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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US stimulus cut, China stimulus boost, Zara’s mixed results, unhappy clams

What to watch for today

The end of QE is nigh. The US Federal Reserve is expected to cut back bond purchases by an additional $10-$15 billion a month as it wraps up its two-day policy meeting. That would put the two-year-old program of quantitative easing on track to end in October—could the next step be an interest-rate hike?

Xi Jinping visits India. The Chinese president meets Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in his home state of Gujarat, as the two nationalist leaders discuss an expanded economic partnership. One potential sticking point: Modi has been enjoying quite the bromance with Japan’s Shinzo Abe.

FedEx tries to beat expectations. The shipping company’s ambitious full-year profit target will get its first status check (paywall) with the release of fiscal first-quarter results. So far, demand for air and truck freight has been high.

Scotland’s final opinion polls trickle in. The most recent survey shows independence supporters with 48% of the vote ahead of Thursday’s referendum.

A Chinese Uighur scholar goes on trial. Ilham Tohti, a prominent economist, could face the death penalty if convicted of separatism. China’s antagonistic relationship with its Muslim minority is under increased scrutiny after several Uighurs were linked to the extremist group Islamic State.

While you were sleeping

China announced a new stimulus measure. Its central bank will inject 500 billion yuan ($81.4 billion) of liquidity into five state-run banks to encourage lending, following further signs of slowing economic growth. Economists voiced concerns that the targeted measure was not sufficient to reverse the economy’s downward momentum, and that doling out cash to banks was not sufficiently transparent.

Inditex profits slipped. The owner of Zara saw first-half net income fall to €928 million ($1.2 billion), from €951 million a year earlier, due to foreign currency pressures. Sales rose 5.6% year-on-year to €8.1 billion.

Euro zone inflation was revised up. Consumer prices in August were up 0.4%, compared with an initial estimate of 0.3%—still within the European Central Bank’s “danger zone” of less than 1%, which raises the fear of deflation.

This year’s MacArthur genius grants are out. Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, saxophonist Steve Colman, a researcher on police relations with the black community, and an advocate for domestic abuse victims joined 17 others in receiving $625,000 with no strings attached.

UK unemployment fell to a six-year low. The jobless rate fell to 6.2% for the three months ending July, down from 6.4% in the three months to June.

Endo offered $2.2 billion for Auxilium. The Dublin-based specialty drugmaker made an offer that was 30% over Auxilium’s closing price. Auxilium’s best-known drug, Xiaflex, is used to treat men with extreme curvature of the penis—a condition known as Peyronie’s disease—but may also be used to banish excess cellulite.

Softbank’s founder became the richest man in Japan. Masayoshi Son’s net worth rose 3.4% to $16.6 billion on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. Softbank’s 34% stake in Alibaba is a significant driver of his wealth, as the Chinese company’s IPO on Friday is shaping up to be the largest ever.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on the lost quarter-century of the American family. “Effectively, inflation-adjusted US median household incomes are still about 1% below where they were in 1989. That’s nearly 25 years ago. And median household incomes are still 9% below the all-time peak back in 1999, when they were $56,895… On the other hand, salaries on the high end of the spectrum have rebounded quite nicely.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China needs to pull its weight on Ebola. Its aid is paltry compared to the investments it’s making in the region.

The Islamic State should be allowed to be a state. The extremist group would fail spectacularly and discredit itself.

Credit may not drive economic growth. It’s a widely-held finance truism but nobody has ever proved it.

Harvard Business School is ruining America. It’s uniquely responsible for the pay gap between CEOs and ordinary workers.

You can’t be as “happy as a clam.” Clams don’t have emotions, and they have little to be happy about.

Surprising discoveries

Airbus patented a “sensorial isolation” helmet. It’s designed to make you forget you’re on an airplane.

There’s a black market for pumpkin spice latte syrup. The pilfered Starbucks ingredient can fetch up to $120 per jug.

Angry Pakistanis shouted a politician off their plane. He had kept the flight waiting on the tarmac for two hours.

Angry Ukrainians dumped a politician into a rubbish bin. They were displeased with his vote in support of amnesty for pro-Russian rebels.

What’s heavier than a giant squid? A colossal squid. The second intact specimen ever found weighed 350kg (770lb).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, illicit syrup, and melancholy shellfish to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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