Clinton-Trump debate, Disney eyes Twitter, roller coasters for health

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The Bank of England starts buying corporate debt. It’s part of its plan to support economic growth following the nation’s decision to leave the EU. Over the next 18 months it will buy 10 billion pounds (about $13 billion) worth of sterling corporate bonds from companies making significant contributions to the British economy. Investors will watch the markets for reactions.

Najib Razak escapes the heat in Malaysia and visits Angela Merkel. The embattled Malaysian prime minister will meet with the German chancellor in Berlin to discuss trade and investment. Hisitinerary also includes face time with executives from BMW, Daimler, and Infineon, among other companies.

Nike posts a rare earnings drop. The shoe maker is expected to report a 16% year-over-year decline in first-quarter profit as sales disappoint and competitors turn up the heat. It would mark Nike’s first earnings decline in four years.

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Japan will invest $30B across 20 African states. The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD6) brought public and private leaders together in Nairobi to discuss partnership opportunities between Africa and Asia. Investment from 22 Japanese entities will prioritize health care systems, infrastructure development, and human resource development.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Hillary Clinton won the first US presidential debate. A CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers found that 62% felt Clinton won, versus 27% who thought Trump did. One of Clinton’s best lines: “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And yes, I did.” Trumpbragged about not paying any federal income tax, saying it would be “squandered.”

Colombia’s president signed a peace deal with Marxist rebels.Juan Manuel Santos and rebel leader Timochenko used a pen made from a bullet to sign an agreement ending a 52-year war. The deal also allows the FARC guerrillas to become a political party, making their case through voting instead of violence.

Disney joined the list of potential suitors for Twitter. Other companies reportedly interested in a takeover include Salesforce, Alphabet, and a joint venture between former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Twitter’s share price has shot up in the wake of the acquisition rumors.

China’s industrial profits jumped the most in three years. Theyrose 19.5% from a year ago to 534.8 billion yuan ($80.2 billion), according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The data suggests further stabilization in manufacturing and a greater ability of companies to pay off debts.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Tim Fernholz on whether SpaceX is a victim of its founder’s ambitions. “In a few days, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will unveil his plans to explore Mars at a global space conference in Mexico. The event has been widely anticipated by fans of the billionaire entrepreneur and SpaceX. But an enormous fire that consumed a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket during a pre-flight test on Sept. 1 has dampened the positive mood. Now, critics are asking if SpaceX is taking on too much, too fast.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Modern activists shouldn’t be in awe of Nelson Mandela.Losing faith in yesteryear’s heroes is a positive sign of dismissing false “civil religions” and embracing honesty.

Donald Trump made a great case against electing a businessman as president. In the debate he boasted of his focus on personal enrichment, but that’s not the best place from which to lead a democracy.

Major fashion brands are toying with their customers’ psyches. Their approach to sizing can set women on an unhealthy path to weight loss.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Venetians are dressing up as pirates to chase away cruise ships. The sinking city, where tourists outnumber locals, couldbecome endangered if big boats keep passing through.

Hollywood actors can now have their ages erased from IMDb.California passed a law that’s meant to fight ageism in the film industry.

A devil frog puked up a new ant species. The neon-orange, poisonous frogs get their toxic secretions from the ants, which feed on alkaloids from plants.

Roller coasters can defend against kidney stones. A rocky ride can dislodge the small mineral deposits before they become a bigger problem.

Apple spends an estimated $225 on the parts for each iPhone 7. And it charges customers three times that amount to buy one.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Venetian pirates, and iPhone 7 parts to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or downloadour iPhone app.

EU defense meeting, Wang vs. Disney, fish songs

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

EU defense ministers gather in Bratislava, Slovakia. They’ll consider various proposals to change the European Union’s defense arrangements. One idea is to create a headquarters for commanding military forces. Britain used to veto that idea, saying such a center would duplicate NATO’s role, but after Brexit it’s more likely to become a reality.

