Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Indonesia’s election ruling, BofA’s record settlement, Target’s bad news, Brazil’s Barack Obama

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Indonesia’s court weighs in on the election. The country’s constitutional court decides whether to overturn the July election results that gave Jakarta governor Joko Widodo a 6% lead over Prabowo Subianto. Prabowo brought the legal challenge alleging election fraud. These are the nine judges making the decision.

Protests give way to parley in Pakistan. After reaching Islamabad’s “Red Zone” and surrounding parliament with demonstrators, opposition leader Imran Khan opened negotiations with the government. Khan, a former cricket star, is the frontrunner in an effort to oust prime minster Nawaz Sharif.

Ferguson focuses on investigations. US attorney-general Eric Holder has arrived in Ferguson, Missouri, and promised a quick investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9. After days of protests, the streets have been relatively calm (paywall). A Missouri grand jury has begun to hear evidence.

The Gaza war rages on. Since the collapse of talks on Tuesday, Israel has launched some 100 air strikes at Gaza, killing at least 23 Palestinians including the wife and son of Hama’s military leader in Gaza. Hamas has launched more than 180 rockets at Israel; no casualties have been reported on the Israeli side.

Ukrainian forces try to regain Donetsk. Clashes between government troops and pro-Russian separatists around the rebel-held city have killed 34 residents and injured 29 in the past day or so, the Ukrainian authorities say.

Bank of America may announce a record settlement. The bank could agree as soon as today to pay more than $16.5 billion in fines and compensation to settle investigations into fraudulent mortgage securities. The deal would beat the $13 billion JP Morgan paid on a similar count last year.

While you were sleeping

Russia went bananas over burgers. The country’s main consumer watchdog ordered four McDonald’s outlets in Moscow to suspend operations, claiming “numerous” breaches of sanitary standards. In July the watchdog filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s, citing various violations.

ISIL kidnapped more foreigners. The group took four hostages in Syria and is now thought to hold 20 altogether. The US confirmed that the ISIL video released on Tuesday, showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley, is authentic. Intelligence agencies are trying to identify Foley’s masked executioner, who had a British accent.

The debate over rate hikes intensified. Minutes from the latest meetings of both the US and the British central banks showed that some policymakers at both institutions want to raise interest rates sooner, amid signs that the economies are improving. The Bank of England had its first split vote on the benchmark interest rate in three years.

Liberians protested quarantine. Violence erupted in West Point (paywall), a slum in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, after it was put under quarantine and curfew in an effort to contain Ebola. Soldiers clashed with thousands of young men trying to storm the neighborhood’s barricades.

The markets told Argentina: “Good luck with that.” The country is proposing to start using an Argentine bank (paywall) instead of an American one to service its debt, to get around a US court ruling that last month prompted the nation’s second default in 13 years. For that, though, its existing creditors would have to accept a debt swap. Markets were not impressed.

More bad news for Target. The company reported a 62% tumble in second-quarter profit, and slashed its full-year profit forecast, after cutting prices in an attempt to win back customers scared away by its data breach late last year. The breach, which compromised at least 40 million payment card numbers and 70 million other pieces of customer data, has cost the chain $150 million so far.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling revisits Hollywood’s golden years, after the industry’s worst summer. “Many consider 1939 to be Hollywood’s “golden year”—the year of Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and Stagecoach. But in financial terms, 2002 is the record year for gross ticket sales at the US box office (based on BoxOffice Mojo data, which goes back to 1982, and converted to inflation-adjusted dollars using the BLS inflation calculator). In nominal terms, 2013 was a record year at the US box office.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

Kurdish fighters aren’t terrorists. The Kurdistan Workers Party is on the US terrorist blacklist, but it it can play a constructive role in Iraq.

Private investment alone won’t help Africa. The recent US-Africa Summit promised a flood of new cash, but the public sector needs financing too.

The crisis of America is the crisis of the black male. The country may have a black president, but it still has to address its black underclass.

Harry Potter shaped the politics of the Millennial generation. Fans of the series are more likely to support equality and less likely to tolerate authoritarianism, violence, and torture.

Twitter is just like TV. The continuous, unstoppable stream of content is what makes it maddening, but also gripping.

Surprising discoveries

A Chinese beer maker was arrested for putting Viagra in his drinks. He marketed his beer as “healthy.”

A bathroom made out of Belgian chocolate will cost you $133,000. The full set is made up of an estimated 12 years’ worth of calories.

A Brazilian parliamentary candidate is campaigning as “Barack Obama.” His real name is Claudio Henrique.

Big weddings mean happier marriages. Couples with 150 or more guests at their wedding are more likely to describe their marriage several years later as a happy one.

Detroit is more “livable” than New York and London. And so are 54 other cities.

The Honda Accord is the most stolen car in the US. Car thieves prefer cars that are easy to dismantle and sell for parts.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, wedding invitations, and Honda car parts to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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