Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Amazon’s pay practices, Wal-Mart’s health benefits, Europe’s recession, inherited coffee addiction

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What to watch for today

Europe’s leaders discuss the euro zone. Fresh off IMF data saying that Europe has a one-in-three chance of plunging back into a recession and a scary slump in German industrial output, the heads of Europe’s nations are convening in Milan to figure out what—if anything—could be done to right the ship.

China’s holiday ends. The semi-annual Golden Week slumber is over, meaning markets will open back up. Hong Kong’s retail stores—both large and small—are not too pleased that the Umbrella Revolution coincided with the shopping season; sales dropped as much as 80%.

The US Federal Reserve spills its secrets. Investors will comb through the minutes of September’s monetary policy meeting for clues on when the Fed will raise rates. And in somewhat related news, former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is going to be providing testimony about the 2008 bailout of AIG.

Amazon stands before the US Supreme Court. When your 12-hour shift stuffing boxes at an Amazon warehouse ends, you’re forced to stand in line for as long as 25 minutes so you can be searched for stolen goods. The court starts hearing a case brought by workers who want to be paid for that time.

PepsiCo shrugs off its lack of fizz. Sugar-water sales aren’t doing so hot, but that’s fine, because PepsiCo is also in the snack-foods industry, and investors are expecting a 1.2% increase in sales despite the soda slump.

While you were sleeping

Walmart decided to stop offering health benefits. Starting next year, the company’s 30,000 part-time employees will have to fend for themselves. Previous estimates had Walmart spending $330 million a year on benefits, but that figure swelled to $500 million.

US job openings hit a 13-year high. There were 4.84 million vacant positions available in August, up from 4.61 million in July. Economists were expecting no more than 4.7 million. Sadly, hiring in August fell to 4.6 million from 4.9 million the month before.

The situation in Kobani got even worse. America and its allies dropped another round of bombs on the ISIL fighters attacking the key Syrian border town, but Turkey’s president said that’s not enough. He’s got tanks and troops on the Turkish side of the border, though they’re sitting idle.

Japanese physicists won the Nobel Prize. Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and Shuji Nakamura of America are sharing the prize for their work on blue LED lights. Without blue LEDs—and accompanying red and green LEDs—white LED lamps couldn’t have been created.

Twitter sued the FBI and the US Justice Department. The micro-blogging company says it wants to be able to tell its users more about government surveillance requests, but it can’t due to the current laws in place.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the simple device that could let you see inside your car. “Look under the hood of most modern cars and you will be hard pressed to identify what part does what. As a result, drivers suffering a fault with their cars must take the word of the garage or dealership when they say something is wrong with it. Being able to see what’s going on under the hood on your smartphone ‘allows a better relationship between consumer and vehicle,’ says Mathew.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

America doesn’t care about Syria’s Kurds. It only cares about the stability of Iraq.

You need to go to a gym to get the most out of your job. People who don’t exercise aren’t as satisfied with their work.

Brazil’s presidential candidates aren’t good enough. The country needs someone who can pass the unpopular changes needed to fix it.

Never, ever, pay a ransom. Doing so only encourages future kidnappings.

Ebola is the ISIL of biological agents. Or the Putin of Stalin. Or the North Korea of peanut allergies. In short, stop using ridiculous metaphors for it.

Surprising discoveries

You were born with your crippling caffeine addiction. How your body processes the stimulant is determined by fewer than 10 genes.

It pays to play video games. One US school is handing out 35 athletic scholarships where “athletics” is defined as your ability to control a joystick.

Berlin’s roads are great for running the marathon. The world record has been broken there five times in a row.

The US government is allowed to borrow your identity. And you can’t do anything about it.

Steroids enhance your performance for life. Banning an athlete for two or even four years is pointless.

American kids can’t add, subtract, or multiply. SAT math scores haven’t been this low since 2000.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, laser pointers, and fake IDs to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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