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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Carlsberg’s bad news, devalued dong, chunky water

What to watch for today

The Fed releases its minutes. An account from the central bank’s July 28-29 meeting could offer new information about the timing of a long-anticipated increase in the benchmark US interest rate. The Labor Department will also report US consumer prices for July, which are likely to fall short of the Fed’s inflation goal.

Angela Merkel visits Brazil. The chancellor will push her hosts to grant German businesses better investment terms during a two-day trip to Brasilia. Germany has 1,300 firms active in Brazil, and they have invested $21 billion into the country’s slumping economy.

Japan launches a space cargo mission. The unmanned launch was initially delayed due to inclement weather. Kounotori (“white stork”) is now scheduled to reach the International Space Station on Aug. 24, carrying 4.5 tons (4 tonnes) of supplies and research equipment.

More earnings. Target, Lowes, and Staples are among those that will post their quarterly results.

While you were sleeping 

Carlsberg’s profit was nothing to cheer. The international brewer reported a second-quarter operating profit of 2.9 billion Danish krone ($430 million), well below an expected 3.2 billion krone. The poor performance was largely due to Carlsberg’s exposure to a volatile Eastern Europe, but cold weather in Western Europe also dented sales; the company lowered its full-year forecast.

Glencore’s profit dropped by more than half. The Switzerland-based mining giant reported a first-half adjusted net income of $882 million, down from $2 billion a year earlier, on a China-led drop in demand for commodities. Glencore lowered its full-year earnings forecast at its trading arm to no more than $2.6 billion, from as much as $3.7 billion in December.

Vietnam devalued its currency. The central bank announced that it has devalued the dong by 1%—its third devaluation this year—by moving its reference rate to 21,890 to the dollar. That comes just a week after China allowed the yuan to depreciate, leading some to suggest a currency war could break out.

GrabTaxi raised $350 million. The Southeast Asian cab-hailing app’s largest-ever fundraising round included backing from Didi Kuaidi, China’s largest ride-hailing company. That got some analysts debating whether Didi Kuaidi may have plans to merge with GrabTaxi, which has 75,000 registered taxi cabs in six countries, to battle Uber in the region.

US authorities approved the “female viagra.” The Food and Drug Administration voted to approve Flibanserin (paywall). Owned by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, it’s the first treatment for sexual desire disorder in women.

Japan’s exports beat estimates. Shipments rose by 7.6% in July from a year earlier, higher than the expected 5.5%. But they were still lower than last year’s 9.5% rise, due in part to less demand for cars and electronics in Asia. That could mean more stimulus measures are required for Japan to achieve its goal of 2% inflation.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zheping Huang on how China’s untrained teenage firefighters make disasters like Tianjin worse. “China has a total of 113,110 contract firefighters, [who] reportedly don’t stay in the job long thanks to low payment, lack of promotion, and great danger… It is still not clear how many of these contract workers were deployed to the blast site, but what is clear is they paid a heavy price.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Amazon’s culture really is terrible. So says the spouse of a former employee.

We need to learn what 2,000 calories looks like. A diabetes epidemic is on the cards if we don’t.

Asia is learning it can’t just rely on China. A decade of lazily riding China’s growth is coming to an end.

It’s a great time to be a CEO. Corporations are doing well, despite doomsday scenarios.

Business travel is actually terrible. Complaints from frequent flyers are backed by new research (paywall) on the ill effects of “hypermobility.”

Surprising discoveries

The newest health fad is fat-infused water. It contains two grams of coconut oil  and is said to taste like “liquid soap.”

Humans descended from the trees much earlier than we thought. The clue came from a 1.8-million-year-old pinky bone.

Sex doesn’t sell. A new study found that ads with sexual content are less effective.

A man was arrested for opening a fake bank in China. The carbon-copy of a real bank accepted deposits but would not allow customers to withdraw cash.

IBM has built a rat brain on a computer chip. It has 48 million digital neurons.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, rat-brain microchips, and fake banks to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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