Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Gaza truce holds, Tiffany reports, Uber sabotage, banana money

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What to watch for today

Turkey toys with interest rates. The central bank is under pressure to drop its benchmark rate again, after lowering it by 175 basis points since January. The government says more rate cuts will slow inflation, contrary to what most economists believe. Most of the brokerages in a Reuters survey don’t expect a cut.

Tiffany rolls out the bling. The retailer and jeweler may continue its strong streak, despite a luxury brand slowdown in Asia.

Hopeful news for the solar industry. Yingli, the world’s largest solar panel maker, is expected to report a smaller quarterly loss, amid signs that a global glut of solar components is finally ending. Competitor Trina reported a 69% jump in shipments yesterday (and that was less than it hoped for).

Brinkmanship over Syria. Pressure is growing on the US to bomb Syria after the Islamic State demanded a $6.6 million ransom for an American hostage there; it’s unclear whether she is one of the four missing Americans that Qatar is trying to free. If the US did strike Syria, this is the first town it could hit.

While you were sleeping

More banana money for Chiquita and Fyffes. As the two companies try to finalize their merger, they’ve identified an additional $20 million in annual savings from shipping and IT, bringing the total up to $60 million (paywall). Combined, they will be the world’s biggest banana company with a 32,000-strong workforce (paywall).

The Gaza truce is holding. The Egypt-brokered ceasefire went into effect on Tuesday night and was welcomed with celebratory gunfire in Gaza. The agreement includes an immediate lifting of Israel’s blockade on Gaza and further talks about a Gaza seaport and the release of Hamas prisoners. Egypt and Israel want guarantees that no arms will enter Gaza.

Fonterra heads back to China. New Zealand’s Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, said it will buy a stake in Beingmate, a Chinese infant-formula maker. Fonterra was badly hurt by its previous foray into China, when its partner at the time, Sanlu, sold contaminated formula linked to the deaths of six children in 2008.

Ukraine’s president promised a road to peace. President Petro Poroshenko said today that work will begin towards a peace plan to end the conflict (paywall) in eastern Ukraine. He and Russian president Vladimir Putin agreed yesterday to de-escalate tensions, and revive talks about Russian gas shipments to Ukraine.

Snapchat is now worth $10 billion and OtterBox $2.5 billion. Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins has reportedly agreed (paywall) to invest up to $20 million in the photo-messaging service, valuing it at some $10 billion. We think that might not be crazy, even though Snapchat still has almost no revenue. Reuters reports that Otter Products, which makes OtterBox protective cases for mobile phones, is exploring a sale that could value the company at $2.5 billion.

Silva gained a lead on Rousseff. Less than a week after the Brazilian Socialist Party made Marina Silva its presidential candidate to replace the late Eduardo Campos, she is emerging as the clear favorite (paywall). A poll after the first presidential debate gave Silva 45% of votes in a run-off, against presidential incumbent Dilma Rousseff’s 36%.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how global warming has hit Russia with a vengeance. “When Vladimir Putin declined to support the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty to limit carbon emissions, he famously quipped that higher temperatures might actually benefit Russia since its people would have to spend less on fur coats. Well, he’s getting his wish… Between 1976 and 2012, average Russian temperatures rose 0.43°C (0.8°F) a decade—more than twice the global average of 0.17°C.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The bombing of Tripoli is a game-changer. The joint Egyptian-Emirati airstrikes paved the way for Arab governments to take action against jihadists in other countries.

Burger King’s Canadian acquisition isn’t about taxes. It’s been reported as a “tax inversion” deal, but it’s really about growth.

American journalists shouldn’t take the risk of covering wars. Their own country is so polarized, their reporting won’t change opinions anyway.

An independent Scotland would be vulnerable to Russia. British defenses would depart and the Russian Navy could carry out bolder incursions.

Badminton is the perfect party icebreaker. It’s “disarmingly silly” because everyone can play it, but no one’s ever that good at it.

Anti-rape nail polish misses the point. Such measures put the onus on women to protect themselves, rather than actually stopping rapists.

Surprising discoveries

Toddlers are really good at math. At least, they have a strong aptitude for probability.

The online taxi wars are getting really dirty. Uber has a secret plan to sabotage competitors, called Operation SLOG.

Whales don’t like to be watched. It stresses them out and increases the risk of boat collisions.

“Sleep drunkenness” is a disorder. Its symptoms are waking with confusion, amnesia, and at times, violent behavior.

Social media curbs real life discussion. Heavy users are more aware of differing opinions, making them more fearful about expressing their own in person.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, badminton tips, and sabotage plans to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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