Signs that big oil-producing nations plan to trim output. There’s speculation about a coordinated effort to address prices, which have fallen 60% since mid-2014 (paywall), as OPEC members meet on the sidelines of an energy conference in Algiers starting today. But tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia will likely stymie any agreement.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump finally share a stage. Over 100 million Americans are expected to watch the first of three presidential debates, which Clinton has been studiously preparing for and Trump reportedly plans to wing. Here’s how to watch the 9pm EDT debate, an analysis of Clinton’s special winning tactic in previous debates, and a look at one way Trump could walk away the winner.

OVER THE WEEKEND

The Swiss voted in favor of increased government surveillance. More than 65% of voters were in agreement with the law that gives the Federal Intelligence Service more power to tap phones, read emails, and use bugs and hidden cameras.

China sent 40-plus fighter jets and bombers past Okinawa into the Pacific. In an intimidating training exercise, the planes passed between between Okinawa (home to US bases) and the contested Senkaku Islands. Japan recently indicated it would join US joint training cruises in the South China Sea, ratcheting up tensions with Beijing.

Donald Trump told Benjamin Netanyahu he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The US presidential candidate met the Israeli prime minister in New York on Sunday. The move would mark a dramatic shift in US policy. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of the state they aim to create.

China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin, fired another shot across Disney’s bow. Wang opened his second Wanda City theme park in Hefei, the capital and largest city of the Anhui province in eastern China, at a cost of $5.1 billion. He plans to build 20 more just like it as he takes on Disneyland.

A writer was fatally shot in Jordan while heading to his trial for insulting Islam. Nahed Hattar faced charges (paywall) for sharing a cartoon on Facebook that mocked ISIL terrorists. His killing increases fears about the emergence of extremism within the kingdom.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Joon Ian Wong on the implications of an online attack directed at an independent security journalist. “If a botnet is indeed running off hundreds of thousands of connected cameras, it would highlight a major flaw in the internet of things, which experts have long warned of. The software these devices run on is usually not easily upgraded, meaning that security loopholes can remain open for years.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Fashion has lost its magic for millennials. UK spending on clothes and shoes has fallen markedly—partly because young people now find retail boring (paywall) compared to restaurants and travel.

Europe’s regulators are just getting rolling in their efforts to crimp US multinationals. Amazon, Google, Starbucks, and McDonald’s, watch out.

Nobody needs the latest iPhone. Apple’s serial release of new products is indicative of corporate America’s unhealthy obsessionwith growth.

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SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Germany’s World War II invasion of France was made possible by crystal meth. New research says tablets of the stimulant enabled German troops to stay awake for three days and three nights and push through the Ardennes mountains.

Australia isn’t where you think it is. Every year the continent shifts northward 2.7 inches (6.9 cm), enough to throw off GPS-operated systems.

The future of rollercoasters is maglev. What could be more intense than a coaster ride with no rails, wheels, or friction?

The first pop song ever written by artificial intelligence is pretty good.Daddy’s Car” is a catchy, sunny tune reminiscent of the Beatles.

Just like birds, fish sing in chorus at dawn and dusk.Researchers say they repeat the same call again and again, and overlap with other fish to create a chorus, which helps them stay together during hunts or defend their territory.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, maglev coasters, and AI composers to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or downloadour iPhone app.

Weekend edition—The crisis of science, Nevada brothels, schizophrenia and shamans

Good morning, Quartz readers!

“When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” Sociologist Donald Campbell and economist Charles Goodhart reached this conclusion some 40 years ago, after analyzing the measures used in their own professions.

We’ve seen the Campbell and Goodhart law in action plenty of times. Bankers manipulated Libor, a benchmark for borrowing rates, to profit from trades. Businessmen choose accounting metrics to artificially inflate the value of their firms. Facebook has just admitted to overestimating how much video its users watch (paywall), meaning that advertisers have been overpaying.

