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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—NATO summit, phablet future, Israel’s gas deal, maggot therapy

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

NATO’s most crucial summit in years. Although Barack Obama assured Baltic leaders that NATO allies would defend them from Russian aggression, there’ll be much more talk at NATO’s two-day summit in Wales. Leaders will also discuss how to build a coalition against the Islamic State.

A crucial summit for the WHO too. World experts on Ebola converge on the World Health Organization headquarters to make a plan for quick testing of experimental drugs and vaccines. Human trials on one vaccine are beginning in the US this week.

Central bank decisions in Europe… Wholesale price data (paywall), the weakened euro, and Mario Draghi’s big hint at Jackson Hole have all signaled that the European Central Bank could be close to adopting Fed-style asset-purchasing. At the Bank of England, a divide among policymakers last month brought rate hikes to center stage, but rates are expected to hold, for now.

…and in Japan. Inflation data are roughly in line with the central bank’s projections for reaching the 2% target, so governor Haruhiko Kuroda isn’t likely to announce an expansion of stimulus measures.

While you were sleeping

New cash cushions for US banks. Regulators adopted rules requiring large banks to keep enough cash—or liquid assets, like government bonds, that can quickly be turned into cash—to survive a funding squeeze. The devil is in the details, namely what kinds of assets will officially count as liquid enough.

France finally stood up to Russia… The French government suspended its €1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) deal to sell Russia two warships, in the face of growing pressure from its allies. That’ll be painful to French industry, but could win France a break from being scolded by Germany for fiscal imprudence.

…and Ukraine and Russia got closer to a truce. The two countries’ presidents agreed to the outlines of a peace plan, though Russia said it cannot sign a formal ceasefire because it is “not a party” to the conflict in Ukraine. (Yeah, right, said Barack Obama.) Either way, the markets were relieved.

French luxury giants called it quits. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton will give up its $7.5 billion stake in Hermes, which it acquired stealthily by buying derivatives from several banks, after a French court intervened to end a four-year legal battle. The 23% holding will be distributed to LVMH’s shareholders.

Samsung branched out. The world’s top smartphone maker unveiled a strange new gadget with a curved screen. It also revealed its latest Galaxy Note phablet. Don’t laugh, though: Research firm IDC predicted worldwide phablet shipments will overtake laptops this year and tablets next year.

CVS quit smoking. All of the US drugstore chain’s 7,700 locations went tobacco-free, a month earlier than planned. The chain is sacrificing $1.5 billion in annual tobacco sales, and has changed its corporate name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health, in an attempt to look more, well, healthy.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how Israel is using a gas deal to mend ties with its neighbors. “Israel’s surprising wealth of natural gas—the Tamar and Leviathan fields, together containing the gas equivalent of about 4 billion barrels of oil—was planned for transportation by pipeline or tanker to Europe through Turkey, which could have helped in the current European standoff against Russia. But Israel’s relations with Turkey have deteriorated, putting that plan on the back burner, at least for now. Instead, they will go in large part to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Small victories against the Islamic State are bigger than you think. Advances in Amerli and Tikrit represent ”strategic, political, and psychological gains.”

Pakistan’s military is weakening Pakistan. It’s preventing the civilian government from improving.

Carpooling can save the world. Sharing your taxi with a stranger could save time, fuel, the environment, and lives.

Brazil has squandered its oil bonanza. President Dilma Rousseff’s policies have led to stagnant output and increased dependence on imports.

Surprising discoveries

This German cow has its priorities straight. It escaped a slaughterhouse and headed straight for Oktoberfest.

Microsoft’s Cortana is taking a crack at the NFL. After predicting most of the World Cup matches, the digital assistant is tackling American football.

A way to save on mobile data: Switch off Facebook’s autoplay. The default setting, for videos to play automatically, could be costing you money.

Stockholm used to be covered in telephone lines. Literally: Some 5,000 physical lines were once strung across the city.

Medical bills too high? Try maggot therapy. Fly larvae can heal wounds faster and cheaper than antibiotics.

North Korea’s volcano mystery might soon be unlocked. The country’s giving foreign scientists access to the site of one of the biggest eruptions in human history.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, NFL predictions, and maggot larvae to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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