#ISIL’s latest blow, #Google rides over #Uber, the other Vladimir #Putin

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Trump heads to Mexico. The Republican nominee accepted an invitation to meet privately with President Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City. He’ll then head to Arizona to give a speech clarifying his stance on immigration.

Spain votes on forming a new government. Acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy isn’t likely to win the needed parliamentary votes to break the political gridlock, leaving the country bracing for its third general election in December.

The FBI releases its report on Hillary Clinton. The US bureau plans to make public the findings of its investigation of the Democratic presidential nominee’s email server. The report, sent to the Justice Department in July, recommended no charges against Clinton.


A key ISIL leader died in Aleppo. US-led airstrikes on the Syrian province caused the death of Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, who the Pentagon describes as the “principal architect of ISIL external operations.” Adnani regularly encouraged his followers to carry out attacks on individual civilians in France, like the one that killed a French police commander in June.

Typhoon Lionrock struck Japan hard. Airlines canceled dozens of domestic flights and railways halted service as the tropical storm passed through northern Japan, which is still recovering from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Local broadcaster NHK reported thatnine people died at a nursing home that flooded.

Ethnic minorities in Myanmar convened for peace talks.Representatives from 17 ethnic groups agreed to put down their arms and hold preliminary peace talks, led by state counsellor Aung Sang Suu Kyi and UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon. Ban also pushed for the government to address the plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority the state does not recognize.

Google stepped on Uber’s turf. In May the company began a pilot program in San Francisco that allowed commuters to use its Waze mapping program to connect with each other. It’s set to formally launch in the city this fall.


Could your city use an extra $37 million? Communities around the globe are unlocking savings and efficiencies through the adoption of smart infrastructure technology. Barcelona’s connected city initiative has resulted in annual savings of $37 million from smart lighting, $58 million from smart water measures, and $50 million increased cash flow from parking. Other cities are following suit.Advertisement


Thu Huong-Ha on how today’s two biggest role models for young readers are total wusses. “Pre-pubescent loser Greg Heffley is irreverent, whiny, and mediocre in school. He has few moral scruples, and his main activities are sarcasm and complaining. Hardly the kind of friend you’d want for your kids, or even for yourself, yet he’s one of the most popular characters in fiction.” Read more here.


Trump has made hate speech normal. The US Republican nominee’s legacy will be giving people permission to make baseless, bigoted comments in public without fear of repercussion.

Bitcoin’s enemies benefit the most from its existence. Big banks are leveraging its innovations, even as infighting among its usersjeopardizes the currency’s future.

Moving to a new city will not make you happier. Starting over in a new town just makes your life different, not better.


Climate slums are a thing. US legislation that makes flood insurance expensive is hurting affected inland working-class neighborhoods more than rich coastal areas.

The US Senate has a candy stash. Stocking a drawer full of sweets in one of the Senate chamber’s 100 desks is a tradition dating back to 1965.

Tasmanian devils are beating face cancer. The animals arebecoming immune to the facial tumor common to their species.

Sixty percent of South Asia’s groundwater is too contaminated to use. Salinity and arsenic are making groundwater in a major regional river basin undrinkable and unusable for irrigation, researchers found.

Vladimir Putin was caught trespassing. Not the one who runs Russia. Police officials in West Palm Beach, Florida caught a man by the same name refusing to leave a supermarket.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, childhood role models, and Vladimir Putins tohi@qz.com. You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitterfor updates throughout the day.


EU vs. Apple, Japan typhoon, mealworm margarine

Good morning, Quartz readers!


The EU rules on Apple’s tax arrangements with Ireland. The EU’s antitrust regulator is expected to find (paywall) that the arrangements violate state-aid rules, and order Apple to pay a certain amount back to Ireland. The decision may exacerbate controversy about European probes targeting American companies.

A powerful typhoon hits Japan. Typhoon Lionrock is projected to strike the northern Tohoku region, which experienced major damagein the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Prime minister Shinzo Abe is cutting short his trip to Kenya to be back in the country before the storm hits.