Now it appears even scientists, among the most trusted professionals in the world, have fallen to abusing metrics. A new analysis of 60 years’ worth of studies in the behavioral sciences found that poor methods have flourished in academia because scientists, under pressure to publish to advance their careers, have focused on the metric of how many papers they put out.

There have been other bad practices too. Pushing negative results under the rug has created a skewed perception (paywall) of our world. Lack of self-policing has helped high-profile scientific frauds to flourish. Cozying up with industry has biased our understanding of everything from prescription drugs to government policy.

As the number of scientists in the world has ballooned—from a mere 1 million in the 1940s to more than 60 million today—bad science has infiltrated every layer of the enterprise. Policymakers and politicians share the blame, for creating perverse incentives while pouring in ever greater sums of taxpayers’ money. But the buck stopswith scientists.

Though they would hate to admit it, scientists are not unlike journalists. Both probe the world for truth, albeit at a different pace and with different methods; and both are under intense pressure to publish. And journalists are among the least trusted professionals. Scientists risk losing their credibility if they don’t mend their methods, and soon.—Akshat Rathi

FIVE THINGS ON QUARTZ WE ESPECIALLY LIKED

Nevada’s legal brothels offer more than just sex. At Nevada’s famed Moonlite Bunny Ranch, sex workers are independent contractors. So brothel owner Dennis Hof is dedicated to making sure they are savvy negotiators and financially literate. Quartz senteconomist Allison Schrager and video journalist Siyi Chen to Carson City to learn how it’s done. We also invited the women to answer, in their own words, questions about feminism, intimacy, and their futures.

Explaining “microaggressions” using Hollywood movies.Especially if you’re not American, you may have been puzzled reading about the latest political dispute sweeping US campuses. Hannah Yi uses clips from famous films to illustrate the various kinds of toxic behavior that used to be considered normal conversation.

The real-life cabal behind a global crisis. Worldwide food prices nearly tripled in 2008, driving millions into poverty and malnutrition. New research has revealed the likely culprits were global fertilizer companies collaborating to hike prices, writes Tim Fernholz, suggesting that policymakers have focused on the wrong issues all along.

Hillary Clinton’s secret debate weapon. How will she face up to Donald Trump, who steamrolled his rivals in the Republican primary debates, in their first face-off this Monday? Adam Freelander and Hanna Kozlowska analyze footage from previous Clinton debates to show how she handles an attack by a male opponent and turns it, ever-so-subtly, against him.

Somalia’s thriving democracy, where only 1% of people vote. It may sound like a joke, but, argues Abdi Latif Dahir, the narrow electoral system that will pick a government over the next few weeksis mending the rifts created by the long civil war. The most promising sign: young professionals are getting involved in politics.

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FIVE THINGS ELSEWHERE THAT MADE US SMARTER

The poster child for Deepwater Horizon. Bob Kaluza, a supervisor on the BP oil rig that blew up and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, was one of the only people prosecuted for the deadly 2010 disaster. Loren Steffy, writing in Texas Monthly, recounts the night of the explosion and the tension afterward between “the public outcry to hold individuals accountable and what some saw as BP’s desire to ensure that those individuals weren’t high-ranking executives.”

Schizophrenia as shamanism? Dick Russell spent 15 years working to find treatment for his son, Frank, who began suffering from hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal thoughts as a teenager. Then they met Malidoma Patrice Some, a titiyulo, or shaman, from Burkina Faso, and began a journey that proved life-changing for Frank, challenging Western approaches to schizophrenia.

The creation and demise of Brangelina. In a piece that will upend your preconceptions both of Buzzfeed and of celebrity reporting, Anne Helen Peterson dissects the strategy of image-making behind Hollywood’s most famous couple, whose 11-year relationship coincided with the disruption of media and big cultural shifts in the relationship between celebrities and their fans.

How Americans helped the Clintons screw up Haiti. The disastrous reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake featured both Hillary and Bill Clinton in starring roles. The flawed development effort has been used to attack them, but Jonathan Katz, a veteran reporter in Haiti, explains that they were simply doing what the American people wanted: continuing a century of US neglect and exploitation.

