Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Obama’s Syria strikes, Oscar Pistorius verdict, Netflix takes Australia, Japan’s black burgers

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Oscar Pistorius arrived in court to hear his verdict. A judge began summarizing the evidence in the trial of the South African athlete accused of murdering his girlfriend, though the verdict may not be issued until tomorrow.

Lululemon tries to get in 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 expect electronics retailer to report its 10th straight quarter of losses as it reportedly receives restructuring advice aimed at closing stores but avoiding bankruptcy.

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 airstrikes 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.

Scotland’s biggest banks warned against a “yes” vote. RBS and Lloyds said they would both move south of the border if Scotland votes to secede next week. Some analysts see them potentially moving to England even if Scots vote “no.

China’s inflation continued to slow. Consumer prices rose 2% in August from a year earlier, down from 2.3% in July, and 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.

The Thai junta was accused of torturing detainees. Amnesty International and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights claimed to have evidence that the military government staged mock executions, among other abuses. Thai officials said an internal investigation had found no evidence corroborating the accusations.

A European banking dynasty began a new chapter. Ana Patricia Botín was named chairman of Santander, the euro zone’s largest bank by market value, after the sudden death of her father, Emilio Botín. Fifteen years ago, the elder Botín pushed his daughter out of a senior job at the bank.

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 rates appear to have boosted its property sector.

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.

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

There is a gap in our understanding of 9/11. Saudi Arabia’s involvement is described in a classified congressional report.

Companies 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.

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

Surprising discoveries

Cats are the new mascots of whiskey. They used to protect distilleries from rodents but now serve double duty as PR emissaries.

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 like 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.

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

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.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.