Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—European austerity, the London Whale, Groupon’s greed, fish in beer

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What to watch for today

More of a mess for European labor? The euro zone’s statistical agency will release its latest read on European employment and labor costs in the fourth quarter.

EU summit continues. European leaders continue to debate whether austerity policies are helping or hurting a euro area in crisis. France is already spoiling for a fight.

A data look at the US economy. Inflation, industrial production, and consumer confidence data are all on the docket.

JP Morgan bosses talk about the Whale. Executives involved in or close to a trade that cost the bank more than $6 billion last year will testify in front of a US Senate panel. A Senate report on the bank’s attitudes to risk makes for pretty spicy reading.

While you were sleeping

China bought a big chunk of African gas. China National Petroleum Corporation will pay $4.2 billion for 20% of a Mozambique gas field belonging to Italy’s Eni, giving China a fresh source for its growing energy thirst.

A rosy US jobs picture. 10,000 fewer Americans filed jobless claims last week, in a sign that the labor picture is continuing to brighten.

Shipping company caught red handed. It’s not only the banks that are dealing with Iran. The US Treasury imposed sanctions on Dimitris Cambis, of Impire Shipping Limited, whom it accuses of helping the National Iranian Tanker Company sell oil in the international markets.

Federal Reserve scrutinizes JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Although both banks passed last week’s stress tests, the Fed demanded that they revise their capital plans within the month, without outright rejecting them. Only Ally Financial and BB&T got flat-out rejected.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zach Seward on how Iranians are the real victims of Google’s decision to kill off Google Reader: “RSS readers take raw feeds of data—headline, text, timestamp, etc.—and display that information in a stripped-down interface along with many other feeds, which is what makes them so efficient. Less obvious is how many RSS readers, including Google’s, serve as anti-censorship tools for people living under oppressive regimes. That’s because it’s actually Google’s servers, located in the US or another country with uncensored internet, that accesses each feed. So a web user in Iran just needs access to in order to read websites that would otherwise be blocked.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China’s been hacking—but for how long? The military was talking about it in 1995.

The myth of the lone inventor. You’re never working all by yourself.

Can anyone save Groupon from itself? Its problem is greed.

Why quackery survives. Reason never seems to eliminate unreason; it just leads to different kinds.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists think they’ve really found the God particle. Physicists thought they had discovered the Higgs boson—the particle that could be responsible for all mass in the universe—last year, but now they are pretty sure that they got it right.

Plutonium without the WMD. The US produced the first non-weapons grade plutonium in 25 years in order to power space probes.

There might be fish in your Guinness beer. Sorry, vegans.

Indiana once tried to change the value of pi to 3.2. And other crazy moments in the history of 3.141592653… to commemorate International Pi Day.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, atomic particle discoveries, and censorship-avoidance techniques to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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