Technology made me inhuman. In New York Magazine, Andrew Sullivan grapples with his addiction to the chronic distraction of the smartphone and explores the value of silent contemplation, particularly in a secular world where the “roar and disruption” of capitalism have replaced religion’s stillness. It’s worth the long read—and also available in print, should you crave a break from the screen.

Our best wishes for a relaxing but thought-filled weekend. Please send any news, comments, Somali ballot papers, and shamanistic rituals to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

CWS Market Review – September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016
“If being the biggest company was a guarantee of success, we’d all be
using IBM computers and driving GM cars.” – James Surowiecki

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve decided, yet again, to forgo raising interest rates. This is what the market had expected, and more importantly, it’s what the market wanted. Stocks responded by rallying Wednesday afternoon, and the buying continued into Thursday. The S&P 500 is once again not far from a new all-time high.

However, the Fed hinted that higher rates are coming. In fact, I think there’s a very good chance we’ll see a rate hike in December. Not everyone is pleased that rates are still so low. In this week’s policy statement, three members of the FOMC dissented. They want rates to go up right now.

What does this mean for us as investors? Continued low rates means that the stock market remains a good place to be. This week, we got a nice dividend increase from Microsoft. The software giant is also going to buy back $40 billion of its stock. Also on Wednesday, Bed Bath and Beyond released a blah blah and blah earnings report. The silver lining is that the stock rallied after management stuck by its full-year guidance. I’ll have all the details in a bit, but first, let’s look at what Fed did by not doing nothing.

The Fed Holds for Now, but May Raise in December

Let’s review the events leading up to this week’s Fed meeting.

On August 17, the Fed released the minutes from its July meeting. These minutes showed that the Fed was divided over the need for a rate hike. At the time, I said I was baffled that Wall Street took these minutes as a “dovish” sign. To me, it was clear that the Fed was leaning toward a rate hike. The only question was when. I wrote, “I think it’s possible that the Fed will raise rates in December or early next year.”

Then on August 26, Janet Yellen spoke at the Fed’s big conference in Jackson Hole. She conceded that the argument for higher rates was getting stronger, but she didn’t try to soothe the market’s nerves either. We often forget that the C in FOMC stands for committee, and that a Fed chair needs to build a consensus. At the time, I wrote, “I think the Fed is leaning towards raising rates, but they want more evidence that it’s safe to do so.”

After that, the data started talking. On September 1, the ISM report for August came in at just 49.4. Any reading below 50 means the manufacturing sector is contracting. The next day was Jobs Day. The government said that the U.S. economy created 151,000 net new jobs in August, which was below forecasts.

If I had to guess, I’d say it was these two reports that tipped the balance inside the FOMC toward the dovish side. That is, for September, but not for the rest of the year.

On September 12, Fed Governor Lael Brainard spoke. This was the last speech before the Fed’s September meeting. Brainard has long been known to be a dove, and it was believed that if she had turned towards favoring a rate hike, then it was definitely on. Instead, Brainard gave a very dovish address.

One important part of her talk jumped out at me. She noted that the strong dollar had already acted as a rate increase on the economy. Of course, a strong dollar isn’t the same thing as a rate hike, but the economic effects can be nearly identical. She said that the 20% rise in the U.S. dollar from June 2014 to January 2016 could have been the equivalent of a 200-basis-point rate increase! That’s a remarkable statistic.

After Brainard’s speech, Goldman Sachs cut their odds of a rate hike from 40% to 25%. I still thought that was too high. Interestingly, at the same time, Goldman raised their odds of a December hike from 30% to 40%.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise for me to learn that the Fed passed on raising rates this week. The vote was 7-3. All three dissenting votes were from reserve bank presidents, as opposed to Fed governors. (Governors rarely dissent. The last one was eleven years ago.) We can assume that the “hike now” caucus is at three and growing. I would guess that Bill Dudley may become the next member.

