Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Progress in Kobani, German economic fragility, an elusive Dear Leader

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Where’s Kim Jong-un? Will North Korea’s supreme leader show up to the gala that the country’s ruling party will hold to celebrate its 69th anniversary? The man hasn’t been seen in public in over a month, and the last time a camera lens glimpsed his presence, Kim appeared to have some type of injury.

Tesla’s much-talked-about “D.” Elon Musk sent out an enigmatic tweet earlier this month teasing what appears to be a new car he called the “D.” Keep your eyes on Hawthorne Airport, where the vehicle will be unveiled at 19:00 PST. Some say it’ll be an all-wheel-drive Model S. Others predict it’ll be Tesla’s first foray into self-driving technology.

Will the Hong Kong protests wax or wane? Students were supposed to have their first talks with government officials today, but they were canceled at the last minute. It remains to be seen whether protestors will be reinvigorated by the slight, or if the protest’s momentum has been lost.

Apple’s new iPhones are available to preorder in China. Consumers in arguably the world’s largest economy can now reserve an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. The devices will land on store shelves on Oct. 17. For those too impatient to go through official channels, import prices have collapsed to reasonable levels.

Data, data, and more data. On Bloomberg’s calendar: France, Italy, and the Netherlands will disclose industrial production figures for the month of August; the UK will detail its trade balance; and Standard & Poor’s will issue an update on its credit rating for France—which earlier this month said it needs more time to reach European-mandated debt levels of less than 3%.

While you were sleeping

Things got marginally better in Kobani. US-led airstrikes pushed ISIL forces back to the edge of the Syrian city located on Turkey’s border. Turkey’s foreign minister reiterated that the country is in no position to lead ground troops into battle, despite violent protests urging swift aid for Kurdish refugees.

Wednesday’s market gains were lost. Earlier this week, when the US Federal Reserve published its September meeting minutes and investors saw officials were going to keep interest rates low, the stock market had its best day in all of 2014. But then crude oil prices plunged, and energy stocks led the market lower, in what turned out to be the worst drop of any day in 2014.

The CDC gave the world a terrible soundbite on Ebola. Thomas Frieden, head of the US Centers for Disease Control, said this: “In the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS.” In related news, 200 employees went on strike in New York because they worry that their job—cleaning airplane cabins—puts them in danger of catching the disease. The UK also reversed its decision to not screen people at its airports.

Carl Icahn offered Tim Cook some constructive criticism. The activist investor wants Apple to accelerate its share buyback program. Icahn said he thinks Apple’s shares—of which he owns 53 million—should be priced at double their current rate.

Draghi gave a talk that made the euro even weaker. In a speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington, the head of the European Central Bank said that “unconventional measures” may be taken in order to lift inflation. The euro fell against the dollar and the pound on the news.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on the fragility of Germany. “Germany is part of Europe, and the European economy is in a terrible mess. Exports account for about 38% of German GDP, according to Oxford Economics. And the biggest destination for its exports are European nations. (For instance, France is its largest export market, the destination of 9.2% of all exports in 2013.) About 57% of all German export goods are shipped to other European Union nations.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Asians aren’t appreciated in Silicon Valley. Asian employees are the largest minority in the tech hub, yet the second-worst paid.

Fight it over there so we don’t have to fight it over here. Not terrorism; Ebola. These new airport screenings are a waste of resources.

No one should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today. It has been a horrible year.

Forcing mothers to breastfeed is a good idea. Some might push back, but in the end, it’s worth it.

Surprising discoveries

Desperate measures. A UK school is telling its 15,000 students to pee in the shower in the morning to save water.

Cigarette commercials are coming back. Advertisements featuring electronic cigarettes will soon grace British TV screens. Regular cigarettes ads have been banned since 1986.

China sets a high bar for its role models. Chinese celebrities caught using drugs, breaking the law, or hiring prostitutes will be banned from ever appearing on screens—big or small.

One way to fight corruption? Pay for honesty. Thailand’s government will give police officers money for refusing to accept bribes.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, protective shower slippers, and misbehaving TV stars to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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