Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Time Warner buyouts, Brazil face off, ISIL surveillance, American math

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What to watch for today

Time Warner cuts senior staff. Time Warner’s broadcast division will cut more than 500 senior staff (paywall) as it tries to trim costs after rejecting a $71 billion offer from Rupert Murdoch in July. Turner Broadcasting employees over age 55 will be offered buyouts today, part of a bigger “Turner 2020” restructuring plan. In addition to lowering costs, the company hopes to boost ratings.

Brazil’s presidential candidates face off. Current president Dilma Rousseff, former environment minister and socialist party candidate Marina Silva, and five others meet for their first televised debate before the October 5 elections. A recent poll shows that Rousseff and Silva are tied.

France’s government tries again. Prime minister Manuel Valls will announce a new pro-reform cabinet. President François Hollande told him to reshuffle it after economy minister Arnaud Montebourg ranted about France’s economic subordination to Germany. Hollande has the lowest poll rating of any president since 1958.

What will Best Buy promise investors? Both Walmart and Target cut their sales forecasts recently, and the electronics retailer may do the same when it reports earnings. Best Buy’s CFO already warned investors about declining sales in May.

While you were sleeping

The US is tracking ISIL in Syria. The US is conducting surveillance flights over Syria to track the Islamic militant group, the AP reports. The US will use planes and drones to survey the group’s movements, ahead of possible airstrikes targeting the organization. The Syrian regime warned that the US must coordinate any airstrikes with the acting government, but the US said it won’t ask Syria for permission.

Israel bombed two Gaza high-rises. Israel has begun targeting large buildings with airstrikes and has brought down five towers and shopping complexes since Saturday. The inhabitants of two buildings leveled today received warnings and were evacuated. One 13-story building housed 70 families. Egypt has called for Hamas and Israel to resume cease-fire talks.

Scotland’s “yes” vote gained steam. Scotland’s pro-independence leader, Alex Salmond,  “steamrolled” his pro-Union opponent Alistair Darling in a Monday night debate, media and viewers agree—71% of Scots polled by the Guardian declared Salmond the winner. Whether that will provide enough momentum to propel “yes” voters to victory in the Sept. 18 referendum on Scotland’s independence is still unclear, but they trail “no” voters by a narrowing margin.

Hopes shifted from ZMapp to Avigan. Japan is awaiting the WHO’s go-ahead to provide another experimental drug, Avigan, to Ebola sufferers that could treat 20,000 patients, after a senior Liberian doctor who was treated with the experimental drug ZMapp died from Ebola. Developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings, Avigan is part of the company’s diversification from photographic film.

A major office provider will get bigger. Luxembourg-headquartered Regus, which rents business lounges and offices to clients like Google, said it would open 450 business centers this year. The quick expansion will drive up costs, as it takes around 16 months for a new center to break even.

Accor posted a profit increase. Profit at Europe’s biggest hotel group, which owns 14 hotel brands including the Sofitel and Ibis, rose 15% in the first half, to $289 million. Cost-cutting and increased demand in the Americas, Africa, and the Mediterranean helped growth.

Egypt and the UAE have been bombing Libya. The two countries teamed up to attack the Islamist militias that have just taken control of the capital, Tripoli. They carried out air strikes twice in the past seven days without informing the US, the New York Times reports (paywall).

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on what makes Janet Yellen a revolutionary Fed chair. “From her position as the world’s single most powerful economic voice, the chair of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, is forcing the financial markets to rethink assumptions that have dominated economic thinking for nearly 40 years. Essentially, Yellen is arguing that fast-rising wages, viewed for decades as an inflationary red flag and a reason to hike rates, should instead be welcomed, at least for now.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

British fast food is better than American fast food. “Somebody has to give the American fast-food giants a run for their money,” says the founder of sandwich chain Prêt-A-Manger.

Don’t discount job candidates because typos in their resume. There are typos everywhere, sometimes even in the Bible (paywall).

Americans are terrible at math. Statistics education needs to start earlier—perhaps even in kindergarten.

The resignation of the French government is a wake-up call. France and the euro zone need to act now to avoid an economic disaster.

We’re human because we’re irrational. But it’s important to know how our psychological states influence our choices—when we’re happy, we’re more prone to take risks.

A compromise in the Ukrainian crisis would be a calamity. This is a fight we’ve seen down the ages between autocracy and liberalism, and only one side can win.

Surprising discoveries

A new lake has mysteriously appeared in Tunisia. And it might be radioactive.

This may be the priciest divorce ever. American oilman Harold Hamm, one of the world’s 50 richest people, could lose $17 billion of his fortune.

South Koreans will go extinct by 2750. If, that is, they keep having babies at the current rate.

An elk strolled into a Dresden office building and got stuck. It remained calmly in the foyer until it could be freed.

Iran could benefit from an Israeli drone it shot down. Iran has grown skilled at harnessing technology from captured drones, and this particular UAV slips past radar detectors.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, superior British sandwiches, and office elk to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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