Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Carney’s talk-down, Syria’s imminent disruption, India’s rout, the virtues of a messy desk

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What to watch for today

Keep Calm and Carney On. Bank of England governor Mark Carney is likely to talk down borrowing costs that have shot up due to strong economic data, and reiterate a pledge to keep interest rates at their current record low until unemployment falls to 7%.

Imminent military strikes against Syria. The US and UK are likely to launch limited strikes this week to punish the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, though the White House insists it is not looking for regime change in Damascus. Jitters over Syria ravaged Asian stocks (paywall) and took a toll in Europe as investors headed for safe havens, and oil prices hit a six-month high amid concerns that Middle East supplies could be disrupted.

Brazil mulls an interest-rate hike. The central bank, which has been grappling with high inflation and a plunging currency, will issue its decision on the nation’s benchmark interest rate. Economists expect the rate to rise from the current 8.5% to 9.5% by the end of the year.

Signs of strain in US housing. Pending home sales are expected to have declined in July, in one of the first signs that rising mortgage rates may be hurting the housing recovery.

While you were sleeping

India’s economic outlook got even bleaker. The rupee fell the most in 20 years and both stocks and bonds plummeted in value, leading some analysts to conclude that the loss of faith among investors in India is approaching “crisis proportions.”

Obamacare was delayed. US medical authorities notified insurers on Tuesday that federal health insurance agreements would not be signed at the beginning of September as originally planned, but instead would be pushed back by a week or two, although the marketplace for Obamacare insurance should still open on October 1.

False alarm on Fonterra’s botulism scare. New Zealand officials said that thorough testing revealed no botulism-causing bacteria in Fonterra’s products. Fonterra said it was relieved, but will now have to deal with the fallout from a mass recall and bans in several countries.

G4S announced a plan to repair its balance sheet. The British security company said it would issue 140.9 million new shares and sell of some businesses as it tries to shore up its finances and pay off 1.95 billion pounds ($3 billion) in debt.

Bank of America settled a discrimination lawsuit. The bank will pay $160 million to resolve accusations that its Merrill Lynch division discriminated against black financial advisers, over a thousand of whom banded together in an eight-year case against the bank.

Apple resumed a push in Japan… The US technology company said it would open a new store in Tokyo as early as March next year—its first since 2005. Although Apple’s iPhone is the most popular mobile handset in the country, the company currently operates just seven stores there.

…and HTC placed its bets on China. The ailing smartphone maker is reportedly developing a China-oriented operating system (paywall) for its handsets that integrates with popular social networking services such as Weibo microblogs.

Iran planning to sue the US. The country’s parliament approved the creation of a committee to study the CIA-instigated coup of 1953 and recommend possible legal action.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on the steps India should take to stop its currency crisis. “The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) needs to put everything it’s got into intervening in the markets to beat back the speculators pushing the rupee lower. That means it has to draw a line in the sand and defend it by using its stockpile of foreign exchange reserves to buy rupees in the open market.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US recovery is slow and will stay that way for five years. Unwinding excess borrowing by banks worldwide is delaying growth.

The US economy will still dominate in the long term. Six reasons why, including demographics, labor flexibility and a strong dollar.

Microsoft’s next CEO should be LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner… He has exactly the right kind of vision that Microsoft needs.

…or former IBM chief Sam Palmisano. He has a proven track record of dealing with software, hardware and fractious global organizations.

The “I have a dream” speech changed the surveillance state. It triggered one of the FBI’s biggest surveillance operations, an example of domestic security gone to excess.

Surprising discoveries

Google Glass can be a medical aid. A doctor in Ohio is testing one as a tool to teach medical students.

Working at a messy desk can improve creativity. But a tidy environment can encourage generosity and sensible decision making.

The Oxford dictionary has made some voguish additions. “Twerk,” “derp,” “selfie” and “phablet” are entries in the latest online edition.

Babies start learning language before they are born. A fetus can learn and recognize specific words in the womb.

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