Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Boomtime in Britain, Ebola “vastly underestimated,” Ferguson calm restored, Lenin’s missing head

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What to watch for today and Estee Lauder release earnings. JD, China’s second largest e-commerce company after Alibaba, will release its first results since its IPO. Good results are expected for cosmetics giant Estee Lauder, thanks to a surge in luxury buying in the developing world.

A US economic data dump. July industrial production is expected to climb due to higher demand for cars and business equipment. Consumer sentiment is expected to improve due to increased hiring and cheaper gas. Producer price index data is also due.

Ukraine gets a look at Russia’s “aid” convoy. The 280 trucks dispatched by Moscow have reached the border, and Ukrainian officials have just started inspecting them. Some journalists at the scene say that many of the trucks are half-empty. Meanwhile, 23 Russian armored personnel carriers crossed into Ukrainian territory on Thursday evening local time, according to the Guardian.

While you were sleeping

It’s boomtime in Britain. The UK economy recorded its fastest pace of annual growth since 2007, expanding by 3.2% in the second quarter, thanks to a strong performance in the construction industry.

The Ebola outbreak is much worse than previously thought. The World Health Organization said the reported death toll of 1,069, from a total of 1,975 cases, “vastly underestimates the scale of the outbreak.”

Clashes broke out in the protest march on Pakistan’s capital. Opposition leader Imran Khan’s vehicle was fired on by unknown assailants and attacked by a stone-throwing mob. Khan and religious leader Tahir ul-Qadri are leading tens of thousands of protestors from Lahore to Islamabad to demand the resignation of prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Peace was restored in Ferguson, Missouri. After five days of clashes over the shooting death of an unarmed teen, the state highway patrol assumed control from county police and immediately changed tactics by removing military gear and armored cars, joining the march, and speaking directly to protesters.

Samsung snapped up SmartThings. The South Korean electronics giant bought the US-based startup specializing in smart-home controllers for a reported $200 million, in a bet on the fast-expanding “internet of things.”

Narendra Modi promised financial inclusion for India’s poor. The prime minister announced plans to give bank accounts for the nearly 500 million Indians who don’t have them. He also spoke about the series of rapes that have shamed the nation.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Epstein on the surprising democratizing power of McDonald’s Wi-Fi. “The two reporters in Ferguson had discovered what many across the US already know—that the local McDonald’s is generally a good bet when you need free and convenient internet accessibility. McDonald’s branches in the US allow people to use their Wi-Fi for free, even without purchasing food. According to the Wall Street Journal, as of last year there were roughly 12,000 McDonald’s locations with free Wi-Fi (paywall) in the US, almost as many as the 15,000 public libraries with Wi-Fi. And McDonald’s stays open much later than most public libraries—some even operate 24/7.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Email is the best thing about the internet. It’s a dependable workhorse that everyone relies on and nobody owns.

The ice-bucket challenge is a cannibalistic charity. If someone donates to the ALS Association, they are less likely to donate elsewhere.

Money won’t buy your kids a future. In fact, it will hinder their success.

Dystopian sci-fi is fear-mongering the future. Fiction should embrace human potential and stop making us fear technology.

Surprising discoveries

Rich Angelenos live closer to earthquake zones. A mandatory buffer area has enticed affluent LA homeowners.

A pilot’s prosthetic arm came off during a rough flight. The plane landed heavily but safely.

The US military eased up on haircuts. Several styles favored by black soldiers have been restored to official favor.

Vladimir Lenin’s head is missing. A 3.5-tonne (3.86 ton) sculpture made from red Ukrainian granite has been lost in a forest outside of Berlin.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, utopian sci-fi, and sculptural Lenin body parts to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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