Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—China’s leaders, MF Global, war via Twitter, teatime

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

China’s leadership is finally unveiled. Xi Jinping, China’s presumptive next president, is expected to be formally declared as general secretary of the Communist Party; he and Li Keqiang, the presumptive prime minister, they were voted into the 205-member Central Committee yesterday. Not on the central committee, intriguingly, is Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank governor, who is respected in the West and who has overseen the yuan’s gradual appreciation against the dollar in the past few years, undermining accusations from America that the Chinese currency is overvalued. Also announced today will be the other (probably five) members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, China’s supreme decision-making body.

Why MF Global collapsed: the truth at last? A Republican-led Congressional panel that investigated the collapse of the brokerage firm is set to release a report Thursday said to be highly critical of Jon Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs executive and Democratic Governor of New Jersey, who presided over the firm’s implosion.

Gloomy data at the heart of the euro-zone. The GDP picture in Germany and France is not expected to be rosy, when updates to third-quarter numbers are released. Recent information on Germany’s all-important industrial sector has suggested that Europe’s biggest economy is unlikely to be unscathed by the debt crisis that continues to roil the region. In fact, the 17-country union that uses the euro is expected to fall into recession when official numbers are released Thursday.

While you were sleeping

Watch the war from the comfort of your Twitter feed. An Israeli missile strike killed Ahmed Jabari, an ex-history student who had spent 13 years in prison in Israel and led Hamas fighters during the 2007 takeover of Gaza. Israel’s army tweeted about the attack as it happened, posted a video of it, then exchanged threats with Hamas, all over Twitter.

Obama wants higher taxes on the rich. Taking his first questions from reporters since his re-election, President Obama reiterated his focus on seeing the tax rates of the wealthiest Americans rise as part of any effort to cut deficits and debt. His second and third priorities: immigration and climate change.

QE4 not a sure thing. The minutes of the last meeting of the Federal Reserve’s key rate-setting committee suggested that further rounds of bond-buying aren’t a done deal.

Financial markets didn’t like the look of any of it. In New York, stocks fell to their lowest level since June on worries about ongoing wrangling over the fiscal cliff and the violence in the Middle East. The selling got worse into the close of trading, and the S&P 500 fell below its 200-day moving average, a closely watched gauge of support for the market. Yields on US government debt declined slightly, as investors sought safety and braced for bad news.

It’s teatime in America. Starbucks agreed to buy Teavana, a loose-leaf tea seller and chain of tea shops based in Atlanta, Georgia. Does the American coffee giant see a coming wave in tea sales? Perhaps, but it’s worth pointing out that Teavana itself was looking north to Canada for growth quite recently.

Quartz obsession interlude

Naomi Rovnick on why China’s economy is still shaky and what the People’s Republic’s new leaders might be able to do. The economic situation might be worse than it appears in the data. She writes: “Some economists are even more than usually skeptical about the data, given that China has been holding its 18th Party Congress and a once-a-decade leadership transition. As London consultancy Capital Economics wrote in a note last week, given that the rosy data “have been published while the Party Congress is in session, some sceptics have questioned whether they can be believed.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

US public universities have more than their fair share of overpaid bureaucrats.

Obama is not, repeat is not, going to crack down on Wall Street.

Please tax us rich folks more, says Goldman Sachs’ CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.

Surprising discoveries

France is taxing Nutella, and other foods tied to palm and vegetable oil.

A man in a giraffe suit is hitchhiking around Scotland doing good deeds.

Pepsi is selling a “fat-blocking” soda in Japan.

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