Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—AIG lawsuit, asteroid mining, European banks, Year of Samsung

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Will AIG sue the US? The board of the insurance company American International Group meets over whether to join a $25 billion lawsuit against the government, for allegedly ripping off shareholders when it bailed out the company to the tune of $205 billion. Quartz’s Gwynn Guilford explains how the lawsuit is even more ridiculous than it sounds.

Chinese exports grow but loans fall. Official export data are expected to show exports growing at a faster pace last month, while bank loans may have fallen to a new low.

Biden and the NRA talk guns. US vice president Joe Biden meets with the National Rifle Association to discuss gun control after a shooting at a Connecticut school killed 20 children.

There’s no money in disks. Virgin Megastore France is to file for insolvency after four years of losses as ever-greater numbers of consumers abandon CDs and DVDs for downloads.

Chinese journalists go back to work. Reporters striking over the censorship of Southern Weekly could resume work after propaganda officials reportedly said they would “lengthen their leash.”

While you were sleeping

Chávez misses his own swearing in. Venezuela’s ailing president Hugo Chávez will miss his inauguration on Thursday (Jan. 10). Opposition leaders are calling for the supreme court to rule on whether Chavez can be considered president if he misses the ceremony.

Iran’s oil money is running low. Revenues from the Islamic’s Republic’s oil sector have dropped about 45% over the last nine months because of sanctions.  

US stocks fell. US equities fell for the second day in a row as investors wait for earnings season to get underway.

Monsanto had good news. The world’s largest seed company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, driven by high corn-seed sales. The company can expect even more from its soybeans, particularly from Brazil—set to be the world’s next soybean king, writes Quartz’s Matt Phillips.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on why 2013 will be the Year of Samsung: “Samsung has announced a fourth-quarter profit for 2012 double what it was the year before, capping a record year for the company. Analysts from Nomura and Macquarie Securities are projecting that Samsung’s stock will rise 40%-50% in 2013, on the back of a 35% increase in smartphone sales, to a mind-boggling 290 million units. Apple, by contrast, is expected to sell 180 million.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Europe could still mess everything up. The exit of some euro-zone banks from the ECB’s long-term refinancing operations could push remaining banks to pay up and get out before they are ready.

Keynesianism doesn’t work. Sound economies in northern Europe versus battered ones in southern Europe show that austerity trumps government-directed stimulus.

Weighty decisions. Policy-makers in London are considering a proposal to take away the welfare benefits of overweight residents if they don’t complete mandated exercise regimens.

Surprising discoveries

A budget iPhone? The word is Apple is working on one.

Asteroid mining could be big money. Some billionaire investors believe they can make trillions of dollars from minerals found on asteroids using robots.

A glut of MBAs. Schools are handing out more advanced degrees than ever, but pay for grad-school alums has stagnated.

Australia, so hot right now. It’s so hot down under that the Australian bureau of meteorology was forced to add more colors to its heat maps.

How big would a $1 trillion platinum coin be? This big.

Quartz is still hiring. We need a corporate reporter,  a social media editorLondon and Hong Kong correspondents, sales and account managers, and more besides.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and asteroid mining tips to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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