Justin Trudeau begins his weeklong trip in China. Talks during the Canadian prime minister’s visit will likely yield pacts related to business and the environment, but experts don’t expect much movement toward a free trade deal.


Rescue workers saved thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean. In one of the busiest days of life-saving in recent years, Italy’s coastguard and the EU’s border agency brought about 6,500 individuals, mostly from Somalia and Eritrea, to safety as they fled from Libya in unseaworthy boats. Favorable weather and a calm sea are encouraging dangerous journeys by migrants.

Mondelez ended its bid to buy Hershey. The company behind Cadbury and Oreo said it’s no longer attempting to purchase the Pennsylvania-based candy maker, two months after Hershey rejected its $23 billion offer. Had the deal gone through, Mondelez would have become the largest confectioner in the world.

Kim Jong-un reportedly killed two officials. South Korean media cited unnamed sources stating the dictator executed the nation’s agriculture and education ministers this month. The purges, if they indeed took place, follow a string of defections of North Korean diplomats to other countries.

The world’s favorite candy man died. Gene Wilder, who played the titular character in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, passed away at age 83 from complications from Alzheimer’s. His work, which also includes films with Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor, reached a new generation after internet users turned his condescending glare into a ubiquitous meme.


Marc Bain on why American kids are all about leggings. “Kids are rejecting structured garments and wearing only soft, unrestrictive clothing. These demands about clothes aren’t exactly new—young people have complained about bothersome clothes for ages—but earlier generations of children begged to wear jeans instead of more formal dresses or trousers. Today’s children are looking for something that’s even more casual and comfy than traditional denim.”Read more here.


Mormon women can be feminists, too. They have a long historyof challenging the church’s “patriarchal order,” even at the risk of excommunication.

Go ahead and Google your symptoms. WebMD is still no replacement for a real-life doctor, but online research can help usfeel a little more in control (paywall).

Bring back communal bathing. Public bathhouses could help cure the loneliness of contemporary urbanites.


Smiling may not make us happier after all. A major replication project questions the theory, which dates back to Charles Darwin’s era.

Bugs are wriggling their way into our condiments. Mealwormscould soon be an ingredient in margarine and vegetable oil.

More parents are calling vaccines for kids “unnecessary.” In 2013, 87% of US pediatricians say they had parents decline vaccinations, up from 75% a decade earlier.

Scientists think they know what killed our ancient ancestor Lucy. Scans of her skeleton suggest that she fell about 12 m (40 ft) from a tree.

iPads are as good as sedatives at calming kids before surgery.Parents and nurses even prefer tablets to drugs.

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

Weekend edition—The burkini patriarchy, 23andMe’s race problem, the “Millennial Whoop”

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Centuries of patriarchal history were captured in this week’s pictures of policemen on the beach in Nice, France, forcing a woman to take off her shirt and headscarf to comply with the so-called “burkini ban.”

Across countries and cultures, women have been seen as offensive for showing their ankles, necks, faces, hair, arms, legs—or, in turn, for failing to do so. Shaving is immoral. Not shaving is dirty. Wearing make-up is immodest. Not wearing it is sloppy. High heels are provocative. Flat shoes are unprofessional.

In the 1920s, US law required women to wear a full bathing suit—and a record-breaking swimmer was arrested for showing her knees on the beach. A century later, a full bathing suit got a Muslim woman in Cannes fined; the ticket she was given literally said her outfit was not respectful of “bonnes moeurs,” good morals.

Men, or societies, that force women to undress are no better than or different from those that force them to cover up. What freedom or progress is there in armed men demanding that a woman take off her clothes? This wasn’t about protecting France’s secularism; it was about a man’s right to police a woman’s body—still.

Naturally, there was Islamophobia at the core of this, too. Nuns, Orthodox Jewish women, and surfers were not fined. But before a court overturned the ban, its apologists resorted to absurdities to justify it: Nice’s deputy mayor Rudy Salles told the BBC that even Catholic nuns shouldn’t be allowed to wear their habits on the beach.

