Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Germany’s refugee budget, Uber vs. Amazon, less melty ice cream

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What to watch for today

Austria and Germany will end special refugee measures. The countries will phase out emergency measures that have allowed more than 12,000 people to enter from Hungary since Friday. Germany insists this was a one-off exception to the so-called Dublin Rules that mean potential asylum-seekers have to apply in their country of arrival.

Europe’s milk “crisis” comes up for debate. The fall in milk prices in recent years has led to producer protests in Belgium, France, and the UK. An extraordinary meeting of the EU Agriculture Council is expected to address the industry’s demands.

Iran hosts a symbolically important visitor. Austria’s president Heinz Fischer is the first European head of state to travel to the country since the conclusion of a recent nuclear deal. Fischer will be in Tehran until Wednesday, and is bringing representatives from 130 businesses.

US markets are closed. Stock, bond, and commodity markets are shut for Labor Day celebrations; they will reopen tomorrow.

Over the weekend

Germany announced €6 billion for refugee spending. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government stated it will spend an extra $6.7 billion in 2016 to provide support for the refugees entering the country. Half of the figure will be added to the state budget and half will be delivered to local governments; Merkel said she is committed to a balanced budget despite the extra spending.

China revised its 2014 growth downwards. The economy grew by 7.3% last year, according to its statistics ministry, down from an originally-stated 7.4%. The change comes as the growth in China’s services industry was revised downward to 7.8%, from 8.1% earlier.

Toshiba reported a loss over its accounting scandal. The Japanese electronics company lost 37.8 billion yen ($318 million) in fiscal 2014, according to a full-year earnings report that was delayed twice because of accounting issues. A probe into Toshiba, which had previously expected a profit of 120 billion yen, found that it had overstated profits by 155 billion yen since 2008/09.

The G20 put a positive spin on the global economy. The world shouldn’t fear the current shifts in China’s economy or its currency, said global finance ministers agreed (paywall). Concluding a two-day meeting, the group argued that economic growth this year is looking healthy, and that current threats to growth are being overblown.

Greece’s opposition offered Syriza a coalition deal. Evangelos Meimarakis, the leader of the opposition party New Democracy, said he would offer former prime minister Alexis Tsipras a deal no matter which party wins the upcoming election. Meimarakis, whose party is tied with Syriza in the polls, offered to join forces to ensure Greece remains in the euro zone.

The Pope called on Catholic communities to take in refugees. The Catholic leader suggested every parish ought to house at least one refugee family, to support the numbers traveling from Syria and elsewhere into Europe. That follows a recent switch in public opinion over the issue, which has pushed European governments to be more accommodating.

Guatemala went to the polls. Centrist comedian-turned-politician Jimmy Morales held a two-point lead over conservative businessman Manuel Baldizon, likely pushing the election to a run-off. The country is facing a political crisis after former president Otto Perez Molina resigned and was arrested in connection with a customs fraud scheme.

Quartz obsession interlude

Shelly Banjo on why Uber is just what retailers need to take on Amazon. “As more people shift their shopping to the internet, customers are getting increasingly demanding in terms of how quickly they want their goods delivered. And as more consumers shop online for fresh groceries from food delivery startups like Instacart and Deliv, their need for speed will increase even more.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Germany’s response to the refugee crisis is admirable, but not sustainable. What happens when people demand more than a tent and a bottle of water?

It’s too soon to talk about “Africa’s rise.” The continent is minting more millionaires, but its poor aren’t getting any richer.

Americans are no longer making friends at work. Work is a transactional place (paywall) where we have “productive conversations” instead of social ones.

Hilary Clinton finally sounds presidential. The 2016 Democratic candidate is coming across as knowledgable—even almost coherent—on the pesky subject of her personal email account.

We have to stop treating celebrity children like sexually-mature adults. Just because they’re famous shouldn’t mean that normal rules on consent don’t apply.

Surprising discoveries

A Japanese bookstore sells only one title per week. Each evening, events connect the author with readers.

Scientists are working to slow ice-cream melt. A bacterial protein could delay that delicious scoop from becoming a sad puddle.

Cartoon loaves of bread are an Instagram trend in Japan. Most of the best come from a user named @umi0407

Computers can now paint like Van Gogh and Picasso. The software used to perform the feat mimics the human brain’s neural network.

A Russian town has been “besieged” by hungry bears. As many as 30 bears have been reported circling the town of 21,000 people.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cute bread, and computer-generated paintings to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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