In the Fed’s economic projections, 14 of the 17 FOMC members (not everyone votes) said they expect rates to go up before the end of the year. The median dot now expects one more rate hike this year, plus two more next year, three more in 2018 and another three in 2019. If that’s right, that would give the Fed funds a target range of 2.5% to 2.75% by the end of 2019.

The policy statement said, “The committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for further evidence.” Note that that’s nearly identical to what I said a few weeks ago.

There’s another Fed meeting in November. While Janet Yellen has stressed that all meetings are “live” meetings, it’s very doubtful they’ll raise in November. For one, it’s only a few days before the election. Also, it’s a one-day meeting. The December is a two-day affair, and it will be followed by a Yellen press conference.

I want to stress to you how much the thinking inside the Fed has changed. Consider this. One year ago, the FOMC member thought interest rates would be at 3.4% by the end of 2018. Now, one year later, that forecast is down to 1.9%. So if it’s going to start raising rates soon, they don’t expect to be doing it for very long.

The immediate effect of low rates is that it helps the stock market. Nearly half the stocks in the S&P 500 yield more than 2%. Compare that with a two-year Treasury, which gets you 0.77%. Don’t mistake that for a prediction that stocks will go up, it’s looking at the numbers at realizing that a balanced portfolio of high-quality is the smart play. Now let’s look at some recent news from our Buy List stocks.

John Stumpf Heads to Capitol Hill

This week, Wells Fargo (WFC) CEO John Stumpf headed to Capitol Hill to testify at hearings regarding the massive fraud committed by the bank. It was tough watching. The senators, of course, love to grandstand—it’s what they do—but Stumpf’s leadership thoroughly earned this grilling. Boy was he grilled.

When Stumpf should have been more apologetic, he turned legalistic. I understand the approach, but he needed to make it clear that the bank was sorry and had learned its lesson. Moreover, Wells needs to show how it’s working to regain the public’s trust. Senator Elizabeth Warren called him “gutless.” That’s not what you want to see.

I’ll say again: Stumpf must go. Wells can survive this, but they need new leadership. The stock also got dinged this week when it was downgraded by JPMorgan (like they’re ones to judge). The overall loss in shares of WFC isn’t overwhelming, but the loss of prestige is distressing. They used to be one of the good guys. Wells is due to report Q3 earnings in three weeks.

Bed Bath & Beyond Disappoints

On Wednesday, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) reported fiscal Q2 earnings of $1.11 per share. That was five cents below Wall Street’s estimates. Frankly, this was a lackluster quarter for BBBY in what’s been a lackluster year. For comparison, the home-furnishings company earned $1.21 per share in last year’s Q2.

For this year’s Q2, net sales fell 0.2% to $2.988 billion. The key to watch is comparable sales, which dropped by 1.2%. The company had been projecting an increase of 0% to 1%. What really helped Bed Bath this quarter was its online presence (remember the One Kings Lane acquisition). Comparable sales from what the company calls “digital channels” were up over 20%. But in-store comparable sales fell “in the low single-digit percentage range” for Q2.

Bed Bath continues to buy back tons of its own stock. Last quarter, they spent $121 million buying 2.7 million shares of BBBY. They still have $2 billion left in the current authorization. Given how the stock has performed, the company has spent a huge amount of money on a stock that hasn’t done much.

The good news is that Bed Bath is standing by its previous full-year earnings forecast of $4.50 to $5.00 per share. The company has already earned $1.91 per share for the first half of the year. Bed Bath & Beyond is not in a strong position this year.

Microsoft Raises Its Dividend by 8%

In the CWS Market Review from two weeks ago, I told you Microsoft (MSFT) would probably soon raise its dividend. I was right. On Tuesday, the software giant raised its quarterly dividend by 8%. The payout rose from 36 cents to 39 cents per share.

Microsoft continues to operate well in a difficult environment. In the last earnings report, Microsoft beat estimates by 11 cents per share. Their cloud business continues to do very well.