The message is clear: no woman’s right is sacred enough to get in the way. Even as women might be just about to run the world, their bodies are still the easiest battlefield, their freedom still the first casualty.—Annalisa Merelli


Down with the political press conference. Journalists are dinging Hillary Clinton for not holding enough pressers. In fact, as Tim Fernholz clearly demonstrates, these performances are largely a waste of time that do nothing to hold politicians accountable—and Clinton’s one-on-one interviews have revealed far more.

The last-ditch call from the Mediterranean. When refugees find their boats sinking—or are simply scared they will—their only recourse is often a satphone with one number stored on speed-dial. Annalisa Merelli reports on the well-oiled rescue protocol that saves tens of thousands of lives each year.

23andMe has a race problem. In a wickedly funny (and razor-sharp) critique of the gene-sequencing service, Euny Hong recounts how she discovered serious gaps in its database—like the fact that ithas all of 76 Koreans. “How about a disclaimer attached to the ancestry part of the report?” she asks. “Like, ‘for entertainment purposes only?’”

Food in the US is safer than it seems. E. coli, norovirus, salmonella… there’s been a rash of food scares. But they’re actually signs of a food safety system that is, at last, starting to work properly, Chase Purdy explains.

The neglected America between the coasts. The floods that killed 13 and made thousands homeless in Baton Rouge, Louisiana got little national attention. Sarah Kendzior argues that declining local media and disaster fatigue mean many Americans know more about troubles overseas than in their own backyard.


It’s Quartz’s flagship conference: about the next billion people to come online for the first time, and what that means for the internet and every industry that touches it. Listen to the founders of Airbnb and LinkedIn; leaders from Andreessen Horowitz, Coursera, and Qualcomm; and people who are bringing technologies like blockchain and robotics to the next level. RSVP here with the discount codedailybriefsub to join us in San Francisco.


The “Millennial Whoop” has infected music. It’s a simple alternation between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, and it will sound familiar to you, because it’s in pop songs everywhere. Patrick Metzger on The Patterning documents the prevalence of this viral melodic snippet and looks at how these phrases create familiarity—a key to the popularity of songs dating back at least to European classical scales and chord progressions.

How America fails troubled teenagers. Treatment centers meant to rehabilitate teens with behavioral and substance-abuse problems often exacerbate them instead by over-medicating, isolating, and physically punishing their residents. The Huffington Post’s Sebastian Murdock reports on the “tough love” that is ultimately just tough.

Why you need baking soda in earthquakes. Beyond broken bones and internal bleeding, victims of natural disasters are likely to suffer kidney failure. For Stat, Eric Boodman explains how crushed muscles overwhelm the kidneys, and how the humble cooking ingredient saves 15% of earthquake survivors before they’re even freed from the rubble.

The world’s most exclusive restaurant? In an almost fantastical tale, the New Yorker’s Nick Paumgarten profiles ultimate locavore chef Damon Baehrel and savors his thinly sliced daylily tubers stacked between wild honey mushrooms and drizzled with dried milkweed pods cooked in birch sap. Baehrel says his tables are booked until 2025. Are they?

We could have cheaper drugs. In the past 10 years, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative has gotten six new treatments approved—from malaria to sleeping sickness—and has another 26 drugs in development, all for just $290 million. Big Pharma typically spends over $1 billion getting a single drug to market. In Nature, Amy Maxmen asks whether the initiative’s process could upend the pharmaceutical industry.


Seeing the present from the future. This week’s discovery of a potentially habitable planet upends the way we think about a post-Earth humanity, a paradigm shift that doesn’t surprise Chuck Klosterman. The author’s But What if We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past, wonders which of today’s fundamental truths—from gravity to great art—are tomorrow’s naive beliefs… if tomorrow is 2516. Publisher’s Weekly called it Klosterman’s “most thought-provoking and memorable book yet.”

