Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US jobs, fresh Ukraine violence, iCloud security promises, T. rex trumped

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What to watch for today

The EU and NATO tighten the screws on Russia. EU ambassadors are expected to approve (paywall) new sanctions against Russia’s biggest energy firms, while NATO leaders finalize their strategy in Wales. The Russian central bank said it was ready to take “non-standard measures” (paywall) to mitigate the impact of new sanctions, but declined to specify what that meant.

A big US jobs report. The economy is expected to keep up its healthy pace, with economists predicting between 220,000 and 225,000 new jobs and a drop in the unemployment rate from 6.2% to 6.1%. Here are some other reasons to be optimistic. A positive Canadian jobs report is also expected.

Brazil’s inflation stays high. Consumer prices will stay near the top of the government’s tolerance range, with food prices and air fares leading the way.

Decision time for Banco de México. Some analysts expect Mexico’s central bank to keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low to support the country’s recovery, but recent economic gains could also spur a rate hike.

India and Australia’s uranium deal. Australian prime minister Tony Abbott and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi are expected to sign a uranium deal in New Delhi, as India looks to a future powered by nuclear energy. India’s coal shortages are only getting worse, and 300 million Indians don’t have access to electricity.

While you were sleeping

Few signs of peacemaking in Ukraine. Ukrainian forces began shelling pro-Russian rebels near the strategic port of Mariupol, ahead of a planned meeting between Kyiv and rebel leadership to agree on a ceasefire and possible peace plan.

The prospects for euro zone deflation receded. The Eurozone Future Inflation Gauge hit a 28-month high after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi announced a stimulus program to buy asset-backed securities to revive the flagging euro zone economy (paywall).

Apple promised better iCloud security. CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal that customers would receive a notification (paywall) if a new user tried to access their accounts, but denied lax security allowed intruders to access celebrities’ accounts recently.

The Obamacare website was hacked. Hackers broke into a computer server and uploaded malicious files that could be used to launch attacks against other websites. The intrusion, which took place in July, was disclosed for the first time in a briefing to US legislators, who were told that the server did not contain any personal data.

MetLife could face more regulation. A federal committee wants to change the insurance giant’s status to a financial institution that is “systematically important,” which would make it subject to more regulation. MetLife said it would fight the new designation.

Quartz obsession interlude

Max Nisen on the US’s huge year for IPOs. “There have been more than 40 filings in two different months this year, something that hadn’t happened previously since the pre-financial-crisis days of 2007. There have already been 261 initial filings (indicating an intention to IPO) this year—more than there were all of last year.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Al-Qaeda’s new franchise in India is a sign of desperation. The group wants to revamp its brand as the Islamic State hogs the headlines.

Standardized testing is the only way to save Ivy League schools. It will solve the meritocracy debate once and for all.

Twitter shouldn’t curate its timeline. The human judgement within the social network trumps any algorithm.

A handshake is the best American greeting. There’s never been a consensus in the country on how to say hello. 

Alibaba isn’t really a tech company. It’s an impossible-to-value China technology investment fund.

Surprising discoveries

Spicy honey is the next Sriracha. It can go on anything from pizza to sprouts.

Men weren’t the only Viking warriors. An archaeological study found that half were female.

And you thought T. rex was big. The newly discovered dreadnoughtus schrani weighed up to 60 tons.

Don’t nominate dictators for the ice bucket challenge. A Belarussian boy was chastised and threatened with a fine for challenging president Alexander Lukashenko.

Cotton candy was invented by a dentist. He found a great way to ensure a steady flow of new customers.

A dog scarfed down 43 and a half socks. The veterinarian who saved him won a cash prize.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mismatched socks, and handshake alternatives to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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