Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—G20 summit, Syria resolution, Galaxy Gear, feline mayors

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This post has been corrected.

What to watch for today

On the G20 agenda: Fed, Syria, and snubs. In St. Petersburg, heads of state will discuss the possibility of military intervention in Syria and the likely impact of the US Federal Reserve’s imminent “taper” of monetary stimulus. In a snub to the Kremlin, Barack Obama will meet Russian human rights activists instead of president Vladimir Putin, but the Russian president is likely to find much to discuss with Chinese president Xi Jinping, particularly on large scale projects.

Japan’s central bank hits pause…The Bank of Japan is unlikely to make any change to the unprecedented stimulus measures it announced in April, but will take stock of the fallout of the slowdown in the emerging markets.

…as do central banks in Europe. The European Central Bank is poised to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.5%, but it may raise growth projections (paywall) slightly. No change is expected now from the Bank of England either, but a steady stream of cheerful economic data may force it to start raising rates sooner than previously thought.

The warm-up for Friday’s main event. US private payroll data and weekly jobless claims will provide a prelude to Friday’s official jobs report, the big number the Fed will look at before deciding its timeline for paring back its asset purchase program.

While you were sleeping

A step closer to bombing Syria. The US Senate’s foreign relations committee voted 10-7 to approve a resolution for the use of force against the Bashar al-Assad regime. The full Senate will vote on it next week. Meanwhile Barack Obama tried to rally global support, saying that the ”world set a red line” over the use of chemical weapons, not him.

Microsoft scored against Motorola. A jury found in the second of two trials that Motorola, which is owned by Google, broke licensing agreements related to Microsoft patents. Microsoft was awarded damages of $14 million. Motorola may appeal.

New York’s banking regulator has its eye on Europe. The regulator asked six European banks to turn over transaction information relating to a Jordanian bank, Reuters reported, related to a deals with Turkey’s Uzan family. A NY court ruled earlier that the Uzans stole $2 billion from loans made by Motorola Credit and were hiding money in the bank.

Samsung got creative with its smart watch. The South Korean electronics giant launched the $300 Galaxy Gear, a watch equipped with a tiny camera and 1.6 inch (4.1 cm) color display, which can be used to make phone calls. But its bulky size and short battery life may prove its undoing.

Chelsea Manning asked for a presidential pardon. The US soldier, formerly known as Bradley, was given 35 years in prison in August after a court found her guilty of passing more than 700,000 classified files to Wikileaks. Manning’s chances of being granted a pardon appear slim.

Dilma Rousseff is furious with the US. Brazil’s president may cancel a visit with the White House and downgrade commercial ties unless US president Barack Obama apologizes, after news reports said the NSA spied on both her and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto.

Is China about to deregulate its aviation market? Wei Hou, vice president of Hainan Airlines, the country’s number four carrier, told the Wall Street Journal that regulators are looking to open China’s huge market to new carriers and lift a ban on more than one Chinese airline flying a given route.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how Vladimir Putin, flush with gas profits, is ready to pick some more fights. “Putin is likely to continue sharp resistance to plans by the European Union to form free trade agreements with former Soviet republics, in particular with Ukraine. He will also not easily agree to harsher oil sanctions against Iran should the US advocate them. And Putin will also strongly push back against European plans to file anti-trust sanctions against Gazprom.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

A rosy outlook for Britain’s economy. The OECD reckons Britain may be one of the fastest-growing rich countries in the second half of this year.

Chinese literature textbooks are being modified to curb “deep thinking.” An essay by the father of modern Chinese literature has gone missing in the latest curriculum.

How the Syrian Electronic Army suddenly got so good at hacking. The pro-Assad hacker group may have had more than a little help from Iran.

I’ve invested from both sides now. What a bank analyst learned when she became CFO of a tech firm instead.

Surprising discoveries

Where does the famous “red line” metaphor come from? It may well be related to the “line in the sand“—a metaphor that goes back to Syria in 168 B.C.

The answer to your parking nightmares? This prototype South Korean electric car will park itself and fold nearly in half with a tap on a smartphone.

The answer to rowdy behavior? An Ohio man who threatened police while drunk has been ordered to stand outside a police station wearing a sign that says he’s an idiot.

Feline mayors. Morris the cat has popped up on campaign posters in the eastern Mexican city of Xalapa. He already has 100,000 likes on his Facebook page. Meanwhile, Stubbs, a cat who has served 16 years as honorary mayor of a town in Alaska, is in serious condition after being mauled by a dog.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, feline nominees for public office and novel parking solutions to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

Correction: September 5, 03:09 a.m. (EST). A previous version of this briefing incorrectly referred to Chelsea Manning as Bradley, as she was previously known. We apologize for the error.

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