Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—UN climate summit, iPhone sales record, Tesco’s big mistake, Yahoo for free

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What to watch for today

Is China slowing down? HSBC will publish its Chinese manufacturing activity numbers today, indicating whether or not the country’s factories are running at full tilt. Investors across multiple continents are worried about a possible China slowdown; Australia’s currency is terrified.

The UN discusses climate change without two of the biggest culprits. China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi won’t attend the UN climate summit in New York (though lowlier officials will). Ahead of the summit, about 650 investors have promised to divest $50 billion from fossil fuels and put it into clean energy.

Cruises make a comeback. Carnival Cruise Lines reports earnings, and Wall Street is enthusiastic. Sales are expected to be up slightly on a year ago as the company continues to recover from its various disasters, and it’s looking to Asia for growth, with new sales offices planned in several countries.

Recriminations in Scotland, relief in England. Expect some fur to fly in Edinburgh as the Scottish parliament holds its first session since last week’s failed bid for independence; meanwhile, it’ll be interesting to see what Labor leader Ed Miliband has to say about it at the party’s annual conference in Manchester.

While you were sleeping

Apple broke another record. It took the company just three days to move 10 million new iPhones, and that’s despite not yet launching in China. Which model is flying off store shelves? The cumbersome 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, much to everyone’s surprise.

Ukraine joined hands with Poland and Lithuania. The three countries signed an agreement in Warsaw to form a joint brigade of 3,700-4,700 troops—most of them Polish—to strengthen regional security. Given the continued fighting despite a notional ceasefire, Ukraine may need all the help it can get.

Tesco copped to a big accounting mistake. The UK’s largest grocer admitted to overstating first-half profits by £250 million ($408 million), after an already weak year. Four executives including the company’s UK managing director have been suspended.

Merck took another step away from drugs. The German pharma giant bought US chemical firm Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion. Merck hasn’t brought a major new drug to market since 2003 and is looking to diversify as other companies become more focused in specific areas of pharmaceuticals.

The SEC made someone very rich. The US financial regulator announced a $30 million reward—double the 2013 record of $14 million—to a tipster who helped it uncover a “difficult-to-detect” fraud. It’s the 14th such award since the SEC launched its program two years ago, and the fourth to someone outside the US.

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Frommer really likes the iPhone 6 Plus. “For the past two years, since the iPad mini launched, I’ve wanted to take it everywhere. But to my frustration, that just hasn’t happened. It’s too big for most pockets, and it feels silly to carry a backpack around just for an iPad mini. My hope for the iPhone 6 Plus was that it would be an iPad mini that I don’t need a bag for. And so far, that’s exactly what it has been.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’s not Uber’s job to take care of its drivers. If governments are failing to provide for their people, it’s not big business that should pick up the slack.

Germany was right to spend billions of euros on becoming green. Sometimes subsidies are just what’s needed to make change happen.

Companies need to give staff a better reason to be managers. Most people surveyed don’t want the extra responsibility.

Apple’s new headquarters will be the greenest building on the planet. At least that’s what Tim Cook claims.

Alibaba could buy Yahoo for free. All that’s in the way would be Yahoo’s wounded pride.

Surprising discoveries

Google has finally caved. You’re no longer forced to make a Google+ account when creating a new Google account.

Sheryl Sandberg is now a comic-book heroine. The Facebook COO joins Mother Teresa and Michelle Obama among women being profiled in a series of comic-book mini-biographies.

Eating artificial sweeteners may not save you from diabetes. Though they don’t contain calories, your body may still react to them the way it reacts to real sugar.

Eating criminal evidence may not save you from jail. A man who wrote stock tips on bar napkins and then chewed them up was convicted of insider trading all the same.

A kindergarten teacher took on the state of Florida. She refused to give small children standardized reading tests, and the state agreed to scrap them.

Emiratis are paying double for their iPhones. Grey-market phones went on sale in the UAE for up to 120% over the retail price, and they were snapped up within hours.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, discarded napkins, and gently used iPhones to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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