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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Japanese inflation, Syria resolution, Mulally and Microsoft, giant hornet attacks

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Italy wrestles with its budget deficit. The governing coalition tries to work out how to stay under the EU debt ceiling without raising the sales tax. Silvio Berlusconi’s party has threatened to pull out if the tax rise goes into effect in October as planned.

The US wrestles with having a budget at all. The Senate could pass a spending bill today to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1, having stripped out a provision that would defund Obamacare. But with Republicans refusing to bend, there’s no clear path to ending the impasse.

The UN’s sum of all global warming fears. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release a comprehensive report summarizing the current scientific consensus. According to leaked drafts, sea levels could rise higher than previously thought, and it’s even more certain that humans are the main culprits.

US consumer spending figures are announced. Spending and personal income are projected to have risen in August (paywall). The University of Michigan will separately release the final reading of its consumer confidence survey.

Deadly protests over gas prices in Sudan. The end of government subsidies nearly doubled the price of gasoline, and ongoing violent demonstrations have killed at least 29 people in several cities.

While you were sleeping

The UN Security Council agreed on a Syria resolution that will require the country to relinquish its chemical weapons—but, in a concession to Russia, does not threaten enforcement. Here’s the text.

Japan’s consumer inflation hit a five-year high. Steeper energy costs pushed August prices up 0.8% from a year earlier. That indicates the Bank of Japan’s economic stimulus is working; it has vowed to keep buying bonds until annualized inflation hits 2%.

China industrial profits jumped by nearly a quarter. The data showed a 24.2% year-on-year gain in August, versus a 11.6% gain the previous month.

Alan Mulally for Microsoft CEO? AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher reports the former Boeing and current Ford boss “has vaulted to the forefront” of potential candidates to succeed Steve Ballmer.

Nike results strong—everywhere but China. Net income rose 38%, and earnings per share were ten cents higher than analysts expected. But the company’s sales fell in China, despite the unofficial endorsement of Bo Xilai.

Kenya was hit by two more deadly attacks. Militants killed three people near the Somalia border, the scene of numerous small-scale attacks before the Westgate mall siege in Nairobi.

Quartz obsession interlude

Allison Schrager and Ritchie King’s step-by-step guide to making a profit off the hike in US postage-stamp prices. “Our plan is to buy 10 million stamps at $0.46 each and sell them at $0.48. The margins, of course, are small. If we buy 10 million stamps, spending $4.6 million, we’ll earn $200,000—a 4.3% profit. The good news is that you can buy up to 1 million stamps in a single order from the USPS, and pay a mere $1.75 in shipping (shipping is their business, after all).” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Raghuram Rajan alone cannot save India’s economy. The government must play its part and address low productivity, inadequate infrastructure, and bureaucratic delays.

Organ donations should be mandatory. Voluntary donations aren’t enough to meet demand, and paying donors makes the poor more likely to sell pieces of themselves.

The myth of executive stress. Leaders can control their own lives; those lower down the ladder are not so fortunate.

For life-changing opportunities, manage your inbox. When everyone wants a piece of you, prioritize helping those who help others.

Surprising discoveries

Control-alt-delete was a mistake. Bill Gates admits the longtime Windows login command was a waste of time.

Giant hornets are killing dozens of people in China. And they’re spreading further worldwide too, because of climate change.

Day trading in Grand Theft Auto V. Users can buy and sell virtual stocks that are affected by their actions in the game.

Healthcare by any other name. Forty-six percent of Americans oppose “Obamacare,” but only 37% oppose the program when asked about its actual name, the Affordable Care Act.

The termite-poop force field. Termite feces act as a natural antibiotic that protects them against biological efforts to exterminate them.

North Korea’s notoriously bad airline wants to expand. Air Koryo hopes to offer service to and from Pyongyang to Europe and Southeast Asia. It’s the world’s only airline to receive a one-star Skytrax rating.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, giant hornet sightings, and Air Koryo horror stories to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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