Our best wishes for a relaxing but thought-filled weekend. Please send any news, comments, baking soda, and spare Damon Baehrel resevations to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

CWS Market Review – August 26, 2016

CWS Market Review

August 26, 2016

“Reversion to the mean is the iron rule of financial markets.” – Jack Bogle

I’m enjoying a little time off in sunny Florida. Apparently, the rest of Wall Street is on vacation as well, as the stock market continues its lazy summer.

The market’s daily volatility ain’t just low, it barely registers a pulse. Since Brexit, the S&P 500 has now gone 42 straight sessions without a daily decline greater than 0.7%. Compare that with the first 42 days of this year, when it happened 15 times!

We also had a very nice earnings report this week from HEICO, our top-performing Buy List stock this year. The company raised guidance for the third time this year, although the shares pulled back on Thursday. I’m actually raising my Buy Below price for HEICO. I’ll have more details in a bit.

Wall Street is looking ahead of Janet Yellen’s speech in Jackson Hole. The speech will come later today. I’ll discuss what it means for us. But first, let’s look at what’s happening just beneath the surface of a very quiet stock market.

Wall Street Warms Up to More Risk

In last week’s issue, I discussed the “low quality rally.” I want to expand on that subject a little bit this week. Standard & Poor’s runs a “High Quality” index for the bluest of the blue chips in the S&P 500. There’s an ETF geared to this index, with the symbol SPHQ. I like to track how well the SPHQ is doing against the broader market. I think of this as a quick-and-easy way of reading the market’s mind, particularly the market’s willingness to take on risk.

High-quality stocks have led the stock market almost continuously since late 2009. But that outperformance really took off at the end of the last year, and continued into the first few weeks of this year. If you recall, 2016 started out as the worst year on record for stocks. (How times have changed!) By February 11, the market was down more than 10% for the year.

What happened is that everyone got scared and rushed, insanely, to own blue chips at the expense of nearly everything else. Since April, however, high quality has lagged the market. There are two things going on here. One is the unwinding of the fear trend that sent everyone rushing to own high quality. Secondly, for the first time in a long time, investors are willing to shoulder more risk. Investors need to understand that this is a key turning point for the market.

When the market becomes less afraid of risk, it starts out well, and usually ends very badly. Don’t worry. We don’t have anything to be afraid of on that score. Our Buy List stocks are very high quality. However, we may hit a frustrating patch of underperformance. Again, there’s no need to worry. To every thing there is a season—and that includes junky stocks.

What’s interesting is that we see this same trend being acted out in the junk bond market. When analyzing the market, it’s always important to see if we can spot a similar trend being played out in a different market. At the beginning of the year, everyone was freaking out as they rushed into high-quality stocks; they were also running away from junk bonds. No one wanted any part of anything that had the slightest scent of risk. Junk-bond spreads (meaning the extra yield compared with investment-grade bonds) soared.

The high-yield carnage was also driven by the dramatic plunge in oil prices. Remember that oil will flow as long as credit flows. But once oil gets below around $35 per barrel, lenders get very nervous and demand a greater premium for the honor of using their capital. The oil and junk-bond markets both hit their lows on February 11, along with the stock market. Since then, everything has reversed course. It’s no coincidence that high-quality started to lag a few weeks later.

Here’s the key point I want to convey: oil, stock, high-yield spreads and daily volatility are all interrelated. Many markets, but they all reflect one thing. When daily volatility is so low, there’s more pressure to take on more risk. That means lower junk-bond spreads and lagging performance for investments like SPHQ. When oil rises, lenders are more eager to fund new projects, so yield spreads tighten.

What does this all mean? As investors, we shouldn’t view risk appetite as a good or bad event. It’s more like the tides: it just happens. But I encourage you not to climb the risk ladder in search of better returns. Stick with sound stocks at a good price like you’ll find on our Buy List.