Microsoft also announced a $40 billion share-purchase plan. Based on Thursday’s closing price, Microsoft now yields 2.7%. That’s over 100 basis points more than the 10-year Treasury. I’m keeping my Buy Below price on Microsoft at $59 per share.

That’s all for now. Next week is the final week of the third quarter. Can you believe we’re already three-fourths done with 2016? On Thursday, we’ll get the second revision to Q2 GDP. The initial report showed growth of 1.2%. Last month, that was pared back to 1.1%. The Atlanta Fed’s model for Q3 is now down to 2.9%. On Friday, we’ll get data for personal income and spending. Be sure to keep checking the blog for daily updates. I’ll have more market analysis for you in the next issue of CWS Market Review!

– Eddy

Image
Named by CNN/Money as the best buy-and-hold blogger, Eddy Elfenbein is the editor of Crossing Wall Street. His free Buy List has beaten the S&P 500 eight times in the last nine years. This email was sent by Eddy Elfenbein through Crossing Wall Street.
2223 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA

#Carney on climate change, the Chan #Zuckerberg Initiative, North Korean websites

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

South Korea’s nuclear envoy makes an appeal to Beijing.Seoul is looking for stronger Chinese sanctions against North Korea, in the wake of Pyongyang’s recent nuclear weapons test. A ban on overland transportation to North Korea already sounds like a nonstarter.

Mark Carney talks climate change in Berlin. The Bank of England governor, who last year dubbed climate change “the tragedy of the horizon,” will discuss its risks for financial market stability.

New data on US home sales. The National Association of Realtorswill release new data on existing-home sales, which could indicate whether the housing market is regaining momentum.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

The governor of North Carolina declared a state of emergency for Charlotte. Pat McCrory also deployed the state’s National Guard after a prayer vigil honoring Keith Lamont Scott turned violent. Scott, an African-American man, was fatally shot this week by police. His family says he was reading a book at the time; police say he pulled a gun.

The US Senate cleared the way for a $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. It voted 71 to 27 to kill legislation that would have stopped the sale, which features General Dynamics as the main contractor. Some lawmakers fought the sale, saying it would fuel a regional arms race; they also worried about Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan pledged $3 billion to cure diseases. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will focus onsome of the world’s biggest killers, including cancer, heart disease, and infectious diseases. The Facebook founder welcomed Bill Gates to the stage during the announcement, saying he was a “role model and mentor.”

The US military investigated a possible chemical weapons attack against its troops in Iraq. It said a ISIL rocket that landed close to US troops at the Qayara air base near Mosul might have contained mustard gas. If so it would be the first chemical weapons attack on coalition forces, which are preparing to retake (paywall) Mosul from ISIL in the coming weeks.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Jenny Anderson on the US’s lagging early-childhood education problem. “Quality clearly matters, as does design: Young children need constant access to a secure attachment figure, and care centers that are not chaotic. Also, it is more developmentally appropriate for kids to play than to face a barrage of flash cards or reading tests.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Renaming places is never politically innocent. Geography, anti-colonial sentiment, and now even alphabetization are fronts toforward the interest of nationalism or multiculturalism.

Ethnic-sounding names have a disadvantage. Changing namesfor those experiencing prejudice is a means of escape from being discredited or stigmatized.

The other woman” is always the problem. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s divorce has people looking for a woman to shame rather than holding a married man accountable for going astray.

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SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

The FBI helped a child pornography site gain popularity. When it ran “Playpen” during a two-week sting operation, the dark website’smembership grew by 30%.

North Korea has only 28 websites. All domains are owned by domestic bodies, including cultural committees, maritime agencies, state media, and the state-owned airline.

Small drones helped uncover ancient Roman ruins. Exploring the rugged terrain, which is hard to navigate by foot and dangerous to venture into with planes, revealed its dense nature.

