ISIL returns hostages to Turkey The Islamic State released 49 hostages that were seized from the Turkish consulate in June, in what President Erdogan referred to as a “pre-planned operation.” Turkey has yet to join the military coalition against ISIL for fear that it would jeopardize the lives of its captives.
Alibaba begins trading. The stock opened at $92.70 a share, 36% above its offering price. A surge in early trading gives the company a market value of roughly $240 billion, larger than the market valuation of energy giant Chevron. The shares are now trading under the ticker “BABA” on the New York Stock Exchange.
New Zealand elects prime minister for a third term Prime Minister John Key is expected to begin his third consecutive term after his National Party won 48% of the vote on Saturday. Key has led the country to record levels of prosperity but in the coming years growth is projected to fall as export prices drop and monetary conditions tighten.
Nicolas Sarkozy is back in action. The former French president announced on his Facebook page that he would return to politics, joining the race to lead the right-leaning UMP party. Sarkozy’s return may actually help the man who defeated him, Francois Hollande, whose popularity is at 13%.
Worst-case Ebola projections get even worse. A model created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted there could be 550,000 or more cases of the virus if aid and intervention are not ramped up. Anticipating the infection’s spread has proven challenging; a World Health Organization spokesman said WHO’s prediction last month of 20,000 cases is already outdated.
Many of the iPhone shoppers in line outside Apple stores in New York and Tokyo are Chinese. With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus delayed in China because of regulatory hurdles, as many as 5 million iPhones could be smuggled back into China (where they were made) before it’s released there. China is Apple’s second largest market by revenue.
Russia sanctions force Exxon Mobil to hit pause on Arctic oil drilling. Just days after new US and EU sanctions were declared, Exxon halted work on a project that aimed to extract an estimated 9 billion barrels of oil from beneath the Kara Sea, sources told Bloomberg. Exxon has eight more days to cease all arctic exploration work with Russia’s OAO Rosneft—a partnership that aimed to solve Exxon’s falling production rates and modernize Russia’s aging extraction operations.
The Earth turned up the heat this summer. Globally, it was the hottest summer on record, warmer by 0.71 degrees Celsius than in 1998, previously the hottest summer, according to the US National Climatic Data Center. If the mercury stays high over the next few months, 2014 could replace 2010 as the hottest year on record.