the conclusions: rich countries are still in a hole, the not-so-rich countries have a growth hangover, and the countries at the bottom of the heap have further weakened. Quartz translated the IMF’s closing statement into plain English here.

Chairman Ben Bernanke defended the US Federal Reserve’s efforts to stimulate the economy. Critics have said the Fed’s actions weaken the dollar and thus hurt exports by other nations, but Bernanke speaking in Tokyo argued that a stronger US is good for the world.

Prices for the “iPad Mini” reportedly surfaced in the internal system of a German retailer. Apple is expected to unveil a smaller-screened iPad at an Oct. 23 press event. The leaked German information shows multiple version of the iPad Mini, priced starting at €249 ($323.) That would be higher than Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, which boasts what’s expected to be a similar size screen and costs €199 ($258.) Amazon last week said it is selling the latest Kindles at its cost, forgoing any profit on them in order to stimulate uptake and purchases of ebooks and other media.

Siemens sounded an alarm about slowing global economies. CEO Peter Löscher told the FT that he saw two more years of lackluster growth ahead, in part because of the subdued performance of developing economies. The German industrial company is preparing cost-cutting measures including layoffs to offset falling revenue.

New world record set for the highest jump. Felix Baumgartner, a skydiver and BASE jumper, rose to nearly 128,000 feet (39,000 m) in a capsule lofted by a balloon, and then successfully jumped to earth in a pressurized suit.

Quartz obsession interlude:

Simone Foxman on the latest twist in the Euro CrunchFAGE will relocate its headquarters to Luxembourg and CCH will go to Switzerland, hoping to avoid the volatile storm of debt and politics brewing in Greece. After CCH made that decision earlier this week, Fitch quickly lauded the company’s move, saying today that it ‘could mitigate the impact of a euro exit[,]…reflect its international status and improve its access to capital markets.’ While that agency qualified that not all companies would benefit from such a move, we can’t help but guess that it’s a move other companies might try.” Read more here.

Matters of debate:

Dubai’s plan to replicate the Taj Mahal is misguided romance. The Taj Arabia will cost $1 billion and be four times the size of the original monument.

New York to London in one hour is closer to reality. But such claims have a history of not materializing.

Austerity can backfire as a debt reduction strategy

Surprising discoveries:

More mathematical equations in a research paper = greater chance of winning a Nobel prize in Economics. Serious math nerds are in luck!

A plastic guitar created on a 3-D printer is said to actually sound good

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, and equation-filled Economics papers to

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