Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—China and Australia free-trade deal, Petrobas, Assassin’s Creed, hipsters

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The Hong Kong-China market connect begins. Under a pilot program that links the stock markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong, investors can trade and settle shares listed on the other market via the exchange and clearing house in their home stock exchange. The move opens up Chinese stocks to foreign investors in a major way.

Free trade between Australia and China. Prime minister Tony Abbott and Chinese president Xi Jinping hope to conclude a landmark deal when the Chinese leader is in Canberra, bringing nine years of negotiation to an end. New Zealand concluded its deal with China in 2008 and has seen a doubling in trade, the Australians have said.

Global economic news. Japan reports third-quarter GDP as investors look to see how whether the policies of prime minister Shinzo Abe are working as he considers increasing the sales tax. Hong Kong also reports its latest unemployment figures as the Occupy protests continued. In Europe, Mario Draghi gives his quarterly testimony before the European Parliament. Argentina also reveals its latest jobless figures.

Woes continue at Petrobas. The Brazilian oil giant plans to report “information relating to its third-quarter results” (paywall) after missing filing them on Nov. 14th. Look for more share price reaction after federal police arrested 18 people in a widening corruption probe that has ensnared president Dilma Rousseff and her party. The news helped send the real to its lowest level in nine years on Friday.

Over the weekend

The G20 tackled global growth. Leaders at the summit—which represents 85% of the global economy—agreed to boost GDP by at least 2.1% by 2018. Read the Brisbane Action Plan (pdf), which seeks to lift the global economy by $2 trillion. Russia’s Vladimir Putin was met with strong criticism as the conflict in Ukraine often overshadowed the meeting’s focus on economic policy.

ISIL beheaded another hostage. The group, also known as the Islamic State, posted a video—which has not yet been authenticated—showing the decapitation of American hostage Peter Kassig. The militant doing the beheading spoke with a British accent, addressing Obama as the “dog of Rome.” It comes days after the UK pledged to take action to stop jihadists returning to Britain.

An oil services merger turned ugly. Baker Hughes rejected a takeover approach from Halliburton because the offer wasn’t high enough (paywall). Emails showed a counter-proposal made on “a very reasonable basis on which to reach agreement,” which it says Halliburton didn’t engage with before it went hostile on Friday, seeking to replace Baker Hughes’ entire board (paywall).

The US Navy deployed its first laser weapon. The USS Ponce now has a “laser gun” capable of destroying a drone or a small boat. The ship is currently on tour in the Persian Gulf, where it’s making sure oil trade stays safe. No one knows if it’ll work but it only costs $1 per laser round.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on how the new “Assassin’s Creed” game is reviving an ancient debate over the French Revolution. “Ubisoft, the maker of the series of video games, which has been going since 2007 and has sold more than 70 million copies, is in fact French. One of the makers of the game replied that ‘Assassin’s Creed: Unity’ is a ‘consumer video game, not a history lesson’.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Our bearded hipster friends can be explained by math. It’s to do with “inadvertent synchronization.”

Should Obama’s email list be for sale? It costs $1.2 million a year to rent.

Schools with immigrant children do better. London proves it.

Did Apple take the Israeli flag out of its OS for political reasons? There’s a heated debate online.

Surprising discoveries

The Islamic dinar was introduced in the 7th century. ISIL is launching the latest version.

The iPhone 6 may be outselling the iPhone 6 Plus by 3 to 1. Good for Apple, sorry Plus-lovers.

20 Malaysians in the last two years have been charged with sedition. The British-era law dates back to 1948.

A new record for farthest basketball shot has been set. By a Harlem Globetrotter, of course—backwards.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ancient medieval currency, and any jokes about the name of the “USS Ponce” to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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