Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Gaza war resumes, Pakistan’s standoff, ISIL’s warning, skinny jeans

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What to watch for today

The Gaza war reignites. Rockets from Gaza hit Israel hours before the 24-hour ceasefire was set to expire on Tuesday, and Israel launched airstrikes in response that killed two people. As of this writing, Hamas said it had launched some 50 rockets. Peace talks in Cairo have collapsed and Israel has called its negotiators home.

The standoff in Pakistan intensifies. After opposition politician Imran Khan led his supporters through physical road blocks into Islamabad’s “Red Zone,” he called on them to make a “Tahrir Square” outside parliament to pressure prime minister Nawaz Sharif to step down.

A spotlight on US and UK interest rates. The Fed and Bank of England release minutes from their July and August meetings, respectively. Both will provide insight into when an interest rate hike is likely as the US is approaching its inflation goal (paywall) and more slack is evident in Britain’s economy.

Good news for Shinzo Abe. Japan’s exports are forecast to rise for the first time in three months, a sign that overseas demand is recovering. That will counter last month’s unexpectedly wide trade deficit, which raised doubts about prime minister Abe’s growth strategy (paywall).

Brazil’s election gets a fresh jolt of energy. The Brazilian Socialist Party is expected to announce Marina Silva as its presidential candidate, after Eduardo Campos died in a plane crash last week. A poll last week showed that Silva, a former environment minister who was Campos’s vice-presidential running mate, stands a chance of beating the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff.

Ferguson awaits Eric Holder. The US attorney-general will meet with local leaders in Missouri after more than a week of protests and rioting. Tensions are high again after police nearby in St. Louis fatally shot a 23-year-old black man, who they said attacked them with a knife.

Iceland’s largest volcano could blow. The country declared an orange alert, the second-highest level, for the Bárðarbunga volcano. Iceland’s last giant volcanic eruption in 2010 cost the global economy $5 billion and shut down much of Europe’s airspace.

While you were sleeping

Steve Ballmer left Microsoft’s board. Ballmer, who stepped down as Microsoft CEO in February,  is now quitting the company’s board too after 14 years, to concentrate on other activities. But don’t feel sorry for him: He owns more Microsoft stock than Bill Gates, and has a new basketball team to play with.

ISIL sent the US a gruesome warning. The group released a video of an American journalist, James Foley, being beheaded, and threatened to kill another, Steven Sotloff, unless the US stops bombing northern Iraq. Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority, the grand mufti, pronounced ISIL  ”enemy number one” of Islam.

London’s property market showed signs of cooling. The average home price rose by 19.3% year-on-year in June—still pretty steep, but down from a 20.1% rise the month before, indicating a possible slowdown in the city’s property boom.

Ukraine’s forces inched closer to Donetsk. Government troops captured a town near the rebel-held city. Heavy fighting continued in Luhansk, near where 15 bodies have been recovered so far after Monday’s strike on a refugee convoy; separatist rebels are still denying they were behind it. The Ukrainian and Russian presidents are set to meet next week.

Investors were nonplussed by BHP Billiton’s spin-off. London-listed shares of the world’s largest mining company fell after it announced plans to create a new company, listed in Australia, out of under-performing assets like nickel and aluminum. The new company could be valued at up to $12 billion, making it one of the biggest asset sales in mining history.

Liberia found its missing Ebola patients. Liberia has found all 17 suspected Ebola patients who fled a quarantine center, and has transferred them to another clinic. Fresh WHO data out Tuesday showed Liberia has been hardest hit by the current Ebola outbreak, with 466 out of a global total of 1,229 deaths.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on why every smartphone app seems to want you to turn on notifications. ”Smartphone users who turn on notifications use those applications far more often than people with alerts turned off. They are also much less likely to use an app only once before abandoning it. ‘On average, 62% of users will return to the app the following month if they are being engaged with push messaging, whereas only 32% of users will return if not prompted with push,’ according to Localytics.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

America does not value black lives. That’s the message being sent when police kill an unarmed black man with no repercussions.

Central bankers are contributing to a peculiar calm in global markets. Their loose monetary policy is encouraging investors to take more risks through bonds and equities.

The EU should challenge China to lift restrictions on navigation in its waters. Europe can’t rely on the US alone to guarantee freedom of the high seas.

Surprising discoveries

A man forgot to renew his Economist subscription, and it cured his hemorrhoids. He spent less time reading in the bathroom.

Clean energy can be deadly for birds. They don’t just get caught in wind turbines; they also get fried flying through the concentrated rays of solar power plants.

Chechnya’s president interrogated 1,000 villagers about his lost iPhone. Well, he needed it; he’s famous on Instagram, after all.

A Superman comic is worth at least $2 million. With five days left to go, the eBay auction could easily beat the last record for a copy of the series, which was $2.16 million.

Anyone could be a passport officer. Untrained college students had the same error rate as trained officers in matching a face to a passport photo.

Big Americans are killing skinny jeans. The new trend of “soft dressing” better fits the size of the American shopper.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, priceless comic books, and skinny jeans that no longer fit to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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