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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US bombs Syria, UN climate summit, Chinese manufacturing gains, Yahoo for free

What to watch for today

The UN discusses climate change without two of the biggest players. China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi won’t attend the UN climate summit in New York (though lower-ranked officials will). About 650 investors have promised to divest $50 billion from fossil fuels.

Tesco’s new CFO has his hands full. Alan Stewart starts work at Britain’s biggest retailer (paywall) a few months early as he tries to clear up the mess that led to the company overstating its first-half profits by £250 million ($409 million).

Cruises make a comeback. Carnival reports quarterly earnings, and sales are expected to rise slightly as the company continues to recover from its various disasters. It’s looking to Asia for growth, with new sales offices planned in several countries.

Recriminations in Scotland, relief in England. Expect some fur to fly in Edinburgh as the Scottish parliament holds its first session since last week’s failed bid for independence. Meanwhile, Labor leader Ed Miliband will address his party’s annual conference in Manchester.

US manufacturing gets a check-up. Markit will release its flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for September while the Richmond Fed releases its manufacturing and services indices for the month.

While you were sleeping

The US and its allies began airstrikes in Syria… The Pentagon and five Sunni Arab countries deployed bombers, fighters, armed drones, and cruise missiles against the Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, and its forces along the Iraq border. The strikes also killed 30 al-Qaeda-linked militants known as “the Khorasan group,” according to Syrian human rights observers; the US said the Khorasan fighters were planning an imminent attack against the US and Western interests.

…And Israeli forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet. Israel said the plane crossed into Israeli-controlled air space in the Golan Heights, where Syrian mortars and shells have fallen throughout the country’s three-year civil war.

China’s manufacturing sector picked up steam. The September HSBC/Markit flash purchasing managers’ index edged up to 50.5, from 50.2 in August, representing a small acceleration of manufacturing activity. The new data should help ease fears that the economy is sputtering despite the government’s “mini-stimulus.”

A Chinese scholar got life in prison. Ilham Tohti, an economics professor who set up a website to promote a dialogue between China’s minority Uighur and majority Han ethnic groups, was convicted of “separatism” by a Chinese court. Human rights groups deplored the verdict, and the US embassy said his arrest “silenced an important Uighur voice that peacefully promoted harmony and understanding.”

Jimmy Choo took a step toward an IPO. JAB Luxury, the holding company that owns the upmarket British shoemaker, plans to float at least 25% of the business on the London Stock Exchange. Jimmy Choo could be valued at $1.14 billion, and is likely to tout its strong potential for growth in Asia as it tries to tempt investors.

The US got tough on companies skimping on their taxes. The Obama administration is cracking down on tax inversions (paywall), whereby a US company reduces its effective tax rate by merging with a foreign one and moving its headquarters abroad. New rules from the Treasury would complicate or disqualify deals like Burger King’s acquisition of Canada’s Tim Hortons last month.

Ebola cases could reach 21,000 by November. The World Health Organization said the number of infections could rise exponentially from the current 5,800 cases. A lack of basic medical necessities in the hardest-hit countries is hampering efforts to contain the virus.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on why the company that made your iPhone is reluctantly bringing democracy to Chinese labor. “A labor shortage, rising awareness of workers’ rights and ways to protest, as well as pressure on local governments to alleviate a country-wide economic slowdown, have given workers possibly the most power they have had since the Chinese communist party swept into power 65 years ago on the back of a revolution that promised to make life better for China’s farmers and workers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Iraq as a nation is a figment of the White House’s imagination. The Kurds have a very different perspective.

Alibaba could buy Yahoo for free. All that’s standing in the way is Yahoo’s wounded pride.

Germany’s billions of euros to go green were well spent. Sometimes subsidies are necessary.

It’s not Uber’s job to take care of its drivers. If governments fail to provide, businesses shouldn’t have to pick up the slack.

Apple’s new headquarters will be the greenest building on the planet. At least that’s what Tim Cook claims.

Surprising discoveries

Ferrari is recalling 3,000 cars. There were fears that drivers could get trapped in the trunk.

UPS wants to be a 3D-printing hub. Custom fabrication could be a hedge against the day when nothing needs to be delivered.

A giant cloud over St. Louis was actually a swarm of butterflies. They even flew in a giant butterfly formation.

Condoms can be used in the kitchen too. A Japanese cookbook is trying to reverse the falling popularity of the prophylactic.

Sheryl Sandberg is a comic-book heroine. She joins Mother Teresa and Michelle Obama in a series of graphic biographies.

Eating with overweight people makes you eat more. Scientists used an actress in a fat suit to test their theory.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Ferrari escape plans, and Sheryl Sandberg superpowers to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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