Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Obama arms Kurds, Erdogan’s new gig, App Store chaos, interstellar alcohol

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What to watch for today

Quiet again in Gaza. A new 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt, began at 9pm GMT on Sunday.

Who will rule Iraq? Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki deployed troops in Baghdad in a power struggle over who will lead the country in its fight against Islamist militant group ISIL; parliament is pressing him to drop his bid for a third term. US secretary of state John Kerry warned al-Maliki “not to interfere with the process of picking a new Iraqi leader.”

Ukraine tries to retake Donetsk. Government forces have isolated the rebel-held city, according to a spokesman, and have cut off the city from the other pocket of pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk, on the border with Russia.

A central bank deadline looms. The US Federal Reserve has given interested parties until today to comment on a proposal to modify the start dates for capital planning and stress testing under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Over the weekend

The US is arming Iraqi Kurds. The Obama administration is directly providing weapons to Kurdish peshmerga fighters in their fight against ISIL militants, sources told the Associated Press.

Erdogan is changing jobs in Turkey. The prime minister, who is barred from seeking another term, won the country’s first-ever presidential election, and said he plans to expand the powers of the traditionally ceremonial position.

China’s inflation came in below target. Government data showed consumer prices rising 2.3% in July from a year earlier, below the target of around 3.5%, giving officials an opportunity to implement more stimulus measures.

Kinder Morgan announced a major restructuring. The US energy pipeline giant will spend $71 billion consolidating its partnership structure to become a traditional corporation (paywall)—the third largest in the US energy sector.

A $50 million fundraising round for Buzzfeed. The online publisher scored new financing from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, for a reported valuation of about $850 million. Buzzfeed will use the money to expand its video production unit and open new offices outside the United States.

A threat to Captain America. Amazon stopped selling pre-orders of Walt Disney blockbusters, including the latest superhero movie in the Marvel franchise, in an echo of its aggressive tactics against book publisher Hachette.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zainab Mudallal on how tech savvy is all downhill from your mid-teens. “If you think you’re a tech guru in the working world, think again. There is probably someone better than you out there, and it’s not an executive at a competing firm. Digital savviness peaks sometime between the ages of 14 and 15, and then drops gradually throughout adulthood, before falling rapidly in old age.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Everything you know about Ebola is wrong. The good news is that the outbreak will eventually burn out.

Women who “lean in” leave engineering careers sooner. Inhospitable work climates are to blame.

Legal ivory markets must be closed. No matter how tightly regulated, they do nothing to protect elephants.

Apple’s App Store needs human curators. Algorithms on their own create a lousy shopping experience.

Happiness is not attainable. Thinking that it is will make you miserable.

Surprising discoveries

An interstellar nebula is a decent place to find a drink. The Sagittarius B2 cloud contains immense amounts of alcohol.

Wyoming has a “trap cave” filled with bones. Tens of thousands of dead animals are piled at least 10 meters (32.8 feet) deep.

John Lennon wrote “Come Together” for Timothy Leary. It was a campaign song to help the LSD guru defeat Ronald Reagan.

Cigarette butts are the key to electrical storage. Ground-up filters serve as the basis for a new super-capacitor.

The world’s oldest eel has died at the age of 155. He lived in a Swedish family’s well for many generations.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, eel longevity secrets, and piles of bones to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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