The World Await Yellen’s Speech in Jackson Hole

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak later today at the Fed’s Jackson Hole conference. The title of the speech is “The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Toolkit.” This has Wall Street a bit nervous. In previous years the Fed has used the Jackson Hole to announce important policy changes. It’s expected that she’ll sound some hawkish notes, but if you’ve been paying careful attention, that’s pretty much where she’s been this year.

I think the Fed is leaning towards raising rates but they want more evidence that it’s safe to do so. Bill Dudley, the head of the New York Fed, said the central bank could raise rates as soon as next month. John Williams of the San Francisco Fed said he’d hike right now.

The fact is that the economy is improving. The Atlanta Fed GDPNow expects 3.4% growth for Q3. The unemployment rate is holding under 5% and wages are starting to improve. That’s roughly what full employment looks like. The futures market now expects a rate increase in December. Interestingly, they don’t see another rate hike for several months after that.

Still, the bond market seems pretty calm. The two-year yield is good to watch to gauge the bond market’s view of the Fed. The two-year yield has gradually climbed up to 0.79%. That’s up but remember that at the start of the year, the two-year had been yielding over 1%.

I think Janet Yellen will hint that more rate hikes are coming without saying anything concrete. My hunch is that she wants to convey that rates are going up while trying to reassure investors that the pain will be minimal. Now let’s look at our one Buy List earnings report from this week.

HEICO Earns 62 Cents per Share

On Wednesday, HEICO (HEI) reported fiscal Q3 earnings of 62 cents per share. That’s up 22% from last year’s Q3. HEICO isn’t widely followed enough to have a true earnings consensus, but I did see it reported as 59 cents per share. For the year so far, earnings have risen 18% to $1.64 per share.

Sales for the quarter rose 19.1% to $356.1 million. That’s a company record. Sales for the year so far are up 18% to $1,013.0 million.

Laurans A. Mendelson, HEICO’s Chairman and CEO, commented on the Company’s third-quarter results, stating, “Our record quarterly results in consolidated net sales, operating income and net income reflect the impact of our profitable fiscal 2016 and 2015 acquisitions, as well as organic growth within both the Flight Support Group and Electronic Technologies Group.


As we look ahead to the remainder of fiscal 2016, we anticipate organic growth within our commercial-aviation aftermarket replacement parts and specialty-products product lines moderated by softer demand for certain component repair and overhaul parts and services. Further, we foresee modest full-year organic growth within the Electronic Technologies Group based on current forecasted product demand. During the remainder of fiscal 2016, we plan to continue our focus on new product development, further market penetration, executing our acquisition strategies and maintaining our financial strength.

Based on our current economic visibility, we are increasing our estimated consolidated fiscal 2016 year-over-year growth in net income to 13% – 15%, up from our prior growth estimate of 12% – 14%. In addition, we continue to estimate consolidated fiscal 2016 year-over-year growth in net sales to approximate 15% – 17%, our consolidated operating margin to approximate 18.5% – 19.0%, depreciation and amortization expense of approximately $62 million, capital expenditures to approximate $32 million and cash flow from operations to approximate $220 million.”

This is the third time this year that HEICO has increased its earnings guidance. The company only provides guidance for net income, not earnings per share. Let’s do a little math.

Last year, HEICO earned $1.97 per share. That means an increase of 13% to 15% works out to a range of $2.23 to $2.27 per share. However, HEICO’s shares are 0.4% higher this year, so that will dilute that range by about one penny per share. Since the company has already made $1.64 per share so far this year, we can expect 58 to 62 cents per share for Q4. Wall Street’s consensus, such as it is for little HEICO, was for 64 cents per share. As a result, shares of HEICO lost about 3.4% on Thursday. This week, I’m raising my Buy Below on HEICO to $76 per share.

Buy List Updates

I wanted to pass along some updates on our Buy List stocks.

This week, I want to lower my Buy Below on Alliance Data Systems (ADS) to $220 per share. ADS has pulled back since it had a pretty good earnings report last month. I’m not worried about ADS.

