Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Microsoft and Minecraft, lionfish, Formula E, zinc

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

France hosts conference on jihadists. The summit, jointly hosted by French President Francois Hollande and Iraqi President Fuad Masum, gathers 20 countries to discuss how to tackle ISIL. Iran is not invited. Several Arab countries already have offered to carry out airstrikes against ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

It can’t go any worse than Windows 8. Microsoft is poised to announce the $2.5 billion purchase of Mojang, the Swedish developer behind the giant game Minecraft, which has sold 54 million copies. The game is the top paid app in iOS and Android, the two biggest mobile operating systems.

A takeover battle is brewing. Watch the share prices of SABMiller and Heineken. SAB has approached Dutch brewer with a proposed buyout. Bloomberg reported that the offer would help Heineken “defend itself” against a potential bid by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest beer-maker by sales. Heineken already has rejected SABMiller’s initial overtures, though.

Monday’s economic data. Figures on US industrial production and the euro zone trade balance are revealed. The latest monthly report on UK house prices from Rightmove will show just how much London property prices are lifting the country’s real estate market.

Over the weekend

Russia continued “humanitarian aid” deliveries into Ukraine. Russia sent 220 trucks across, saying they contained 1,800 tons of aid. Only 40 were checked by Russian’s border guard before being waved through, and none by the Red Cross or Ukrainian officials. The week-long ceasefire holds but remains shaky, with Kiev saying its forces repelled an attack by Russian-backed separatists on Donetsk’s airport.

Liberia asked for US help with its Ebola outbreak. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s president, called on the United States for aid to add new hospital beds and to set up a military hospital before the viral outbreak overwhelms the country’s healthcare system.

What’s in a word? Despite John Kerry insisting it was merely a “major counterterrorism operation,” White House and Pentagon spokespeople firmly described its attacks on ISIL as a “war.” The UK haven’t declared it a war—despite Prime Minister David Cameron saying Britain would take “whatever steps are necessary” to avenge the murder of aid worker David Haines, who was beheaded at the weekend.

Pope Francis married couples who were living together. The leader of the Catholic faith presided over the marriage of 20 couples at the Vatican, including couples already living together and a single mother with a daughter from a previous relationship. His predecessor Benedict, the current Pope Emeritus, never married anyone at the Vatican.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how a killing-machine fish has colonized reefs from Venezuela to Rhode Island. “In 1985, someone released 10 or so female lionfish in south Florida waters. DNA analysis traces the entire Atlantic population back to those females. And it’s an extensive lineage. In less than three decades, lionfish have colonized a swath of the Atlantic Ocean that’s roughly the size of the US.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Authors are using the web to build bigger followings. This has led to a book review revamp.

Formula E is already more of a sport than Formula One. It has a level playing field for drivers.

We should all take a bit of lithium. It could lead to fewer suicides and less dementia.

Weak growth threatens European elites. And it reduces the legitimacy of democracy.

Surprising discoveries

It costs 1.6 cents to make one penny. Blame the rising price of zinc.

Most Jews in New York will be Orthodox inside a generation. And that means more conservative viewpoints.

Floyd Mayweather has now been undefeated for 18 years. He plans to retire in 2015.

Switzerland distinguishes between public and private corruption. Perhaps that’s why 30 sports bodies are based there.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pet lionfish, and lumps of zinc to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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