Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—NYC airport strike, Malaysia scandal widens, Japanese inflation, MIT teaches poker

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What to watch for today

New York airport workers go on strike. LaGuardia and JFK-based employees of Aviation Safeguard, which contracts with airlines to provide security officers and baggage handlers, plan to strike at 10pm ET. Delta might be the most heavily affected airline.

New hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s? Eli Lilly and Biogen present new data on the degenerative brain disease at a conference in Washington. Biogen will unveil results of a trial using a smaller, safer dose of a proven drug; Lilly will announce whether it has found a way to make its drug, solanezumab, slow down the progression the disease.

Brazil updates its inflation data. Analysts expect consumer prices to rise by more than 9% in July from a year earlier. Inflation has spiked in Latin America’s largest economy after president Dilma Rousseff hiked utility rates and other prices, worsening the country’s worst recession in 25 years.

Will US home sales beat a five-year high? Expectations are that annual home sales figures for June will reach 5.4 million, topping May’s five-and-a-half-year high. Statistics are provided by the National Association of Realtors.

Another round of earnings. Boeing, Coca-Cola, AmEx, Discover, Cemex, and many more are due to report quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Chipmaker Arm Holdings reported bumper results. The UK-based manufacturer, whose chips are found in almost all smartphones and tablets worldwide, posted a second-quarter pretax profit of £123.9 million ($193.4 million), up 32% compared with a year earlier. But concerns that the smartphone market is reaching saturation point are hurting the company’s share price.

Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal went international. Singapore froze two bank accounts connected to a probe into alleged corruption in Malaysia’s development fund. No details were offered on which accounts were frozen, which comes after reports that $700 million was allegedly transferred to bank accounts held by Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak (paywall)—Najib denies any wrongdoing.

EasyJet maintained a positive forecast. Revenue per seat for the British low-cost airliner’s fiscal third quarter dropped 2.8% from a year earlier, to £59.10 ($92) (paywall), but remained better than forecast in May, boosted by demand for beach holidays. EasyJet added that its full-year pretax profit outlook is on track to rise 7% to 14% from a year earlier.

Japan tweaked its inflation figures. The central bank reported that consumer prices rose 0.7% in May after stripping out fresh food and energy prices. That’s higher than the 0.1% increase derived from its normal policy of including energy; there is debate over which measure to use to gauge inflation, but the bank may soon adopt the higher figure as its official rate.

China’s business sentiment went negative. The MNI China Business Indicator dropped 8.8% in July to 48.8 (paywall), below the 50 mark that separates optimism from pessimism. That could suggest the recent stock market correction is denting business confidence, adding to long-term concerns over deflationary pressures.

Aussie inflation came in lower than expected. Consumer prices in Australia rose 1.5% in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, up from the first quarter’s 1.3% increase but lower than analysts expected. That could give the central bank leeway to cut the cost of borrowing from its already-record low, despite concerns about a potential housing bubble.

Quartz obsession interlude

Sonali Kohli on bedtime stories from space. “Tribe came up with the idea to have astronauts read children’s stories from the International Space Station in 2010. She and Drew decided on the Max Goes to the Moon series by author Jeffrey Bennett, an astrophysicist and former college professor and elementary school teacher, as the books that the astronauts would read.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Do we really want to ruin Ashley Madison customers’ lives? If so, remember it may be your life the mob comes for next.

El Chapo’s escape from prison was no surprise. The Mexican government wanted the drug kingpin back on the streets.

The future of American political campaigns is public funding. It’s the only way to stop corruption.

Mindful meditation cultivates compassion. It’s good for practitioners and everyone around them.

The US has got the penal system all wrong. Prisoners are not either “violent” or “nonviolent.”

Surprising discoveries

Angolan elephants are expert minefield navigators. Not even dogs can match their sense of smell.

You can learn poker from an MIT professor. ”Poker Theory and Analytics” is the university’s latest free online class.

“Dad bod” is a scientific fact. A pudgy around-the-middle build is strongly correlated with fatherhood.

The winner of the French Scrabble championship does not speak French. He memorized the French dictionary.

Robot surgeons have a rising body count. A new study tallied 144 deaths from 1.7 million procedures since 2000.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, El Chapo’s whereabouts, and MIT’s next course in Scrabble stratagems to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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