Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Nobel Peace Prize, US Republican chaos, phone pinching peril

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The Nobel Peace Prize is announced. German chancellor Angela Merkel, Pope Francis, and Denis Mukwege, a doctor in the Democratic Republic of Congo who has treated over 40,000 rape victims, are among the favored contenders. The announcement from Oslo, Norway is at 5am local time (11am in China); this handy flowchart can assess your chances at winning.

The US Navy prepares for a contentious excursion in the South China Sea. US naval forces are reportedly getting ready to send a ship to a contested area where China has built a chain of man-made islands, according to the Navy Times. China warned that it may send its own ships to intervene, or even deploy drones or live artillery in response.

The EU begins relocating refugees. The contentious plan to redistribute 40,000 refugees begins with a group of Eritreans in Italy who will travel by plane to Sweden. Migration authorities have not said how many refugees are traveling today, but Sweden has agreed to accept 821 refugees from Italy.

Nepal’s new government needs a prime minister. The country’s constitution dictates that a new PM be appointed today, a week after parliament’s session began. With at least one major party refusing to participate, it’s unlikely that the politicians will reach a cnsensus—meaning that Nepal’s president will resort to calling for a majority vote.

The Draconid meteor shower returns to Earth. Tendrils of debris from a comet will hit Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in an estimated 600 meteors per hour. Some satellites could be damaged during the storm, but the International Space Station should be just fine.

While you were sleeping

Russian missiles meant for Syria landed in Iran. At least four cruise missiles fired from the Caspian Sea fell short and crashed in Iran, according to US officials. Some buildings may have been damaged, and civilians hurt, but it is unclear where exactly the rockets landed.

The Republican Party was thrown into chaos. Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the frontrunner to become House Speaker, abruptly dropped out of the race under pressure from the extreme conservative wing of his party. The decision, announced by McCarthy at a caucus meeting, left some GOP lawmakers “audibly crying.”

Bill Gross is suing Pimco. The founder of the Pacific Investment Management Company announced a lawsuit against his former company and its parent Allianz, for a sum in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.” He accused a “cabal” of his former underlings of conspiring to wrongfully push him out in pursuit of a bigger share of the firm’s profits.

FIFA suspended president Sepp Blatter. Three of the most powerful men in football—Blatter, UEFA chief Michel Platini, and FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke—were all barred from the sport for 90 days by the organization’s ethics committee, amid a widening corruption scandal.

The Nobel prize in literature went to a non-fiction Belarusian writer. Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian journalist and chronicler of life in and after the Soviet Union, wrote about some of the most painful and dramatic events of her region’s history. The Nobel committee commended Alexievich for her “polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve Mollman on the biggest threat yet to Malaysia’s kleptocratic prime minister: “Normally, the royal leaders of Malaysia stay out of politics; indeed, their very existence might come as news to many outsiders. (The royal leaders consist of the sultans of nine states and the governors of the remaining four.) But they made an unprecedented call for action on Oct. 6 about the corruption claims surrounding prime minister Najib Razak.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There is only one word to characterize the world’s reaction to the refugee crisis: Indifference.

Microsoft can’t decide if it wants to kill the laptop or revive it. Hedging bets might be the right thing to do.

Creative thinking is an acquired skill. It requires practice and a willingness to be embarrassed.

To overcome procrastination, be more selfish. How much will you personally benefit by completing a task?

Name-dropping never hurts. Even gratuitous mentions of famous people help break the ice with new contacts.

Surprising discoveries

A lake in India is so polluted that it’s covered in foam. The toxic froth in Bangalore occasionally bursts into flames.

“Phone pinching” is going viral. Put your expensive gadget in peril, then take a picture.

Geese are the best weed-killers. Savvy farmers are deploying feathered flocks instead of using goats or pesticide.

Twitter is helping geologists detect earthquakes. Social media can sound the alarm where seismic sensors are lacking.

Kosovo’s parliament is suffering a severe lack of decorum. Lawmakers are tossing eggs and detonating smoke bombs.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, weed-killing geese, and parliamentary hijinks to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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