In June, Bad Bath & Beyond (BBBY) said it was buying One Kings Lane. This was part of the company’s effort to beef up its online business. Since the deal was so small, BBBY didn’t have to disclose the price it paid, but we did know that at one time One Kings Lane was valued at $900 million. This week, Recode reported that BBBY paid less than $30 million for One Kings Lane. In other words, it was practically a steal compared to its peak value.

This week, Hormel Foods (HRL) was upgraded by Credit Suisse and Edward Jones. The Credit Suisse analyst raised his price target to $43 per share.

Shares of Express Scripts (ESRX) got dinged for 6% on Thursday. The concern is that Mylan’s plan to cut the cost of EpiPen could hurt their bottom line. Mylan has blamed the “middleman” for higher drug prices. That’s a charge ESRX has strongly denied.

That’s all for now. Next week is the last full trading week before Labor Day. I think we can expect volatility to increase once traders get back from the Hamptons. On Monday, the government will report on personal income and spending. On Thursday we’ll get the ISM and productivity reports. Then on Friday, we’ll get the August jobs report. 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

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

#Russia-#Japan talks, #Apple security, smashing printers

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Russia and Japan hold peace treaty talks. In Moscow diplomats from both countries will enter the third round of talks on their bilateral peace treaty, and plan to discuss four disputed islands off Hokkaido that are currently controlled by Russia. A treaty would formally resolve lingering World War 2 hostilities between the nations.

Japan hosts a conference on African development.Infrastructure projects will be the focal point of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, taking place this weekend in Nairobi. With China’s growing influence on the continent, Tokyo wants to make its presence felt.

Janet Yellen gives a highly anticipated speech. Investors will be scouring Yellen’s remarks in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday for clues about a possible rate hike in September. A Federal Reserve official said a rate hike could come in the “not too distant future.” Emerging markets have bounced back in anticipation.


Volkswagen said it will compensate US dealers. The German carmaker announced a tentative settlement that requires it to pay out more than $1.2 billion to 650 American dealers for losses incurred over the company’s diesel emissions scandal.

Al-Shabab gunmen attacked a beach restaurant in Mogadishu.At least six people died in the attack, the latest in a series by the al-Qaeda-linked group, which aims to topple Somalia’s Western-backed government. In January the group killed 17 people at a restaurant on the capital’s Lido beach.

The vice chairman of Lotte Group was found dead hours before questioning by prosecutors. Lee In-won appeared to have hung himself from a tree using his necktie. He was a key leader in the South Korean conglomerate, which has been hit hard by concerns surrounding a criminal probe.

Apple boosted security on iPhones and iPads. After a renowned United Arab Emirates dissident’s phone was attacked using a new hacking technique, the company released an update to guard against such efforts. Earlier this month, Apple fixed a separate bug that allowed someone to take control of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch remotely.

Singapore’s air quality reached unhealthy levels due to haze from Indonesian land-clearing fires. Last year the annual fires conspired with dry El Nino conditions to create record levels of pollution in the city-state. Indonesia has made some progress in reducing the number of fires this dry season, but nevertheless Singapore is once again covered by a thick layer of smoke.


Blue skies, mountain air
It’s a fine time to ponder
Inflation targets


Leslie Josephs on the tricks travel websites use to make you spend more. “Hotel rates aren’t increasing much and airfares have dropped, so the competition is on for traveler dollars. Your favorite aggregators and travel sites are trying out lots of small tweaks to make you take out your credit card and actually buy something.”Read more here.


Eating three meals a day is silly. Traditional mealtimes have little do with with your actual metabolic needs, and might actually bemaking you sick.

It’s time to stop describing books as “trashy.” Women shouldn’t have to apologize for enjoying something lowbrow—men certainly don’t.

The US needs a memorial for lynching victims. The country would benefit from an honest and lasting acknowledgment of what Americans have done to other Americans.


People prefer food that reflects their values. Our brains are wired to make us think humanely raised meat tastes better.

