Quartz Daily Brief—Russia’s stealth invasion, Iraq’s new PM, Mexico’s energy reform, Japan’s super-camera

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

What’s Nouri al-Maliki’s next move? The Iraqi prime minister is refusing to leave office, and has deployed troops on the streets of Baghdad, after Iraq’s president on Monday named another Shi’ite politician, Haider al-Abadi, to replace him. Maliki is widely blamed for stoking Sunni Muslim extremism by excluding Sunnis from government.

Russia stealthily invades Ukraine. Russian president Vladmir Putin said that he will be sending an aid convoy to war-torn eastern Ukraine; NATO warns Russia could use the convoy as a cover for sending in troops. Russia has massed 45,000 troops along its border, intensifying fears of an invasion this week.

The US and Australia discuss defense. Talks at the annual Australia-United States ministerial consultations could lead to a bigger US military presence (paywall) in Northern Australia, and Australia could get involved in Iraq.

While you were sleeping

Fresh talked started on Gaza. Israel and Hamas took advantage of the new 72-hour ceasefire that began on Sunday night to resume indirect talks on a longer-lasting truce, brokered by Egypt. Meanwhile the UN said it would open an inquiry into alleged war crimes by both sides during the past month of fighting.

Mexico’s energy reform became law. After months of controversy, president Enrique Peña Nieto signed a law that will open up the country’s energy industry to private investors after 76 years of state monopoly. That could mean lots of opportunities for big oil firms.

Richard Kinder made $790 million in one day. The founder and head of Kinder Morgan saw the value of his shareholding shoot up the day after announcing, on Sunday, that the pipeline conglomerate is consolidating its four separate companies into one.

More work for the miracle Ebola drug. Spain received the experimental drug that helped two American missionary workers, in order to treat a Spanish priest who fell ill with the virus while in Liberia. Liberia and Nigeria have also asked for the medicine, but are waiting on ethicists to decide what to do with the limited supply.

Bad news for the US postal service. An increase in package revenues and an emergency price hike didn’t appear to help the USPS in the second quarter. The mail carrier, which gets no government funding, suffered a $2 billion loss in the second quarter, compared with $740 million in the same period last year.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on what the New York Times could have learned from South Africa’s Naspers. “[T]he lesson for legacy media companies (and any incumbent, in any industry) is still crystal clear. Transformation is possible, and diversification is wise… [T]here is no reason why the New York Times Company could not have achieved something similar to Naspers. Instead it spent billions actually increasing its exposure to print and on dubious investments in areas such real estate.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Australia’s jobless rate should worry central bankers everywhere. It serves as a lesson about the dangers of cutting interest rates 

We should call ISIL by its new name. Calling it “the Islamic State” doesn’t legitimize the declaration of its caliphate.

Regulating the ivory trade doesn’t work. The only way to protect elephants from poaching is to close all legal markets and destroy all ivory stocks.

Surprising discoveries

There is a sporting competition for battle tanks. The second Annual Tank Biathlon attracted attracted tracked vehicles from 12 countries.

This insect can turn you vegetarian. A bite from the lone star tick makes humans allergic to red meat.

The world’s fastest camera. The device, developed by Japanese scientists, can take 4.4 trillion frames per second.

Coffee can prevent tinnitus. A study of 65,000 women showed that, contrary to previous beliefs, coffee reduces the odds of developing the chronic ringing in the ears.

A selfie killed a Polish couple. They fell to their deaths while taking photos of themselves on a vacation in Portugal.

A Japanese artist swapped coats with her dog. She made the dog a coat of her own hair, and used her dog’s fur to make a coat for herself.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dog-fur coats, and extra coffee to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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