An Ottoman-era fisherman’s house was unearthed in Israel.The three-room house included artifacts like fishhooks, lead fishing weights, a stone anchor, and a bronze bell.

Tardigrade cells can be adapted to protect humans from radiation. Tinging human cells with the microscopic “water bear” protein Dsup reduced X-ray-induced damage by 40%.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tardigrade cells, and North Korean website addresses tohi@qz.com. You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitterfor updates throughout the day.

#Fed decision day, #Tesla hack, sewage as fuel

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The US Federal Reserve announces whether it will raise interest rates. Most Fed watchers think it wants more time to evaluate the economy and won’t increase rates before December. If so investors will look for hints as to when after December that might be.

The United Nations holds a conference on antimicrobial resistance. The General Assembly in New York will deliberate on the medical, economic, and security consequences of superbugs. The international body has convened on health issues only three times before: on the HIV crisis in 2011, chronic illnesses in 2011, and Ebola in 2014.

Samsung replaces its exploding phones. US users can eitherpick up a new Galaxy Note 7 or ask for a refund or a different device. The device was recalled because of its unfortunate tendency to catch fire.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Postal Savings Bank of China raised $7.4 billion after pricing its IPO at the low end. The state-owned bank originally sought to raise up to $8.1 billion in its Hong Kong IPO, but it had to pare back the size of the offering after some investors balked. Still, its offering is the world’s biggest since Alibaba’s in 2014.

The Bank of Japan kept its key interest rate at -0.1%, but overhauled some policies. It will set a “yield curve control,” under which it will buy long-term government bonds to keep 10-year bond yields at about 0%. That, it hopes, will help it better fight deflation.

Tesla updated its software after hackers remote-controlled a vehicle. Researchers in China remotely manipulated the brake system of a Model S while it was on the move, and also opened a car door without using a key. The hackers, from Keen Security Lab, shared their efforts on YouTube.

Google released an AI-centric messaging app. The much-anticipated Allo will compete against WhatsApp, Apple iMessage, and Facebook Messenger. Users can strike up a conversation with Google Assistant, an artificial-intelligence helper that, while still a work in progress, can solve math problems and translate phrases, among other tasks.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Steve LeVine on the media calling Donald Trump out on his lies. “In a way, the media is atoning for the original sin of embracing Trump, who himself understood their ‘lust for riveting stories,’ as a report by the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University put it. The industry embraced a similarly sudden change in tone during its reporting on the Vietnam War, when a tradition of accepting the US government’s point of view in conflict abroad gave way to an urgent skepticism, and in the throes of the Watergate scandal, when reporters piled on US president Richard Nixon, who ultimately resigned.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Private finance could save the planet. Former US treasury secretary Henry Paulson says we can unlock the $90 trillion (paywall) needed for green investment over the next 15 years by incentivizing the private sector to buy in.

The explosion in New York is a reminder not to exaggerate the threat of terrorism. The incompetence of the attack shows that violent extremism has become “the monopoly of the utterly unimpressive.”

The end of “Brangelina” is not a failure. Romantics may mourn the end of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s union, but the idea of lifelong marriage desperately needs an overhaul.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Donald Trump Jr.’s comparison of refugees to Skittles wasn’t particularly original. It was a feminist meme in 2014, and may have originated with a Nazi who was hanged at Nuremberg.

Toyota is making clean energy from dirty sewage. The carmaker is converting human waste to hydrogen to fuel powerful zero emissions cars.

A feline thespian is on the loose in Moscow. A touring theater company has lost the “stunningly handsome” cat that plays a crucial cameo in their play. Let’s hope he’s just been out “gallivanting,” like the character he plays.

A skeleton sees the light after 2,100 years. Divers have found a human skeleton at the Antikythera shipwreck site off the coast of Greece.

California is regulating cow farts. The state’s dairy farmers have to lower methane emissions by 40% by 2030, under an anti-climate change measure.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, handsome cats, and bovine flatulence cures tohi@qz.com. You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitterfor updates throughout the day.

