Quartz Daily Brief—Bank fines, Nokia rebranding, North Korean generosity, bears hate computers

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

A fly on the Bank of England’s wall. Earlier this month, the BoE decided to keep interest rates at 0.5%. The minutes from the meeting at which that decision was made come out today and may show there was fierce disagreement—yet again—with where to take the benchmark.

Boeing prepares for takeoff. The airplane maker has surprised investors in the past with positive numbers, so the same is expected today. It’s already said that it delivered 186 commercial jets in the third quarter, up 9.4% from a year ago. Trouble is, an over-budget Air Force contract may force Boeing to swallow $1 billion in excess costs.

GlaxoSmithKline investors take a deep breath. The pharmaceutical maker reduced its annual sales and profit forecast in July because of poor sales of inhalers in the US. Analysts will be keen to hear how the company’s latest respiratory drugs—Breo Ellipta and Anoro Ellipta—are doing.

European banks pay their dues. The European Central Bank is scheduled to receive €5.8 billion ($7.4 billion) from banks that took out crisis loans. What it plans on doing with that money is up for debate—Reuters says it may buy corporate bonds as early as this year.

And some American data. The US Labor Department is expected to report a 1.6% increase in consumer prices, down from the 2.1% it disclosed in June; and the Energy Information Administration will provide an update on the number of barrels of oil the US has stockpiled.

While you were sleeping

Really big banks got slapped with really small fines. The European Commission penalized JP Morgan €61.6 million ($78.5 million) for rigging Libor between March 2008 and July 2009. Four banks—RBS, UBS, JP Morgan and Crédit Suisse—are also sharing a €32.3 million fine for fiddling with the Swiss franc.

Microsoft dumped the Nokia brand. Less than six months after the software giant completed its acquisition of the Finnish firm, it’s decided to lose the name. According to a Microsoft statement, Nokia France will be the first of many country subsidiaries to rename itself to “Microsoft Lumia.”

McDonald’s profits took a hit. Americans are choosing to get their fast food from other restaurants, bringing the Big Mac maker’s quarterly net income down 30% to $1.07 billion. Sales in the US and worldwide are both down 3.3%, a sharper drop than investors expected. The situation in China and Russia isn’t helping.

Daimler sold its Tesla shares.  “Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued,” but the German automaker seems more interested in the roughly $780 million it will make from ridding itself of its 4% piece of Tesla. Perhaps unsurprising, given the Daimler CEO’s bearish attitude (paywall) on Tesla’s battery “gigafactory”.

Staples started investigating a potential hack. The office supply store says its credit-card systems may have been breached, though it isn’t confirming an actual lapse of security, nor how large it may be. Reminder: Target had 40 million credit-card numbers stolen last year; Home Depot last month had 56 million.

North Korea freed a US citizen. There are still two over there, but Jeffrey Fowle is on his way home. He was arrested six months ago for leaving a bible in a restaurant, which the government declared an “anti-state” crime. The two other Americans there are Matthew Todd Miller and Kenneth Bae.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz with the story of how Elon Musk built a low-budget space-travel company. “SpaceX currently charges $61.2 million per launch… Other providers often charge $250 to $400 million per launch; NASA pays Russia $70 million per astronaut to hitch a ride on its three-person Soyuz spacecraft. SpaceX’s costs are still nowhere near low enough to change the economics of space as Musk and his investors envision, but they have a plan to do so.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Marissa Mayer is the perfect Yahoo CEO. She’s more than doubled the company’s mobile reach in just two years.

Women should go to Mars. Men weigh more, take up more space, and need more calories to survive.

OPECs days are numbered. Thank shale and the push for renewables (paywall).

There’s another way to prevent Ebola from spreading. Require a special health visa for people from West Africa.

No one knows when single quotes should be used. So stick to double quotes.

Surprising discoveries

Audi broke a speed record. And it did it without a human driver.

Flashlight apps are dangerous. Not all of them, of course, but some will steal your data.

Poor safety practices lead to amazing discoveries. Artificial sweeteners were created by accident.

Nose cells can fix a man’s spine. It’s a surgical procedure being hailed as more important than the moon landing.

Old computers are remarkably useful. Hurling one at a bear can save your life.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, speed records, and old computers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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