Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—One day to default, Greenwald’s new start-up, JP Morgan’s latest fine, relief ICBMs

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What to watch for today

A last-minute scramble in Washington. House Republicans leaders failed to garner support for their latest effort to end the impasse, leaving debt talks in disarray as the government default deadline approaches on Thursday. Meanwhile, credit rating agency Fitch cautioned it could downgrade the US’s AAA credit rating.

Kinder Morgan hopes to wrong-foot its doubters. Kinder’s earnings report today is an opportunity to answer its critics; the US energy firm saw its stock fall when a hedge fund urged clients to sell it short, sparking a furious debate about the analyst who made the call.

JP Morgan pays up, again. The bank has reportedly agreed to pay a $100 million fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which was not party to an earlier $920 million settlement, and acknowledged that its “London Whale” trading fiasco had a “manipulative” effect on markets.

A bevy of financial sector earnings. Get a read on Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, American Express, US Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group, Piper Jaffray, and BlackRock.

While you were sleeping

Glen Greenwald is leaving the Guardian for a start-up. The journalist who broke the Edward Snowden story will join a media project backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

UK unemployment held steady. The rate stayed at 7.7% (paywall) from July through August, and jobless claims declined more than analysts expected.

Euro zone inflation fell to 1.1% in September, from 1.3% in August, allowing the European Central Bank to maintain its relaxed policy stance.

Car sales in Europe shot up. September registrations increased 5.5% from a year earlier thanks to an improving EU economy, price discounting, and a Spanish government incentive program.

Typhoon Wipha slammed Japan. The “once in a decade” storm pummeled Tokyo, killing at least 14 and prompting authorities to close schools and cancel hundreds of flights. Workers at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant were taking precautions as the storm approached.

Danone cut its sales goals. An Asian recall of baby formula hit the world’s biggest yogurt maker hard, as the firm slashed its 2013 sales and profitability targets.

More Dreamliner troubles. An eight-by-four foot fuselage panel fell off an Air India plane while it was on its way from Delhi to Bangalore, the latest in a long string of mishaps for Boeing’s new jet.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on the deadly, potentially unstoppable jellyfish plague in the sea. ”Disturbances are happening all over the world. Throngs of jellyfish have disrupted power generation everywhere from Muscat to Maryland, from South Korea to Scotland. Things are worse in the fishing business, where blooms have wiped out billions of dollars in earnings over the last few decades. They’re also a nightmare for fishermen, who must contend with bursted nets and clogged trawl lines. Japan’s now-annual bloom of Nomura jellyfish, which each grow to be the size of large refrigerator, capsized and sank a 10-ton trawler when the fishermen tried to haul up a net full of them.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US default has already begun. Even if US politicians agree to pay the country’s bills in a timely fashion, the financial system has already been undermined.

Banks can save the US from default—and make a pretty penny doing it. In the spirit of the original JP Morgan, the financial industry could fill the gap if government stops paying contractors, employees, and pensioners; the question is who will bear the cost.

It’s time to stop eating chicken. The US food safety regulator seems powerless to stop a dangerous salmonella outbreak.

OPEC doesn’t matter. The world’s foremost chronicler of the petroleum industry writes off the once-feared oil cartel.

Open-plan offices are a disaster. Workers are unhappy, unmotivated, and cognitively impaired by the chatter and distractions.

Surprising discoveries

Cops love Snapchat. The photo-sharing app, whose photos famously self-destruct upon receipt, has handed over photos to US law enforcement before they’re sent.

Food and water incoming! Mothballed intercontinental ballistic missiles could be retrofitted to deliver supplies to isloated areas following natural disasters.

More Americans die from car pollution than car accidents. It’s your lungs that are getting run over.

Why medieval knights are always fighting snails. It’s a recurring theme in the margins of gothic manuscripts, and it’s either a visual pun or a reminder of the inevitability of death.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, armored snails and open office woes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.


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