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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Twitter’s next CEO, IMF’s growth warning, boredom-detecting smartphones

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The European Central Bank meets. Analysts don’t expect the bank to tweak its interest rate, but it could change its inflation forecast. Discussions over China’s economic slump, and its effects on European markets, are also expected.

Twitter’s board discusses its next CEO. Three months after previous chief Dick Costolo quit and founder Jack Dorsey took temporary charge, the social media company’s shares have dropped 22%, and many product heads have also resigned. Investors will want to hear what Twitter directors have planned.

The reviews come in for Samsung’s new smart watch. Media will review the world’s top phone maker’s new Gear S2 wearable at an event in Berlin. It comes after Motorola’s new Moto 360 watch yesterday. 

While you were sleeping

China held a lavish military parade. More than 10,000 troops, 200 aircraft, and a host of new missiles and weaponry were paraded through the streets of Beijing to commemorate the end of World War II—known in China as the War of Resistance Against Japan. In his opening speech, president Xi Jinping announced plans to remove 300,000 personnel from its 2.3 million-strong army, as part of a radical plan to modernize the force.

Guatemala’s president resigned. Otto Peréz Molina stepped down following a court order for his detention over a corruption investigation. Guatemala’s congress voted to strip Peréz Molina of his immunity on Tuesday, and he is barred from leaving the country. Peréz Molina is accused of accepting bribes in return for lowering certain companies’ taxes.

Japan’s services sector unexpectedly grew. The Markit/Nikkei purchasing managers’ index for services came in at 53.7 in August, a big leap from 51.2 in July. That brought the composite—the combination of manufacturing and services—to 52.9, also higher than July and well over the 50 mark indicating expansion. That’s good news for an economy struggling to achieve its inflation goal.

Sweden declined to push its interest rate further below zero. The central bank opted to keep the cost of borrowing at -0.35% (paywall), in a move that surprised many analysts and pushed the krona up. The Riksbank has been buying bonds to try to push its inflation rate towards 2%, despite low energy prices.

The IMF sounded the alarm over global growth. The forecast for worldwide economic growth could be cut significantly, the International Monetary Fund warned the G20. The IMF, which downgraded the same forecast in June, pushed the group to implement policies to boost growth, regardless of recent market volatility.

EasyJet raised its full-year profit forecast. The European budget airline said it expects a pretax profit of as much as £700 million ($1.1 billion), up from no more than £660 million previously and 21% higher than the year earlier. The increase came after the wettest August in 100 years spurred holidaymakers to travel overseas; the shares rose by as much as 6.2%.

Quartz obsession interlude

Svati Narula on why Nepal hasn’t spent any of its earthquake relief aid yet. “While nongovernmental organizations made immediate efforts to provide food, medical treatment, and tarps and tents for shelter after the 7.8-magnitude quake—which together with a 7.3-magnitude quake on May 12 left nearly 3 million people homeless in the Himalayan country—almost no one expected immediate help from the Nepalese government itself, including the people I spoke with in Kathmandu when I was there on May 3 and May 4.Read more here.

Matters of debate

Alibaba is a better indicator of China’s economic health than official GDP. And the picture isn’t pretty.

More Americans should take Donald Trump seriously. He is a dangerous brand of white nationalist, akin to France’s Marine Le Pen.

Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams” video plays into every African stereotype. It’s so bad it mirrors a well-known satire on how to portray the continent.

Forgiving abortions doesn’t mean the Vatican thinks it’s OK. The church still considers the act a grave sin.

Meat-eaters are better animal-rights advocates. They are more relatable than vegans.

Surprising discoveries

It’s almost impossible to pull apart two interleaved phone books. The reason why was a mystery to science, until recently.

Smartphones can be programmed to detect human boredom. When a user seems bored, the phone might offer up games or news articles.

A “travel jacket” is Kickstarter’s most-funded piece of clothing ever. It has 15 features, including an inflatable neck pillow.

Cannabis-infused wine is making a comeback. The drink was last popular among ancient religious sects.

You can Google “fun facts” and it will return a fun fact for you. It also provides a link to the original content.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, stoner wine, and mocking comments to anyone wearing a “travel jacket” to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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