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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Japan’s interest rates, Chinese exports, Assad attacked, the best time to drink wine

By Quartz Staff

What to watch for today

Apple presses its advantage against Samsung. After the Obama administration overruled a patent ruling that initially went against Apple, the computer maker is now trying to force Samsung’s mobile devices off U.S. store shelves.

A Greek-US summit. Prime minister Antonis Samaras will hold wide-ranging talks with Barack Obama in Washington. The IMF claims that a chunk of Greece’s debt will have to be written off due to a $11 billon black hole in its finances.

More tension in Egypt. The interim government signaled that it was preparing to take action against supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi who are gathered at two protest camps in Cairo, after foreign mediation failed.

Eid Mubarak! Ramadan ends in most of the world, including in Saudi Arabia, where there was briefly alarm that the Muslim holy month, whose dates depend on sightings of the moon, might have been a day too short. 

While you were sleeping

Japan kept Abenomics rolling. The central bank left rates unchanged and stuck with its unprecedented bond-buying program. The Bank of Korea left its seven day repurchase rate at 2.5%.

Panda triumphs over bears. China’s July exports rose 5.1% from a year earlier and imports jumped 10.9%, beating most estimates and resulting in a $17.8 billion trade surplus.

Australia lost 10,200 jobs. Employers cut payrolls as weaker demand ate into orders, posing a challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as he prepares for September election. The jobless rate remained at 5.7% as fewer people sought work.

Rio Tinto profits plummeted. The world’s second-largest mining company said that falling commodity prices and slack demand from China pushed profits down by 72% to $1.72 billion in the first half of this year. It also announced that it was giving up the sale of its Pacific Aluminium division due to the lack of a buyer.

Nestle numbers weren’t so sweet. The world’s biggest food group and Kit Kat maker missed sales targets and lowered its forecasts for 2013 as it struggled to maintain growth in western Europe and some developing markets. It lowered its full year growth target to 5% from 5-6% previously.

Adidas cut forecasts as faltering sales in Europe and currency problems took a chunk out of its second quarter net profit, which rose 4.2%, less than analysts expected.

British insurers held on. Aviva posted a 5% rise in operating profits with strong sales in the UK, France and Asia. Meanwhile, Standard Life reported a 6% rise in operating profit.

Hilton checks back in. The hotel group was taken private by Blackstone in 2007 for over $18 billion plus debt, and after substantial restructuring it has hired four banks in preparation for an upcoming IPO.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Pasick on why Apple’s program of exchanging fake chargers for real ones is a PR coup that may even boost its bottom line. “In a single stroke, Apple has inoculated itself from blame if any further third-party chargers disastrously melt down—as shoddy, cheaply manufactured fakes are prone to do. If it had chosen to do nothing, it would have eventually faced some uncomfortable questions, like: “How many more people have to die because Apple sells overpriced chargers?” By offering to take back any and all third-party chargers, even those made by legitimate accessories companies like Belkin and Griffin, Apple is cementing its own super-premium-priced chargers as the gold standard.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

A take-out app is killing restaurants. Customers love it, but the fees make business untenable.

The crackdown on bank misbehavior masks a troubling reality. Smoothing over the cracks can’t last forever.

Trouble in Yemen could delay the closure of Guantanamo. Releasing the prison’s Yemeni inmates just got riskier.

Russia’s Olympics will be like 1936. Putin is persecuting and “making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews.”

Australia’s luck is running out. Its leaders are about to find out how hard things can be when you can’t rely on natural resources.

Surprising discoveries

Your car’s noises are MP3s. Automakers like GM spend an awful lot of time making your engine sound like you think it should.

Wednesday evening is the best time to drink wine. Most of us prefer to pop the cork at about 6.53pm.

Death by the numbers. The world’s deadliest disasters as a data visualization.

It’s not just polar bears. The Alaskan village of Newtok is rapidly sinking because of climate change.

Dial 9 for terror. Imagining the Al Qaeda conference call.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, favorite car noises and preferred wine o’clock times to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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