Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Korean military standoff, Greek PM resigns, Banksy amusement park

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What to watch for today

Another tense standoff between North and South Korea. After the countries traded artillery fire, Pyongyang issued a 48-hour deadline (expiring Saturday morning local time) for its neighbor to stop broadcasting propaganda from a large set of loudspeakers—and said troops would ready for war Friday afternoon. Seoul is only 56 kilometers (35 miles) from the North Korean border, and the nations are technically still at war.

Typhoons in the Pacific gain strength. The eye of Goni will pass north of the Philippines’ Luzon Island and may reach super-typhoon intensity, potentially causing intense flooding. It then may clip the coast of Taiwan and possibly southern Japan, while Super Typhoon Atsani is on track to stay in open waters. A new Japanese satellite is capturing high-res visuals of the twin typhoons.

Deere & Company reports its earnings. The farming equipment giant—a key bellwether for the US agriculture sector—is expected to post earnings and revenue well below last year (pdf), due to a strong dollar and reduced spending by farmers in response to falling commodity prices. Other companies reporting their earnings include China Shenhua Energy (the world’s largest coal producer) and Foot Locker.

While you were sleeping 

Greece’s prime minister called a snap election. Alexis Tspiras announced his resignation as a way to prompt a new nationwide election. Leftist members of his Syriza party have been in open rebellion against the country’s €86 billion bailout plan, which requires a host of new austerity measures that are opposed by many Greeks.

China’s manufacturing conditions deteriorated… Caixin’s “flash” purchasing managers’ index fell to 47.1  this month, versus 47.8 in July, its lowest point since 2009. Any score below 50 indicates the manufacturing sector is shrinking. The drop stoked fears of weakness in China’s economy, accelerating a sell-off  across emerging markets.

…while Japan’s manufacturing sector improved again. The Nikkei/Markit Japan manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 51.9 in August, from 51.2 in July. It was the fourth straight month (paywall) above 50.

Valeant agreed to buy the maker of a women’s libido drug. The Canadian pharmaceutical giant agreed to pay about $1 billion for Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which just won FDA approval for Addyi, a drug designed to help women “distressed by their low sexual desire.” North Carolina-based Sprout has only 25 employees.

Uniqlo will test a four-day work week. Fast Retailing, the clothing chain’s parent company, will offer 10,000 full-time employees in its Japanese stores the option of a permanent three-day weekend, Bloomberg reports. To qualify, employees would have to put in 10-hour days during the rest of the week.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on how Greece really does not need yet another election. ”This vote will change little. In essence, Greeks will be deciding who they want to implement the conditions that are already spelled out in the country’s latest bailout deal. Creditors have shown little appetite for compromise, leaving whatever government emerges from the election with no room for maneuvering.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There’s no copyright on stolen Ashley Madison data. The adultery site is making a mistake by going after journalists reporting on the breach.

Righteous revulsion won’t prevent pedophilia. It’s a poorly understood brain disorder, not a choice.

Vanity Fair’s transgender issue is a disappointment. It features no trans writers.

Putting women in combat should not be a political issue. The military does not have to reflect society.

“Shade balls” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The water reservoir protectant could be bad for the environment.

Surprising discoveries

A presidential candidate called “Deez Nuts” is polling surprisingly well. He was created by a 15-year-old boy, of course. 

Our stomachs and digestive tracts have taste buds, too. Flavor receptors turn out to be versatile tools.

Banksy has created a dystopian amusement park. ”Dismaland” includes a boat pond full of asylum seekers.

A new London swimming pool is suspended in midair. It was designed by aquarium architects.

The Wikipedia page of things banned in Russia may soon include Wikipedia. The culprit is a recipe for hashish.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Dismaland ride ideas, and Deez Nuts campaign slogans to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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