Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Dollar General’s future, US banks hacked, Samsung wearables, typewriter soundtracks

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What to watch for today

The future of Dollar General’s dollars. While sales are expected to rise at the company, investors may be more interested in what the US discount chain plans to do next, after Family Dollar rejected its takeover bid in favor of smaller rival Dollar Tree.

Carry on Erdogan. After 11 years as Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be sworn in as president. Theoretically it is a more ceremonial role, but with the obliging Ahmet Davutoglu as prime minister, Erdogan should be able to stay in control of the country. In other words, we can expect more of this.

A political agreement takes shape in Pakistan. Pakistan’s military and prime minister Nawaz Sharif might be close to making a deal (paywall) following nearly two weeks of protests in Islamabad calling for the PM’s resignation. The deal would see Sharif hand over security and foreign policy (paywall) to the military. Opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahir ul-Qadri say a decision must be made today, however previous demands have met with little progress.

The US Commerce Department updates its data. A second estimate is due for second quarter GDP. Economists expect it will echo the 4% annual rate of growth predicted in July, thanks to business investment and consumer spending.

A close look at Chinese hydrocarbons. As CNOOC and PetroChina report half-year earnings, analysts will be watching what CNOOC, the country’s biggest offshore oil and gas explorer, has to say  about situation in the politically volatile South China Sea.

While you were sleeping

Did Russia hack US banks? The FBI is investigating a hacking attack in mid-August that lifted data from JPMorgan and at least four other banks, Bloomberg reports. The sophistication of the attack suggests the hand of a government, but cyber-criminals have not been ruled out.

Samsung unveiled wearables. The South Korean company’s newest products include the Gear S smartwatch, which can make and receive calls and should start selling in October and this vibrating necklace/headphone combo. Apple which will unveil its “iWatch” on September 9, Re/code reports.

A third front moved in Ukraine. Ukraine said Russian forces have stealthily invaded Novoazovsk, a southeastern border town, and are heading to the port of Mariupol. These actions quickly erased hopes for the road map to peace that presidents’ Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin discussed late Tuesday. German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded an explanation from Putin.

US TV crewmember accidentally killed. A sound technician for the reality television show “Cops” was shot and killed by police during filming. A robbery suspect armed with a pellet gun, which was mistaken for a real weapon, was also killed.

Microsoft’s CEO will head to China. Satya Nadella will visit China in late September, Reuters reports, after Chinese officials accused the company’s Windows operating system and Office software of violating anti-monopoly laws. Windows 8 has been forbidden at state-run companies, and state television warned this summer that the operating system could be a national security threat.

An up and down day for Qantas. The national Australian air carrier posted a record loss of US$2.65 billion (paywall), after a worse-than-expected writedown. However, chief executive Alan Joyce said the worst is over because new laws will, for the first time, allow foreign investment in Qantas’s international division.

Changes afoot for Malaysia Airlines. Malaysia Airlines has been cleared to begin its biggest restructuring since the airline was established in the 1970s. The airline plans to cut long-haul flights as well as about one-quarter of its workforce (paywall).

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on Argentina’s bizarrely strong stock market. “Yes, economically, the country is a mess. With dwindling foreign reserves and threadbare credit that prevents it from borrowing, Argentina has turned to devaluation to finance itself. The result is a nasty case of stagflation. GDP growth is just barely puttering forward. Private estimates of inflation hover around 40%, according to the Eurasia group. And yet, Argentina’s equity market—as measured by the Mercado de Valores de Buenos Aires, or Merval, has surged 77% this year through yesterday’s close.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US shouldn’t team up with Bashar al-Assad against the Islamic State. Western support for a Shia dictator would make matters far worse.

The Putin era may be over sooner than you think. The Russian president has bitten off more than he can chew in Ukraine.

The idiocy of the $49,000 apple pie exemplifies why crowdfunding will fail. The more money raised, the dumber the crowd gets.

Social science has an existential problem. Telephone surveys are becoming less accurate, because people don’t answer the telephone anymore.

A good psychic can be worth a visit. When they’re not trying too hard to predict the future, they can give good advice.

You should ignore the requirements on a job posting. They mostly describe a fictional ideal.

Surprising discoveries

Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a little girl. Her creators think it very important that you know this.

If Britain were a US state, it would be the second-poorest. In GDP per capita terms, only Mississippi is poorer.

An 11-year-old translated a 1,000-page American epic. He rendered scenes from the novel Infinite Jest in Lego.

Australian farmers found a sheep that may be the world’s woolliest. Its coat, which probably has never been sheared, was so overgrown that it couldn’t see the farmer that sneaked up behind it and caught it.

We can’t smell our own homes. Our brains deem them non-threatening, so they don’t register. But fear of having a bad-smelling home can make your nose more sensitive.

The Times of London’s staff is working to typewriter sounds on loudspeakers. Management is hoping the background sound, which gets louder closer to deadline, boosts energy levels.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, novels rendered in Lego, and typewriter recordings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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