Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Afghanistan’s president, Hong Kong’s deadline, SoftBank/DreamWorks, homebrew tanks

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What to watch for today

A second look at Russian sanctions? Bloomberg, citing Russian newspaper Kommersant, says Europe may re-examine its current sanctions on Russia. Even if so, it seems unlikely they’ll be eased—Monday was the bloodiest day of fighting since Ukraine and Russia reached a peace deal.

Greece is still on the hook. Greece will meet with international creditors to discuss the terms of its public debt. Ten-year bonds and 30-year yields are reaching levels not seen since the start of this year.

European inflation numbers are due. Eurostat will publish numerous figures, the most important being inflation—the ECB wants to see it at 2%, but it should realistically expect only 0.3%. Growth across the continent has stalled, despite Brussels’ best efforts, leading to a collapse in confidence.

Afghanistan lets the Americans stay just a little bit longer. Ashraf Ghani, who has been president for just a few hours, will sign a deal allowing about 10,000 American troops to remain in Afghanistan after the start of the new year. On this, at least, Ghani and his bitter rival Abdullah Abdullah, who is now ”chief executive,” agree.

Out with the new, in with the old. When Microsoft launched a radically redesigned version of its operating system, Windows, the world rejected it. It’s unveiling a new version, codenamed Threshold, which aims to fix the confusing touch-based OS by rolling back many of the changes and making it more enterprise-friendly.

While you were sleeping

Hong Kong protestors got a thumbs-up from the White House. A spokesman said the US is “closely watching” the protests and “[supports] the aspirations of the Hong Kong people”. In Hong Kong, police kept a low profile during another night of protests, while the protestors set an Oct. 1 deadline for chief executive Leung Chun-ying to resign.

BMW will bring its autonomous cars to China. And it’s going to test them in two citiies, Beijing and Shanghai, in collaboration with Baidu, whose online maps will help the cars find their way. No word as to when the cars will be ready for consumers to buy, nor when they’ll even be allowed on Chinese streets.

The SoftBank-DreamWorks deal might not happen. According to The Wall Street Journal (paywall), talks between the Japanese wireless firm and the Hollywood movie studio have “cooled”, sending the latter’s stock down as much 8% in after-hours trading. Rumors of the deal only began swirling on Saturday.

Argentina got slapped down again. The US judge who ruled against the country in its dispute with foreign bondholders declared it in contempt of court (paywall) for trying to circumvent his ruling. He hasn’t set a punishment yet, though it’ll probably be small compared with the debts Argentina owes.

Spain scuppered Catalonia’s independence bid. The country’s constitutional court agreed to hear a government case arguing that the referendum Catalonia wants to hold on Nov. 9—an echo of Scotland’s recent independence poll—would be illegal. That promises to delay any referendum for months, if not years.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why China should leave Hong Kong alone. “Since Hong Kong is the global center for yuan trading, it is also a portal through which huge sums of liquidity flow, through both real and fake trade financing. China’s leaders don’t seem to actually understand how dependent their country’s financial system is on these ever-rising tides of liquidity coming in via Hong Kong. And they may not realize how easily a liquidity crisis could occur if, God forbid, they do decide to call in the tanks.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Telling people to just eat better isn’t enough. The poor aren’t ignorant; they lack the time, money, and sometimes even furniture to sit down to a healthy meal.

Afghanistan’s new president has his work cut out. Among his challenges will be how Afghans take to his wife.

The Chinese make the best tourists. They love to buy expensive gifts, and it’s expected that 166 million of them will travel outside the mainland this year and spend $155 billion.

It’s Reagan’s fault that the NSA is spying on everyone. His Executive Order 12333 lets the US government snoop on any American company that has ”some relationship” with foreigners.

You should have the right to die at home. Why would anyone want to spend their last moments connected to a bunch of contraptions in a sterile hospital?

Hamas = ISIL = Iran = the Nazis. The world according to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Surprising discoveries

You could control your smartphone without touching it. And it wouldn’t even require a special sensor.

Kurdish troops are building tanks out of spare parts. They look like something straight out of Mad Max.

There’s a new world record for the marathon. 30-year-old Kenyan Dennis Kimetto ran it in two hours, two minutes, and 57 seconds, or 26 seconds faster than before.

Curry might be good for your brain. A chemical in turmeric has been found to help rats’ brains produce stem cells that play a role in repairing degeneration.

Brandishing a weapon can save you money. Bringing a firearm to Bergeron’s Restaurant in Louisiana will get you 10% off your meal.

And you thought Evian was expensive. It costs $2 billion a year to send enough water to the International Space Station to keep its six astronauts alive.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, running tips, and menacing artisanal vehicles to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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