Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Climate change “unequivocal,” Japanese inflation, Iranian nuclear pact, GTA stock market

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What to watch for today

US consumer figures are due. 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.

The UN may vote on the Syria chemical weapons resolution. The Security Council agreed on a draft plan that  requires Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons; a vote could come late today (paywall).

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.

…and the US wrestles with having a budget at all. The Senate could pass a spending bill today to avert a government shutdown onOct. 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.

Lionel Messi faces tax evasion charges in Spain. The Barcelona dynamo regarded as the world’s best soccer player is accused of defrauding the country of 4 million euros ($5.4 million) by selling his image rights via off-shore companies.

While you were sleeping

The UN’s climate panel said global warming is “unequivocal.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a long-awaited report saying scientists are 95% certain that the rise in temperatures is caused by humans.

Iran wants a nuclear pact within a year. At the highest-level official meeting between the US and Iran in three decades, the Iranian foreign minister told US Secretary of State John Kerry that his country isn’t seeking nuclear weapons and wants to solve the standoff. Here’s how the tete-a-tete went down.

UK housing prices, services output rise. British house prices jumped by 5% in September, a three-year high, stoking fears of a housing bubble. Services output rose 0.2% for July.

China unveiled details for the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Foreign firms will be able to enter new Chinese markets like telecommunications inside the zone, with future plans to test financial reforms like a fully convertible yuan.

Japan’s consumer inflation hit a five-year high. Steeper energy costs pushed August prices up 0.8% from a year earlier.

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

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.

Japan will face a fiscal crisis by 2020. Neither a sales tax increase nor the Olympics year will save the country’s finances, says politician Takeshi Fujimaki, formerly an advisor to George Soros.

Surprising discoveries

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

Healthcare reform 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.

North Korea’s notoriously bad airline wants to go global. 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.

A French climber found $332,000 worth of gems on Mont Blanc. The probable source of the rubies, sapphires, and emeralds: an Air India plane that crashed on Europe’s highest peak at least 47 years ago.

China is cracking down on a new type of pirated products: fake scholarly articles peddled to promotion-seeking academics.

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

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