Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Obama’s Syria strikes, China’s slowing inflation, Netflix takes Australia, Japan’s black burgers

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What to watch for today

The EU visits Kyiv. Russia’s foreign policy will be the number one topic as European Commission president José Manuel Barroso arrives in Ukraine for a two-day working visit, including a sit-down with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko.

Lululemon looks out of shape. The yoga-gear maker is expected to post quarterly profit (paywall) of $42.7 million, down from $56.5 million last year. The company has blamed inventory bottlenecks as it introduces more styles, and insists its notorious see-through pants disaster is behind it.

The death watch resumes for RadioShack. Analysts project the electronics retailer will report its 10th straight quarter of losses as it reportedly receives restructuring advice from law firm Jones Day, aimed at closing stores but avoiding bankruptcy.

The Oscar Pistorius case draws to a close. A judge will summarize the evidence heard in the trial of the South African athlete accused of murdering his girlfriend. That could take some time though, and it is possible no verdict will be heard until Friday.

The US honors those killed on September 11. The 9/11 memorial and museum will open for families of the victims and emergency personnel, followed by the public, after a ceremony in New York.

While you were sleeping

Obama ordered air strikes in Syria. The US president will expand the military campaign against Islamic State militants “wherever they are,” including within Syria. Saudi Arabia has also agreed to provide a base to train moderate Sunni opposition fighters in Syria’s civil war.

China’s inflation continued to slow. Consumer prices rose 2% in August from a year earlier, down from 2.3% in July, well below the government’s target rate of 3.5%. Producer prices also fell for the 30th consecutive month, providing the government plenty of room to continue its stimulus measures.

Australia added 121,000 jobs in August, over eight times the number forecast in a Bloomberg estimate. However, only 14,300 of the jobs were full-time. Falling mining investment had dampened the Aussie economy, but recently-lowered interest raters appear to have boosted its property sector.

Google bought an intelligent spoon company. Lift Labs makes an eating device for people with Parkinson’s and other tremor-causing ailments. Google co-founder Sergey Brin has a genetic mutation that puts him at risk for the disease.

Toyota is finally interested in Mexico. The only major global carmaker that doesn’t yet have a full assembly plant in the country is looking for a manufacturing site. Rising US demand has fueled a boom in auto plants south of the border; three $1 billion factories have been announced since June.

The Atlantic hurricane season is eerily quiet. For the first time since 2000, there are no named storms in the Atlantic at the statistically most dangerous time of the year.

Things are looking up for ozone. Remember when everyone was panicking about the ozone layer rather than global warming? Well, it’s showing its first sign of thickening after 35 years, after the world decided phase out CFCs in aerosol sprays. Hard to see that happening for fossil fuels.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on how Netflix has the Australian media industry terrified. “Just 200,000 users might not sound like much in the context of Netflix’s 50 million users globally, but it’s nothing to sniff at, especially since Netflix spent no money to acquire those users. And for a country of Australia’s size… it is hugely significant. One study… claims that Netflix has now become the second most popular paid online media company in Australia.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Corporations should recruit more weirdos. A little eccentricity helps businesses thrive.

Obama has learned a Michael Corleone lesson in the Middle East. He tries to get out, but they keep pulling him back in.

Everyone should read the Harry Potter books. Research shows that they instill empathy.

Carmakers should be liable for self-driving car accidents. Car owners can’t be held accountable.

Apple Pay will make you poorer. The transactions on the new payments service are so frictionless that you won’t realize how much you’re spending.

Too much religious freedom can hurt economic growth. Governments need to prevent discrimination while keeping religions from gaining too much power.

Surprising discoveries

China is urging the Dalai Lama to respect reincarnation. It’s part of a power struggle between Beijing and the Tibetan Buddhist leader.

Black burgers are trending in Japan. The country’s Burger King outlets are selling sandwiches with ingredients made from bamboo charcoal and squid ink.

Apple killed the iPod classic while nobody was looking. It was quietly removed from the Apple website the day of the iPhone 6 launch.

Norway is renting prison space in the Netherlands. Its famously humane jails are being renovated.

Six US army helicopters landed in a Polish field to ask for directions. “Thank God it was the Americans,” one local said.

Editor’s note: Yesterday’s surprising discovery about DJ’s intentionally introducing mistakes into their mixes was in fact satire.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unusually colored burgers, and weirdo employee résumés to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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