What to watch for today
Singaporeans rally ahead of next week’s general election. Eight out of nine political parties have secured permits for rallies starting at 7pm Singapore time (12pm BST) ahead of snap general elections called for Sept. 11. For the first time ever, opposition candidates are challenging the ruling People’s Action Party for all 89 parliamentary seats.
G20 finance ministers meet in Turkey. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked global financial heads meeting in Ankara to present “investment strategies to secure robust, balanced, and sustainable global growth.” No mention so far of China’s market turmoil or Europe’s migrant crisis, which will need to be addressed.
US policymakers eye August employment numbers. Reports from the US Labor Department are expected to show that American employers hired about 200,000 workers in August. Analysts will be watching to see if the figure is likely to have any effect on the Fed’s decision to raise the cost of borrowing. Doing so would likely make the dollar stronger and affect emerging economies.
Boeing names its commercial space taxi. The opening of a processing facility for the company’s first commercial crew spacecraft—at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida—will include the unveiling of a flashier name; it’s currently known as the CST-100, which stands for Crew Space Transportation-100 and, clearly, lacks pizzazz.
While you were sleeping
Asia-Pacific markets headed for a seventh weekly decline. Japan’s Topix and South Korea’s Kospi fell by 2% and 1.4% respectively in morning trading, pushing the MSCI Asia Pacific index, a composite gauge of various Asia Pacific stock markets, toward its longest decline since 2011. The Aussie dollar also fell to a near six-year low, as industrial metals dropped; indexes in mainland China are closed until Monday.
David Cameron said the UK would accept more Syrian refugees. The prime minister said the country could take in “thousands” more people fleeing the violence in Syria, following a turn in public sentiment over the issue. Canada and Ireland also signaled they would reassess their own policies toward housing the refugees. Public sentiment changed markedly in response to a picture of a three-year-old child who drowned en route to Europe.
Japan’s inflation-adjusted wages rose for the first time in 27 months. The measure of income rose by 0.3% in July from a year earlier while regular pay, which determines base salaries, rose by 0.6%, its fifth consecutive monthly rise. But with the tightest labor market in two decades, such sluggish wage increases aren’t much to celebrate (paywall).
British retail sales tanked in August. High street sales dropped by 4.3% in August compared with a year earlier, according to a survey by BDO, an accountancy firm. The worst drop since the 2008 financial crisis came partly due to a strong pound, which tempted Brits to travel abroad during the month.
A US county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses was jailed. A federal judge found Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk, in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Davis had claimed that issuing the licenses would go against her religion, and had stopped issuing licenses altogether.
Quartz obsession interlude
Matt Phillips on the economic lessons behind the superstitious evil eye. “A recent paper published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization argues that belief in the ‘evil eye’ is actually a finely honed defense mechanism for property holders in societies where envy is more likely to result in destruction of assets rather than the economically productive impulse sometimes known as ‘keeping-up-with-the-Joneses’.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Why does every African accent in Hollywood sound the same? Will Smith plays a Nigerian in his new movie, but uses a “generic” African accent.
Edward Snowden helped Russia strangle the internet. The whistleblower’s exposés gave Vladimir Putin an excuse to expand the Kremlin’s surveillance state.
Marissa Mayer is not an exemplary working mother. But it’s not her job to be a role model.
We should stop buying wedding dresses. They represent the worst of American consumerism.
A reality show in Tanzania documents women farming and vaccinating goats. Female Food Heroes is produced by a humanitarian organization.
A trash-fueled DeLorean will hit the streets of Tokyo. Just like in Back to the Future, but without the banana peels.
An extensive network of 200-year-old tunnels runs under the city of Liverpool. No one knows why.
The internet spawned a teenage anti-ISIS anime character. Her name is ISIS-chan, she’s peaceful, and she loves melons.