Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Russia’s food sanctions, China’s new religion, T-Mobile bidding war, Tuesday morning sexting

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What to watch for today

No movement in European interest rates. Despite the threat of deflation and signs that the Ukraine crisis is hurting growth, the European Central Bank isn’t likely to announce any new measures (paywall) to boost recovery. Similarly, the Bank of England probably won’t raise rates from a record low 0.5% until early 2015.

Iliad steps up its bid for T-Mobile. The French telecom group says its synergies with the US carrier have yet to be fully appreciated (paywall). After Sprint’s decision to withdraw its T-Mobile bid, Iliad is making a renewed pitch to majority owner Deutsche Telekom; US satellite firm Dish Networks is reportedly also interested (paywall).

Colombia’s president is sworn in. Juan Manuel Santos won a second four-year term on the strength of his negotiations to reach a peace accord (paywall) with leftist rebels. But the inauguration takes place just two days after explosions around the capital that police blamed on a militant group.

While you were sleeping

Russia’s retaliatory sanctions took shape. The Kremlin announced a wide-ranging one-year ban on food from the EU, US, Canada, Australia, and Norway, in a tit-for-tat retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia. It may also forbid flights from those countries from crossing its airspace.

Nestlé outperformed its competitors. The world’s biggest food group reported a second-quarter rise in emerging market revenues, where rivals like Unilever have struggled, although first-half net profit fell short of expectations.

China is creating its own religion… Beijing said it will construct a new “Chinese Christian theology” appropriate for Chinese Protestants (it has had an alternative to Catholicism for some time). There are as many as 40 million Protestants and 12 million Catholics in the country.

…And neutralizing the social media threat. New rules ban the sharing of independent and foreign news on the popular WeChat app; the government has also co-opted the popular Weibo service to broadcast the party line.

Australian unemployment rose to a 12-year high. The jobless rate hit 6.4% in July, from 6% in June, as mining investment and household spending slowed down. Australia’s economy was strong through much of the financial crisis, but its jobless rate is now higher than America’s.

Moody’s warned of a global aging crisis. Every country except a few in Africa will see their working-age populations either shrink or age by 2030 (paywall), according to the ratings agency, while the growth rate of the global workforce will fall by 50%.

Cambodia sentenced the two surviving Khmer Rouge leaders. The genocidal regime’s former head of state and chief ideologue both received life imprisonment for “extermination encompassing murder,” among other crimes against humanity. They are 83 and 88 years old, respectively.

Quartz obsession interlude

Bobby Ghosh on the tragedy the world has been ignoring in Iraq. “The poignant lament of an Iraqi named Karim… captures the helpless frustration of many minorities facing existential danger in areas controlled by ISIL, the terrorist group, while much of the world has been transfixed by the war between Israel and Hamas. While both Israelis and Palestinians have carelessly bandied about the word ‘genocide,’ it is a real threat for the communities in ISIL’s crosshairs.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

American hegemony is alive and well. The United States’ enemies and rivals are shooting themselves in the foot.

China’s real problem is its leftover men. Men under 30 outnumber their female counterparts by about 20 million.

There are four good reasons for a one-way trip to Mars. Aside from helping humanity, there’s the fame, the challenge, and the money.

Lego could get more girls into science. And its new female scientist figurines will help shape both boys’ and girls’ attitudes.

Snowden’s copycat should come as no surprise. Another NSA leaker is a sign that the US needs to clean up its act.

Surprising discoveries

WiFi-like charging is finally on its way. A new technology sends electric power wirelessly using ultrasonic waves (paywall).

Tuesday mornings are prime time for sexting. 10am to noon are the sauciest hours of the week.

California residents are painting their lawns green. It’s the perfect solution to the worst drought on record.

A former Apple Store employee is auctioning his gear on Ebay. His name is Sam Sung.

America Online still has 2.3 million dialup internet subscribers. And they’re very profitable.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, alternate sexting hours, and Mars trip justifications to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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