Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Apple’s big reveal, insider trader jailed, green junk food, space tweets

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What to watch for today

The US moves forward against the Islamic State. Secretary of state John Kerry will travel to the Middle East to meet with regional leaders, while US officials say they are close to identifying the British-accented man who executed journalist James Foley. President Barack Obama will tell congressional leaders his plan for fighting IS could take three years (paywall), beyond his term in office.

Apple’s big reveal. At today’s event in California, expect Apple to unveil new iPhones with larger screens, some sort of wearable device, and a new mobile-payments system that some say could kill credit cards. A video supposedly featuring the new phone is already on YouTube. Here’s our detailed breakdown of the structure of an Apple keynote event.

The Fed lays out new bank capital rules. Daniel Tarullo, a member of the US central bank’s board of governors, will tell Congress that banks will have to meet even stricter standards for capital requirements than those in the international Basel III accord.

The Netherlands publishes a report on MH17. The Dutch Safety Board will weigh in on what happened to the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed in Ukraine in July. Evidence-gathering has been hampered by fighting in the region.

While you were sleeping

A hedge fund manager got nine years for a $275 million insider trading scheme. Matthew Martoma, a portfolio manager for SAC Capital Advisors (now Point72 Asset Management), received the penalty for his part in the most lucrative insider trading in US history, which made illegal trades on pharmaceutical stocks.

British retail sales perked up. A surge in clothing and shoe purchases in August lifted total retail spending by 2.7% versus a year earlier. But there was little good news for Tesco, the UK’s biggest retailer, which continued to lose market share to both down- and up-market rivals.

General Mills bought Annie’s for $820 million. The maker of Cheerios and Yoplait will offer $46 a share in cash to holders of the organic and natural foods company—a 37% premium over Monday’s closing price. Organic brands are seen as an opportunity for large food companies faced with sluggish growth prospects.

Uzbekistan’s dictator is pursuing a criminal case against his eccentric offspring. President Islam Karimov’s jet-setting daughter, Gulnara, was named as a suspect in a case of extortion, blackmail and corruption, a move that could neutralize her as a future political threat.

Iraq swore in a new unity government. After weeks of political horse-trading, prime minister Haider al-Abadi’s cabinet includes Sunni and Kurdish deputy prime ministers, but still lacks ministers for defense and the interior; his divisive predecessor Nouri al-Maliki is one of three ceremonial vice-presidents. US president Barack Obama also called al-Abadi to discuss dealing with the Islamic State.

The Alibaba roadshow began. Hundreds of investors and hedge funds showed up for day one of the Chinese e-commerce giant’s 10-day tour of the US and Asia. Lots of them brought expected questions about the company’s puzzling corporate governance, recent M&A splurge, and plans for growth.

Home Depot confirmed it was hacked. The US retailer confirmed that its payment systems have been breached in an attack that looks similar to the one Target suffered last year.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how Americans’ love of junk food may be good for the environment. “The fondness for fat and sugar that’s making more and more Americans sick has a strange upside: It creates fewer greenhouse gases (GHG) than a healthy diet does. In fact, if the average American were swap his current diet for the menu recommended by the USDA, the country would produce 12% more greenhouse gases than it does now, according to a new study.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Dismiss Ben Bernanke at your peril. His bond-buying program earned $1 trillion for those who believed in the former Fed chairman.

Reddit is a failed state. The wildly popular website fell short in its handling of leaked celebrity photos.

Fracking is worse than coal. Extracting shale gas releases so much methane that it may outweigh the benefits of cleaner-burning fuel.

Qatar is a “godfather to terrorists.” The Gulf monarchy’s support of extremist Islamists (paywall) is alienating its allies.

High CEO pay isn’t a problem. Short-term incentives pose a bigger danger to shareholders.

Surprising discoveries

NASA will launch your tweets into space. The 50 best tweets and Instagrams will be included in a time capsule returning in 2023.

A 3,000-year-old sword was found in China. A boy noticed it while washing his hands in a river.

Finland’s erotic gay postage stamps are a hit. People in 178 countries have already placed orders.

A single sneeze can infect your entire office. It takes as little as two hours for a virus to spread around a building.

Animal fur can save your child from asthma. The microbes it contains can build resistance in newborn babies.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, erotic postage stamps, and fur-lined onesies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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