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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—US hospitals hacked, Afghanistan election threats, StanChart fine, zoo jeans

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

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Israel and Hamas give it one more day. The two sides agreed to extend the five-day ceasefire that elapsed on Monday by another 24 hours after talks in Cairo on ending the Gaza war were inconclusive. Israel destroyed the homes in the West Bank of two of the suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers in June.

Standard Chartered gets a second rap on the knuckles. The UK-based bank will reportedly pay up $300 million (paywall) to New York regulators. Two years ago it was fined for transactions that violated sanctions on Sudan, Iran, Libya, and Myanmar; the new fine is because the fixes it made to prevent such transactions didn’t work. The settlement could happen as early as Tuesday.

Ministers in Afghanistan demand an electoral resolution. Powerful officials with strong ties to security forces say they want the deadlock over elections resolved or they might take power for themselves to form an interim government. They are demanding that presidential candidates Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani agree to compromises before elections can go forward.

Khan’s supporters on the march. Supporters of Pakistan opposition politician Imran Khan are set to march into Islamabad’s “Red Zone,” an area of diplomatic missions and government offices, after prime minister Nawaz Sharif failed to meet Khan’s Monday midnight deadline to resign over claims of election fraud.

Another tense night in Ferguson. Missouri’s governor called in the National Guard and lifted the nighttime curfew (paywall), but recent reports described a tense standoff between protestors and police in riot gear. Meanwhile, president Obama said he would send Eric Holder, the US attorney-general, to the town on Wednesday to monitor unrest.

While you were sleeping

Claims of carnage in Ukraine. Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of firing rockets at a convoy of buses carrying civilians who were fleeing the fighting between rebel and government forces, killing dozens. The separatists denied it happened; so far there’s been no independent confirmation.

Dollar General entered the race for Family Dollar. Dollar General has offered at least $8.9 billion for Family Dollar (some reports say $9.7 billion), trumping Dollar Tree’s previous $8.5 billion bid three weeks ago. The bidding war will determine who becomes the top deep-discount retailer in the US. It’s unlikely Walmart will join the fray.

Chinese hackers hit a US hospital chain. In a regulatory filing, Community Health Systems said that Chinese hackers made off with information about 4.5 million of their patients. Swiped information includes social security numbers, names, and addresses but not medical or financial data.

New Zealand projected a smaller budget surplus. A month out from the general election, finance minister Bill English, who along with prime minister John Key is campaigning for a third term in office, shared a fiscal update. After six years of deficits, English and Key projected a budget surplus of ($251 million) for the 12 months through June, down from May’s projections.

Syria’s worst chemical weapons were neutralized. Over 600 metric tons of Damascus’ stockpiles were destroyed aboard a specially equipped ship in the Mediterranean, the US Pentagon reported. Damascus has been accused of a chemical attack that killed over 1,000 Syrians last year, and agreed in September to hand over the weapons following the threat of airstrikes from the US and France.

US lawmakers asked the Federal Reserve for clarity. A bipartisan group of lawmakers asked for clarification on emergency lending authority rules. They want to be able to ensure that the Federal Reserve won’t allow “backdoor bailouts” if a financial crisis arises in the future.

Quartz obsession interlude:

Max Nisen on how Google decides whether to buy a company. “At Google, the process comes down to co-founder Larry Page’s ‘toothbrush test,’ according to the New York Times (paywall): Is the product the target company makes something people will use at least once a day, and that makes their lives better? This reflects an attitude that values growth over profit, instinct and product over advice from Wall Street, and the long term over the short run.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Geopolitics has no effect on your investments. Markets only teeter slightly on news of war, then resume their prior trend.

Israel and Palestine see peace as a threat. The continued conflict allows leaders to avoid dealing with tough domestic problems.

Athletes should be taught Plato. With so many badly behaved sportspeople competing, we need philosophy to accompany physical training.

Russia’s retaliatory sanctions shouldn’t include alcohol. In a culture of “alconauts,” past alcohol bans have only harmed the Kremlin.

Surprising discoveries

An explanation for two inscrutable emojis. If you’ve ever wondered what both arms crossed in front of you or raised in a circle mean, we can now reveal all.

Japanese fundraisers made $3,500 with “zoo jeans” ripped by lions, tigers, and bears. The WWF accepted the donation, though they’d prefer if the denim weren’t tossed into the animal pens.

The male chromosome has been shrinking for 180 million years. While the Y chromosome has also been evolving, it could shrink out of existence (paywall).

Hillary Clinton already travels like she’s president. The standard speaker’s contract for the former secretary of state includes a private jet, the presidential hotel suite, and an entourage.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unusual emojis, and animal-ripped jeans to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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