Smashing printers is all the rage. Inspired by the 1999 film Office Space, companies are offering employees the chance to take a bat to their printer as a team-building exercise (paywall).

It can take 12 years for endangered species to be listed for protection. Some 42 species went extinct between 1973 and 1995 due to delays in the listing process.

Indians are no longer the UK’s largest immigrant group. Poleshave replaced them as the biggest group of foreign-born UK residents for the first time since officials started counting in 2000.

Climate change has it in for monarch butterflies. Severe storms are destroying the Mexican forests where they hibernate.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, trashy books, and printer-smashing videos to hi@qz.comYou can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

South Asia trade talks, Brazil impeachment trial, tattoo hair

Good morning, Quartz readers!


South Asia finance ministers meet in Islamabad. Country representatives will discuss trade promotion, as well as financial, banking, and investment opportunities in the region. Due to tensions with Pakistan, however, India’s finance minister will send a representative instead of attending the two-day conference.

Angela Merkel visits the Czech Republic. The German chancellor will discuss Turkey’s role in the refugee crisis with Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka as part of her post-Brexit European tour. A number of demonstrations are planned in the country, which has seen a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment.

Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment trial begins. Brazil’s suspended president has been charged with falsifying the national budget to make its deficit appear smaller. Her supporters and detractors have attempted to shape public opinion ahead of the trial.


The American University of Afghanistan in Kabul was attacked.Eyewitnesses described a scene of terror, with students fleeing from an explosion, followed by gunshots. Twelve people died and dozens suffered injuries in the assault. Two assailants armed with guns and explosives were killed, but no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Turkey launched its biggest offensive yet against ISIL. Turkish troops and tanks encountered almost no resistance when they entered Jarablus, ISIL’s last foothold on the Turkish border. The effort is part of a US-backed initiative to fight the militant group.

The death toll in Italy’s earthquake rose reached 247. Towns in Umbria, Lazio, and Marche were destroyed in the recent quake, and authorities are still searching for survivors. An earthquake of similar magnitude struck Myanmar yesterday (Aug. 24), killing three and destroying scores of ancient temples.

Colombia reached a peace deal with FARC rebels. The historic agreement, which ends the country’s 52-year war, was reached afterfour years of negotiations. Now begins a feverish campaign to ratify the agreement, which includes a withdrawal of troops, rural development, and political participation for the rebels.

Iranian vessels harassed a US warship near the Strait of Hormuz. The incident took place on Tuesday, a US defense officialsaid yesterday (Aug. 24), adding it “could have led to further escalation.” Whether it was ordered by Tehran or undertaken by rogue commanders remains unclear.


A huge contingent of Japanese businesses will visit Nairobi this August. Approximately 2,000 Japanese company representatives, including 80 c-suite, will be in Nairobi for the sixth TICAD, where they’ll share industry insights into tech, infrastructure, and energy trends with African development partners. Attendees’ collective expertise will be crucial to building sustainable development partnerships in the region.


Drugmaker shares fall
Price control fears rise. One shock
EpiPen can’t cure


Michael Tabb on humanity’s best shot at seeing life outside our solar system. “NASA knows there are billions of Earth-sized exoplanets out there, many of which could (for better or worse) host life. But until we can travel faster than the speed of light, we’ll never actually be able to reach most of them. With the discovery of Proxima b, an Earth-like planet just 4.2 light years away, that could change.”Read more here.


Let’s not eulogize office culture just yet. For many, working from home has blurred the distinction between a flexible work schedule and a life that’s mostly work.

Fat white men wearing speedos on the beach should be a crime. Never mind burkinis, outlaw that instead—”for the sake of our traumatized children.”

Don’t write off the movie remake. Producers desperately avoid describing films as “reboots,” but some of the greatest movies are reimagined classics.


Qatar’s oil boom created a booming art industry. Too bad it crashed when oil prices bottomed out at $28 dollars a barrel last year.

Magic has gone mainstream. More and more people are turning to mysticism and the occult to fill spiritual gaps in their lives, making ‘mysticore’ a new norm.

