Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—central bank action, Yum! loses appetite, regrown memories

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What to watch for today

Will the US jobs cheer continue? Initial jobless claims will offer clues into the strength of the US labor market recovery.

Big shakeup at Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer is reportedly looking to reorganize the company into software and devices divisions, a move that may involve moving a lot of high-ranking executives around. Ballmer may also change the way the company reports its earnings.

Paging Larry at Sun Valley. The annual Allen & Company media and technology conference is filled with the usual A-List names—including a “beaming,” newly single Rupert Murdochbut not Google CEO Larry Page, who has a chronic illness that affects his vocal cords and breathing.

While you were sleeping

The Bank of Japan stood firm. It announced no new changes to its monetary easing policy and reiterated its view that prices will rise 1.9% in the year starting April 2015. It trimmed some other forecasts, projecting inflation 0.6% this year and 1.3% in the following 12 months. South Korea also kept rates steady at 2.5%.

Bernanke isn’t ready to taper quite yet. He said after a speech in Massachusetts that “highly accommodative” monetary policy was necessary in the immediate future. The dovish comments sent Asian markets higher, but minutes released from the most recent Fed meeting showed that around half the committee advocated cutting off the bank’s $85 billion monthly stimulus spending by the end of the year.

Some answers on the Quebec rail disaster. The head of a company that operated a runaway train filled with oil that killed up to 50 people in an explosion apologized for the incident and said the most likely cause was an improper use of handbrakes. The engineer who set the brakes has been suspended without pay.

American retailers’ watered-down proposal for Bangladesh factories. 17 North American retailers including Walmart and Gap unveiled a five-year worker safety plan that included annual factory inspections and a $42 million fund. They had deemed a European plan, announced on Monday, too binding.

Smithfield’s CEO tried to set the record straight. Larry Pope appeared in front of a senate committee to answer questions about the US pork producer’s takeover by China’s Shuanghui International. Some lawmakers are concerned that the largest Chinese takeover of a US company would set a precedent, threatening US jobs and food security.

Yum! Brands wasn’t so tasty in China. The owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut reported a 15% drop in second quarter earnings (paywall) as food scares in its large Chinese market took a toll on sales, making the promise of other markets like India look ever more alluring.

Australian jobs stats weren’t great. Unemployment climbed to 5.7% in June, above analyst expectations. The number of full-time jobs decreased, as more people found part-time work instead.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why China’s slowdown could be great for the US. “It’s unlikely any global player will emerge with the voracious appetite for US Treasurys that China has had. But that might be fine. Why? Because America might need to borrow less. And that means it will need fewer borrowers of its debt.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

US immigration reform can still get past the opposition. But only by removing the crucial path to citizenship.

Energy prices shouldn’t be rising so fast. It’s traders who are pushing them up.

Minimum wages should be tied to average hourly wages. It’ll help the lowest earners reap the benefits of rising productivity.

Fighting terror will get trickier. As the US scales back in the “war on terror,” al-Qaeda and its mutations have decentralized and spread.

Round tables are the best way to boost collaboration at work. Those who sit in angular arrangements are likely to be more self-centered.

Surprising discoveries

90 is the new 80. A new study shows that those born in 1915 are more likely to live longer and have better mental faculties than those born a decade earlier.

ADHD drugs don’t boost grades. The drugs improve attention, focus and self-control, but don’t translate to academic success.

Our solar system has a tail. It’s 8 billion miles long and looks like this.

A Polish startup claims to predict soccer games with 90% accuracy. Next goal: predicting the scoreline.

These worms can regrow their decapitated heads.  And stranger still, their memories too.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, collaboration-boosting furniture and regrown memories to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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