Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Smooth-talking the Scots, Apple’s big day, Marissa Mayer’s test, cake billboard

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What to watch for today

Will Obama call for bombing Syria? The US president delivers a speech outlining his strategy against the Islamic State. He has already signaled he might authorize airstrikes without congressional approval, and a new poll shows most Americans would support them, while another poll shows growing (albeit still minority) support for a more active US foreign policy in general.

Europe discusses Russia sanctions—again. Having adopted new sanctions against Russia on Monday, the EU will now debate whether to apply them. Despite scattered fighting, the Ukraine ceasefire is, in the Russian foreign minister’s memorable euphemism, still holding “in general.”

English leaders try to smooth-talk the Scots. Britain’s Tory, Labour and Lib Dem leaders will all skip the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions and head to Scotland to try to cajole voters out of seceding, after polls showed the “yes” vote as possibly winning and the pound slumped.

The internet slows down. Or will seem to, if you’re browsing one of a bunch of sites (including Netflix, Reddit, and Wordpress) taking part in a protest against proposed new US rules allowing “slow” and “fast” lanes. The sites won’t actually load more slowly; they’ll just pretend to with ”spinning wheel of death” icons.

While you were sleeping

Apple shares slid after its big reveal. After the company unveiled a smartwatch (here’s what it’s like to wear it), a pair of larger (and thinner, but not that much thinner) iPhones, and a new payments system, its shares were down as much as 2%, after initially rising nearly 5%. Still, that’s not untypical for Apple product launches.

Atlantic City suffered another blow. Trump Entertainment Resorts will file (again) for bankruptcy, adding to the swelling ranks of Atlantic City casinos in danger of closing. Three have already shut this year as gambling has expanded in neighboring states; the Trump closures could bring the total jobs lost this year to one-fifth of the city’s workforce.

Greenhouse gases hit an all-time high. Levels of carbon dioxide grew at the fastest rate ever in 2013, according to the World Meteorological Organization, reaching 396 parts per million, up 2.9 ppm from 2012. “Pleading ignorance can no longer be an excuse for not acting,” said the WMO’s head.

Some damning evidence on MH17. The Malaysia Airlines flight that went down over eastern Ukraine in July broke apart in the air after being damaged by “a large number of high-energy objects,” according to a preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board. Malaysia’s prime minister said that hints strongly at a surface-to-air missile.

Google started debating the “right to be forgotten.” The company held the first of seven public meetings planned across European cities to discuss the balance between privacy and free speech. The company says it’s had over 120,000 requests to deactivate 457,000 search-engine links since a court ruling in May.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on how Alibaba’s upcoming IPO is a true test for Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer. “As the highest-profile female CEO in a corporate world still overwhelmingly and depressingly dominated by men, Mayer is already a trailblazer. If she can set Yahoo on a sustainable post-Alibaba path, it would rank as one of the great corporate turnarounds. The problem is, to outsiders at least, there is no obvious way of achieving that.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The NFL’s next commissioner should be Condoleezza Rice. The former US secretary of state is the only one that could save the football league.

The African National Congress has a fascism problem. South Africa’s ruling party is resorting to fearmongering—by labeling the opposition as fascists.

Reddit is a failed state. The online community where nude celebrity photos were leaked is like a feudal system run by angry warlords.

Facebook doesn’t deserve its more than $200 billion valuation. But Google does.

Uruguay can teach the world about drug reform. Its marijuana-legalization effort contains several useful lessons on how to do it right.

You should be able to choose in advance when to die. People with incipient dementia should be allowed to write living wills that tell doctors when to administer the lethal dose.

Surprising discoveries

The Libyan parliament’s new home is a Greek car ferry. The legislature fled the country’s war-torn capital and is taking refuge in the vessel in Tobruk.

A German waiter broke the world beer-carrying record. He hefted 27 full mugs 40 meters (130 feet).

Canada has solved one of its greatest mysteries. An explorer’s lost ship was found in the Arctic.

Google perks are so good employees don’t need to pay rent. One worker lived on campus for years.

London had an advertising billboard made of cake. It took seven hours to make, and the public ate it up—literally.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, lost ship sightings, and cake leftovers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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