What to watch for today
The Gaza war reignites. Hostilities resumed as rockets from Gaza hit Israel around eight hours before the 24-hour ceasefire was set to expire at midnight. Israel launched airstrikes in response that killed a woman and child. 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 Britain’s economy is showing mixed signals.
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, could beat the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff.
Hewlett-Packard and Staples will report. Computing giant HP is restructuring, and revenue is expected to fall by 0.8%. Staples, the biggest US retailer of office supplies, has had a difficult year with competition from companies like Amazon, Walmart and even local drugstores. Revenues are expected to decline by 2.9%.
While you were sleeping
Good and bad news for Shinzo Abe. Japan’s trade deficit widened (paywall) again as imports rose 2.3%. Still, Japan’s exports rose for the first time in three months, a sign that overseas demand is recovering. Automobile and electric machinery shipments were the main growth contributors. Last month’s unexpectedly wide trade deficit raised serious doubts about prime minister Abe’s growth strategy (paywall).
Steve Ballmer left Microsoft’s board. Ballmer, who stepped down as Microsoft CEO in February, is quitting the company’s board too after 14 years. 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’s gruesome message. The group released a video showing the beheading of a man they identified as American journalist, James Foley. US intelligence is working to verify the video’s authenticity. The group also threatened to kill journalist, 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.
Record high for Apple. The tech company’s stock closed at an all-time high of $100.53 a share. Apple’s shares have nearly doubled since April 2013, and the new iPhone 6, which will be released in September, will likely only strengthen the growth.
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.
The Liberian government declared a curfew. In an attempt to contain the Ebola outbreak, the country hardest hit by the current crisis has introduced a curfew from 9pm to 6am in Monrovia and quarantined a slum. According to the latest WHO figures, the outbreak has killed 1,229 people.
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 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 on disputed waters. Europe can’t rely on the US alone to guarantee freedom of the high seas.
Harry Potter shaped the Millennial generation’s politics. Because of Harry and his friends, an entire generation is more likely to support equality and less likely to tolerate authoritarianism, violence, and torture.
The Honda Accord was the most stolen car in the US. Car thieves prefer less fancy cars because they’re easier to take apart and sell in parts.
Richard III drank a bottle of wine daily. Studies of his teeth and bones show he also had a fondness for eating swan, heron, and egret.
A hard-to-refute reason for canceling the Economist. One reader spent less time reading in the bathroom, with positive health effects.
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, an eBay auction could easily beat the last record for a copy of the series, which was $2.16 million.
Passport officers aren’t foolproof. Untrained college students had the same error rate as trained officers in matching a face to a passport photo.