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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Russia’s stealth invasion, Robin Williams RIP, Iraq’s PM quagmire, UK sheep rustlers

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

What’s Nouri al-Maliki’s next move? Iraqi legislators have nominated another Shi’ite politician, Haider al-Abadi, to replace the current prime minister, but Maliki is refusing to step down. The US says it wants Abadi to form a more inclusive government to combat ISIL militants.

Russia stealthily invades Ukraine. President Vladmir Putin has vowed to send an aid convoy to war-torn eastern Ukraine, but NATO warned that the convoy could be a cover for sending in troops to support embattled pro-Russian separatists. The NATO secretary general said there was a “high probability” of a Russian attack.

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

A bidding war goes bananas. Two Brazilian companies, Safra Group and Cutrale, made a $610.5 million spoiler bid for Chiquita Brands, which is trying to close a merger deal with Irish food group Fyffes. Chiquita said it would consider the counter-offer.

While you were sleeping

Robin Williams has died. The 63-year-old actor and comedian, who was battling severe depression according to his publicist, was found dead in his home in a suspected suicide. Here’s an obituary in the form of some of his best scenes.

More work for the miracle Ebola drug. Spain received the experimental treatment Zmapp  to treat a Spanish priest who fell ill with the virus while in Liberia, which will also receive a supply of the drug. Zmapp’s manufacturer said its supply is now exhausted.

Fresh talked started on Gaza. Israel and Hamas took advantage of the new 72-hour ceasefire that began on Sunday 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.

Singapore and the Philippines benefitted from the global recovery. Sinapore’s economy grew by a better-than-expected 1% in the three months to June on an annualized basis. Philippines exports surged by 21.3% in June versus a year ago, as electronics and semiconductors benefitted from higher global demand.

Mexico’s energy reform became law. President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a law that will open up the country’s oil and gas sector after 76 years of a 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 shares shoot up the day after announcing that the pipeline conglomerate is consolidating its corporate structure.

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

Silicon Valley has an Adderall problem. The tech industry should discourage the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Australia’s jobless rate should worry central bankers everywhere. An object lesson on the dangers of cutting interest rates 

The world will lose out if Hong Kong’s democracy is denied. China’s crackdown on autonomy violates an international treaty.

Suicide is contagious. News coverage can make things worse after high-profile deaths, so it’s better to talk about prevention.

Nutrition experts don’t know what makes a healthy diet. That’s why their advice oscillates so often.

Surprising discoveries

Your pricey coffee may be adulterated. Cheap filler ingredients like potato flour and corn can be detected with a new lab test.

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

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

UK sheep rustling is on the rise. Ambitious thieves are taking as many as 150 at a time.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, missing sheep, and nutritional breakthroughs to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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