#EU-#Canada deal, #Oklahoma shooting, binge-watching benefits

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The UN General Assembly begins its annual debate. This year’stheme will be sustainable development goals, with various world leaders addressing the topic in the coming days. Speakers on tapinclude US president Barack Obama, French president Francois Hollande, UK prime minister Theresa May, and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras.

US regulators issue new guidelines on self-driving cars. The rules will require automakers to meet 15 benchmarks before their autonomous vehicles can hit the road, and to make public their vehicle performance assessments so regulators and others can evaluate them. Some rules will take effect immediately, others will await public comment.

FedEx releases its quarterly results. Investors will look for news(pdf) on what kind of boost the package-delivery company has received from the recent collapse of South Korean shipping giant Hanjin, as well as any insights into the economy and the upcoming peak season.

PARTNER MESSAGE FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN

Since Abenomics has been in place in Japan the proportion of women in the workforce has risen. This is expected to lead to increased productivity and higher consumption thus helping the economy grow. Prime Minister Abe’s 28 trillion-yen stimulus package focuses on achieving Inclusive Growth through a variety of measuresincluding further improving the working environment for women.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

The EU-Canada trade deal cleared a hurdle. Proponents of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement overcame resistance in Germany’s Social Democrats party, paving the way for approval in Brussels. Critics liken the agreement to the US’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and contend both deals would lead tojob losses and lower environmental protection standards.

Uber rival Grab raised $750 million. Softbank Group led the latest funding round for the ride-hailing firm, which has a leading position in Southeast Asia, where it aims to head off competition from Uber. The company is now valued at over $3 billion.

Footage of Oklahoma police fatally shooting an unarmed black man sparked US outrage. Terence Crutcher’s SUV stalled on the way back from music appreciation class at a community college in Tulsa last week. Video from a helicopter and dashboard cams show police tazering and shooting him as he held his arms in the air.

North Korea claimed to have successfully tested rocket technology. Its news agency said the test involved a new kind of high-powered rocket engine. The nation has conducted a string of tests of potential weapons this year, including detonating a type of nuclear warhead earlier this month that could be mounted on ballistic missiles.

GoPro debuted new cameras and a drone. CEO Nick Woodmanrevealed the new products expected to make or break the company, at an event in California. Karma, the drone announced last December, was supposed to mark a radical shift in the consumer drone market—but it isn’t very different from what’s already out there.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Manu Balachandran on Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s sky-high popularity ratings two years in. Since coming to power, Modi has made foreign policy the cornerstone of his administration, traveling to as many as 42 countries and building India’s image as a regional soft power. The exercise is paying dividends at home. Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

College students are drinking to forget. Competition, stress, and job fears during the school week drive them to black out on the weekends (paywall).

Watching TV can be a kind of therapy. An abundance of shows with idiosyncratic heroes means everyone can find a character(paywall) to connect with.

The world’s most delicate sites can be hurt by preservation efforts. They lead to more tourists coming and destroying them.

MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER

The UK fintech landscape is buzzing, join Quartz in London to find out why. From new forms of community currency to fintech startups that are upending the oldest names in banking, the UK is home to some of today’s most innovative finance ideas. Join Quartz in London on Oct. 5 to explore the new players in this space and what they’re doing to meet the challenges of today’s global economy. Sign up for the free event here.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

What’s hidden inside a former Nazi airplane hangar just outside Berlin? The world’s largest indoor tropical park.

Japan’s population keeps getting grayer. It now has 10.5 million octogenarians—more than the entire population of Sweden.

There are some scary similarities between Tesla’s deadly crashes linked to Autopilot. In the two instances the system appears to have mistaken an object straight ahead for the sky.

Yale’s new application questions are revealing. They show a renewed interest in boosting diversity and inclusion.

British campaigners have laid thousands of life jackets outside Parliament. They are intended to commemorate the refugees who died trying to reach Europe.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hangover cures, and TV heroes to hi@qz.com. You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.