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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Napa cleanup, France’s reshuffle, Russia’s unwanted aid, Darwinian diseases

By Quartz Staff

Good morning, Quartz readers!

And hello world… again. Quartz just got a whole new look. Here’s our guide to what has changed. You might especially like our new homepage, led by the Brief, a sort of continually updated version of this newsletter. We hope you’ll check it out, spread the word, and let us know what you think.

A new ground war in Gaza? Israel’s defense minister hinted that the army might use more than air strikes as it continues a campaign against Hamas’s military wing. The prime minister told Gazan residents to get out of the way. Yesterday Israel killed another Hamas leader, the fourth senior member of the organization killed in the past week.

Napa counts its losses. Already hit hard by drought, Napa Valley’s more than 500 wineries have been seriously affected by the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck in the early hours on Sunday morning. Economic losses are estimated to be as high as $100 million for the valley, home to a $13 billion wine industry.

Russia offers more unwanted aid. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference that Moscow wants to send another humanitarian convoy into Ukraine “in the coming days.” The previous convoy, which crossed the border on Friday without Kyiv’s permission or Red Cross escorts, ramped up tensions between the countries even further.

Scotland’s boring independence debate. The former British chancellor, Alistair Darling, has been urged to “keep it boring” in a final televised debate tonight against Scottish first minister Alex Salmond over Scottish independence. The first debate was a shouting match that neither side won. More voters believe Scotland should remain part of Britain than become independent, recent polls show.

The US Open begins and the Emmys are on. Two title winners, Rafael Nadal and Li Na, will sit these games out due to injuries. Australian Nick Kyrgios, who beat Nadal at Wimbledon this year, and Russian Mikhail Youzhny will play the opening match. The 66th Emmy Awards will be held tonight, a month earlier than usual. HBO has the most network nominations at 99, with 19 of them going to “Game of Thrones.”

Over the weekend

The French government got a reshuffle, again. French prime minister Manuel Valls announced the current government’s resignation, and said he’s been chosen by president to François Hollande to create a new one tomorrow. This is off the back of strong calls by the French economic minister, Arnaud Montebourg, and other ministers, for new economic policies that don’t fall into line with German austerity measures. It’s the second reshuffle in six months.

Islamist militias claimed Libya’s capital. Militias calling themselves ‘Dawn of Libya’ said they have taken control of Tripoli (paywall), pushing back rival groups after a weekend of fighting that destroyed much of the capital’s international airport.

No ransom for an American hostage in Syria. The US says it paid no money to release Peter Theo Curtis, an American journalist kidnapped nearly two years ago in Syria who was freed Sunday. He was being held by Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda offshoot. A memorial service was held Sunday for slain journalist James Foley in his New Hampshire hometown (paywall).

Burger King wants to move to Canada. The US burger chain is working on a deal to buy Tim Hortons, a Canadian coffee-and-donut chain, sources tell the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The deal would shift its headquarters Canada—a so-called “tax inversion” to cut its overall tax bill. Buying Canada’s equivalent of Dunkin’ Donuts might also help Burger King in the fast-food breakfast wars.

Malaysia Airlines may lay off one-fifth of its staff. The national carrier is considering cutting 3,000 to 4,000 of its roughly 20,000 jobs, canceling some aircraft orders and shutting down some routes, sources told Bloomberg. The government is working on a restructuring plan for the airline after two fatal disasters this year.

Ebola appeared outside West Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo said up to 13 people may have died from Ebola, in an outbreak apparently unrelated to the one ravaging West Africa. The first British healthcare worker who tested positive for Ebola in Sierra Leone landed in the UK for treatment.

India’s Uber ruling could have legs. The central bank closed a loophole that gave the online car service an edge over local radio-taxi companies. Uber customers paying by credit card must now also enter a security code delivered by text message, like other Indian credit-card transactions. The rule could hit other foreign companies, including Apple.

Richard Attenborough, director of “Gandhi” and other classic films, died at 90. An actor, director and producer, his career spanned 74 years. His 1982 biopic of Mahatma Gandhi won eight Oscars and was one of his greatest achievements, but he was most familiar to moviegoers for his recurring role in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park trilogy.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on the story of Elon Musk and GM’s race to build the first mass-market electric car. “The stakes are enormous. Most electrics have less than 100 miles of range. Experts regard 200 miles as a tipping point, enough to cure many potential electric-car buyers of “range anxiety,” the fear of being stranded when their battery expires. If GM and Tesla crack this, sales of individual electrics could jump from 2,000 or 3,000 vehicles a month to 15 to 20 times that rate, shaking up industries from cars to oil, which were until now certain that large-scale acceptance of electrics was perhaps decades away.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Email is killing us. Late evenings are a time to channel our late-night email addiction.

Burning Man has become a tech conference. And nobody should be surprised; the Nevada desert festival was built on the same impulses as Silicon Valley.

A really great marriage is rare. Getting people to realize that would let them make better choices about both marriage and divorce.

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart aren’t so liberal. Their guests “more closely resemble a GOP national convention” than they do the liberal idea of a diverse and equitable America.

Large-scale urban agriculture is possible. But success depends less on agricultural techniques than e-commerce and marketing.

Surprising discoveries

The science behind a perfectly browned pizza. Researchers worked out why mozzarella browns so well and how to use other cheeses.

The complete guide to swearing at work. A judicious f-bomb has its uses.

ISIL is also targeting Iraq’s cultural heritage. It’s obliterating “some of the first drafts of human civilization.”

A young boy now has a 3D-printed vertebra. Surgeons in Beijing implanted the titanium piece in a 12-year-old with bone cancer.

Ask more for advice. People will think you’re smarter if you do.

Diseases are Darwinian. The evolution of already-known pathogens and cramped “disease factories” like refugee camps, not jungles, are where future pandemics lie.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, expletives and advice to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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