A Filipino fisherman hoarded the world’s largest pearl. He kept the precious 75-pound jewel for 10 years as a good luck charm.

Tattoos are being used to disguise hair loss. Tiny dots fromscalp micro-pigmentation can mimic hair follicles on bald heads.

To ward off terrorism the Italian government is giving teens a €500 cultural bonus. It hopes the money—which can be spent on theaters, museums, and concerts—will keep them from becoming radicalized.

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

#Merkel’s post-#Brexit tour, Typhoon #Mindulle, empathetic Danes

Good morning, Quartz readers!


John Kerry travels to Nigeria, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia. The US secretary of state will meet with foreign ministers on issues ranging from counterterrorism to economic stability. Meanwhile, US president Barack Obama will visit flood-damaged Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where at least 13 people have died and thousands have lost their homes.

The US commerce department reports on sales of new homes in July. Economists surveyed expect a 2% drop from last month, but that would still leave sales of single-family homes slightly above their second-quarter average—and indicate the recovery is still intact.

Remembering the victims of slavery. UNESCO’s “International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition”marks a 1791 uprising of slaves in Haiti that became a turning point for the establishment of universal human rights. Researchers estimate that today some 21 million people remain in slavery.


Angela Merkel began her post-Brexit tour. The German chancellor kicked off a week of intense diplomacy with core EU allies, including Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and French president Francois Hollande. The meetings are part of her preparation for a summit of 27 EU countries in September to discuss the future of European integration. The UK isn’t invited.

Typhoon Mindulle struck Japan. Two deaths and dozens of injuries were reported amid heavy rains and strong winds. Authoritiescanceled hundreds of flights to and from Tokyo (which took a direct hit), warned of flooding and landslides, and evacuated a commuter train that tilted after the earth beneath the rails gave way.

More fallout for Ryan Lochte. A week after Lochte was accused by Brazilian authorities of lying about an alleged robbery in Rio, Speedo announced it was cutting ties with the US swimmer, calling his behavior counter to the brand’s values. Three other companies—Ralph Lauren, Syneron-Candela, and Airweave—quickly followed suit.

The Philippines counted the toll of its war on drugs. President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to rid the country of drug dealers when he took office in June. Since then, more than 700 people have been killed in drug-related police operations, and over a thousand have been murdered by vigilantes, the country’s top police official announced.


Calm markets ease up,
Greater wealth is shared by all,
But mostly Bill Gates


Anne Quito on fixing the most annoying feature of video calls.“Office workers who embrace the flexibility and productivity of working from home frequently rely on videoconferencing services to ‘call in’ to meetings—only to be distracted by their own physical flaws, bad hair days, and under-eye circles, which appear with awful clarity on screen. For the designers trying to fix it, this nagging distraction even has a name: the appearance barrier.” Read more here.


Destroying history should be a war crime. The trial of an Islamist fighter charged with ruining parts of the fabled city of Timbuktuacknowledges the sanctity of our cultural heritage.

Women drink to deal with sexism. Society’s unrealistic expectations and ingrained misogyny are driving women to the bottle.

TV shows are terrible at showing text exchanges. Directors need to cut the cheesy phone screen and emoji shots, and trust viewers to connect the dots.


Hey Siri, it’s Streisand, not Streizand. Tim Cook agreed to fix the pronunciation by Apple’s personal assistant of the iconic singer’s name after Streisand called him to complain.

Japan sells the most physical music in the world. The island nation’s large aging population, averse to digital downloads, prefers to browse its 6,000 music stores.

Ramen noodles have replaced cigarettes as a prison commodity. Food cost cuts in overcrowded US prisons are making the noodles a prized currency.

Nikola Tesla dreamed up killer drones a century ago. The inventor outlined a destructive wireless drone-like device in an 1898 patent filing.

Empathy training is a vital part of Denmark’s national curriculum. Schoolchildren learn to process their emotional responses in weekly sessions.

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