STAR WARS

Quartz Daily Brief—Indonesia’s election, Tesla’s bad luck, Taylor Swift’s economics, insect hotels

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Indonesia votes. The world’s third-largest democracy casts ballots in an extremely tight race between a Suharto-era former general, and an ex furniture maker with no ties to the old regime; there are fears that an ambiguous result may spark unrest.

Laying the ground for Modinomics. A day before Narendra Modi’s government presents its first budget, the finance ministry’s annual economic survey will outline the country’s economic prospects and highlight issues like job creation, overconsumption and inflation. “

Some tea-leaf reading in Washington. Economists will pore over the Federal Reserve’s minutes of its June policy meeting, when it hinted that it thought the US job market was still looking weak. Still, the subsequent strong jobs report for June may have superseded whatever the Fed was thinking when these minutes were written.

Signs of cooling in China. The country releases consumer-price data for June, which economists expect will show a slight slowdown in inflation. That will give the government room for more stimulus policies later this year to prod the economy, which has been slowing.

World Cupdate. After Germany’s punishing defeat of Brazil 7-1, the second semi-final—Netherlands v Argentina at 4am Thursday HKT—will determine who faces Germany in the final showdown.

While you were sleeping

Another group of Islamist extremists wreaked havoc. Somali troops repulsed an attack on the presidential palace in Mogadishu by al-Shabaab, the militia that also carried out last September’s shopping-mall massacre in Kenya. Along with ISIL in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria, al Shabaab is part of a sudden extremist resurgence.

Israel and Hamas ramped up their attacks. Israeli jets targeted about 50 sites on the Gaza Strip after the heaviest Palestinian rocket fire on to Israeli towns in 20 months, including at least one rocket that reached Jerusalem.

The Vatican Bank showed its ascetic side. The bank reported a 97% drop in net profit over the previous year, to €2.9 million ($3.9 million). It was an intentional move by Pope Francis, the result of spending on audits and write-downs to make the scandal-ridden institution more transparent.

América Móvil prepared to break up. Carlos Slim’s Latin American telecoms behemoth approved a separation of some assets in its Mexico unit, in response to new anti-trust moves from Mexican regulators.

Another rough day for Tesla. Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng is taking the US electric car maker to court for trademark infringement, demanding to stop all activity in China. After a Model S split in two and burst into flames last week, battering Tesla’s share price, this is a blow to the company’s plans to expand abroad.

Americans are getting tired of cupcakes. Crumbs Bake Shop, which went public at the height of the gourmet-cupcake boom three years ago, has told employees that it is closing all its stores (paywall). This comes just a week after Nasdaq delisted Crumbs shares because of the company’s failure to meet the minimum market cap requirement.

Quartz obsession interlude

Michael Silverberg shares writing tips from the CIA’s style manual. “As revealed in the manual, the CIA is a prescriptivist scold, a believer in the serial comma, and a champion of ‘crisp and pungent’ language ‘devoid of jargon.’ It takes a firm stand against false titles used attributively and urges intelligence writers to lowercase the w in Vietnam war (‘undeclared’).” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US has a lot to learn from Germany. The country’s decision to adopt a nationwide minimum wage of €8.50 ($11.60) an hour by 2015 should serve as an example for Washington lawmakers.

Stop picking on Taylor Swift. It’s easy to ridicule her Wall Street Journal column for its optimism about the music industry’s future, but there’s evidence in her favor.

Beijing should host another Olympics. The 2022 Winter Games could give the city an impetus to clean up its pollution problem and showcase China as a world power.

Surprising discoveries

Remote-control birth control. The Gates Foundation is funding research into a capsule that you’d swallow once and would release doses of drugs on wireless command.

Tour De France onlookers need to stop taking selfies. Spectators wielding camera-phones are standing with their backs to oncoming bikes and putting everyone in danger.

Garth Brooks has cost Dublin €250 million. That’s the estimated blow to the economy after the American country music singer canceled all five scheduled gigs, following protests by residents to try to cut him down to three.

Bugs can live in a penthouse all to themselves. Seoul mayor Park Won-soon is building miniature hotels for insects as part of an effort to improve life in the Korean capital.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unused Garth Brooks concert tickets, and Tour De France selfies to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search