Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—The yen test, Indian jets, Heinz probe, meteor excuses

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The yen tests the G20’s resolve to avoid currency wars. In its weekend meeting, the conference of finance officials denounced “competitive” devaluations while leaving Japan free to weaken its yen in the name of domestic economic stimulus. But if the yen falls further, will other countries be able to resist?

Brits and French scrap over Indian jet contract. David Cameron arrives in India today for his second official visit and will push the UK-backed Eurofighter jet. The visit comes days after François Hollande arrived in India to negotiate for a $12 billion Dassault contract which has not yet been signed.

Ecuadorean presidential election holds no surprises. Incumbent president Rafael Correa is expected to win easily. With Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro in the twilight of their power, Correa is now Latin America’s leading left-wing populist and incipient autocrat.

Many American workplaces take a day off. It’s Presidents’ Day. US markets are closed. So are Canada’s, for Family Day.

Over the weekend

White House immigration plan leaked. President Obama’s plan contains few surprises but emerges in the middle of bi-partisan Senate negotiations on immigration. Republican senators said the President’s plan might upset progress made in the current talks.

Cypriots voted, no one won. Conservative pro-bailout Nicos Anastasiades and Communist-backed Stavros Malas will face-off in a run-off next week. The new president’s first task will be to finalize ongoing euro-zone bailout talks.

Oxfam chastised BNP Paribas into suspending two food-speculating funds. That makes five agriculture funds the French bankhas now closed since July.

SAC Capital’s clients go running. Clients began to pull $1.7 billion from the hedge fund, about a quarter of outside investors’ money, in the wake of a federal insider-trading investigation.

ConocoPhilips was cleared to go back to work in China. The American energy company ceased operation after two oil spills in 2011. Conoco and Chinese companies responsible for the spill paid $161 million in settlements before being allowed to resume activities.

Heinz purchase triggered SEC attention. After Warren Buffett bought Heinz for $23 billion, the SEC froze a Swiss account suspected of making insider trades and landing $1.7 million before the purchase was announced.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jacob Albert on how enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, though aggressive, tends to be concentrated around a small number of core cases. “It’s therefore hard to know whether crooked companies that aren’t connected to these big, core cases run a significantly greater risk of falling prey to FCPA enforcement than they did before. What’s clear is that the small number of companies that do get caught end up paying more dearly for it, with more lawsuits and heftier fines.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

What if we got smashed by a meteor because we just weren’t looking up?

Apparently, currency wars don’t have to be zero-sum.

What’s John Kerry got to do to make Asia fall in love with him?

How Putin’s mood swings are making Russian foreign policy.

Surprising discoveries

Next time you’re single on Valentine’s Day, try a romantic meal with Ramen and your iPhone.

Land, ho! Homecoming is less than ideal for Carnival cruise ship passengers who got off a feces-infested cruise ship right onto a broken-down bus.

But for one German polar bear, coming home means eternal celebrity.

The meteor crushed my homework: a legitimate excuse.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, polar bear sightings, or new ways to date your iPhone to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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