Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Twitter’s CEO confirmed, Russian airstrikes in Syria, baby-making vacations

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What to watch for today

The People’s Republic of China celebrates its 66th birthday. President Xi Jinping will make a televised address, giant floral bouquets will be arranged, and the nation’s markets will be closed for a week to celebrate the National Day holiday.

Hurricane Joaquin approaches the Bahamas. The tropical storm intensified to a category one hurricane on Wednesday (Sept. 30), but meteorologists are forecasting wildly different paths. It may avoid landfall entirely, or wreak havoc on the eastern United States.

The Obama administration decides on air pollution rules. The Environmental Protection Agency faces a deadline to revise or retain the standards set in 2008 for ground-level ozone pollution. Republicans are opposing the agency’s plan to make the limits more stringent.

Jack Dorsey permanently takes the reins at Twitter. The Twitter co-founder has been serving as interim CEO for three months—while also running the financial payments start-up Square—and the board is now prepared to make it official, according to Recode. Twitter’s directors had previously insisted they would only consider candidates who could make a “full-time commitment.”

While you were sleeping

Russia launched airstrikes in Syria. Planes bombed anti-government rebel strongholds near the city of Homs, which president Vladimir Putin described as the only way to aid Syria in its fight against terrorism. US officials, who were informed in advance about the strikes, said the operations would not affect its own campaign against ISIL in Syria.

At least seven people died in a Chinese mail-bombing spree. Police arrested a man suspected of sending 13 explosive devices to a hospital, local markets, a prison, and other buildings in the southwestern Chinese city of Liuzhou. More than 50 people were wounded; authorities said they had ruled out terrorism as a motive.

A state-backed Chinese firm bought a $3.8 billion stake in Western Digital. Tsinghua Unigroup, a spin-off from China’s top university that has close ties to Chinese officials, agreed to acquire 18% of the hard-drive maker’s shares. The proposed deal is likely to raise political concerns in the US, which helped scupper Tsinghua’s attemped purchase of US chipmaker Micron earlier this year.

Mahmoud Abbas called it quits on the Oslo Accords. In a speech at the United Nations, the president of the Palestinian Authority accused Israel of violating the agreement that laid the foundation for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinian flag was also raised for the first time at the UN headquarters.

Saudi Arabia and the UK were outed for a UN vote-trading scandal. Leaked diplomatic cables showed that Saudi Arabia exchanged money and votes in exchange for the UK’s support for its election to the United Nation’s human rights council. Critics have blasted Saudi Arabia’s presence on the council, given its own troublesome human rights record.

The US averted another government shutdown. The House of Representatives approved a Senate measure to fund the federal government, several hours ahead of a midnight (ET) deadline and over the opposition of conservative legislators who were agitating for a showdown over Planned Parenthood funding. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill shortly.

Quartz obsession interlude

Katherine Whittaker on what’s missing from the United Nations General Assembly’s agenda. “Delegates, world leaders, and philanthropists from around the world flooded into New York City last week for the beginning of the 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). But while the UNGA plans to discuss many important global issues over the next few weeks—notably the new goals regarding climate change and peacekeeping reforms—there is one glaring omission: Nowhere among the Assembly’s over 170 items is the Syrian or European refugee crisis specifically mentioned.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Parasites are threatened by climate change, too. We need to save nature’s least sympathetic creatures.

VW’s scandal erased 55 years of spectacular advertising. It may take decades to regain trust.

Secret Swiss bank accounts are the enemies of the poor. Rich nations whine, but developing nations have the most to lose.

The Tesla Model X is made with moms in mind. And women buy 53% of sport utility vehicles.

Indoor toilets are a step backward for civilization. Flushing uses up valuable water and spreads pathogens to rivers and oceans.

Surprising discoveries

It was easier to be skinny in 1980 than it is today. Chemicals and prescription drugs may be to blame.

Bitten by a macaw? Burned by water skis? There’s a code for that. US doctors have diagnostic codes for the weirdest ailments.

Beijing researchers are selling genetically engineered micropigs. The pets go for 10,000 yuan ($1,600).

A 4,000-year-old poem just got 20 lines longer. A newly discovered stone tablet adds to the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Danish moms are being asked to sponsor baby-making vacations. Anything to reverse a demographic death spiral.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, genetically engineered micropigs, and stone tablets to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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