Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Apple’s new gear, Denmark-Germany border blocked, airplane germ map

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What to watch for today

The Bank of England stays pat, again. The central bank is expected to leave its benchmark interest rate at 0.5%, where it has been for more than six years. Last month, BoE governor Mark Carney hinted that a hike was approaching, but analysts don’t expect it until the second half of 2016.

Bad weather keeps pummeling Japan. The government issued a rare emergency warning and evacuation order due to flooding and landslides caused by tropical storm Etau. More torrential rain is expected in Tokyo and other regions.

Chinese inflation update: August factory-gate deflation, which measures the prices paid by distributors to producers, is expected to fall to its lowest point since 2009, while consumer prices are expected to climb due to higher food costs.

India and Pakistan start border talks. A ceasefire between the two countries is being  continuously violated, including exchanges of fire on Wednesday. Officials will meet to discuss the tense situation.

Earnings? Earnings! Lululemon, Restoration Hardware, Dominion Diamond, and others post their quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Apple unveiled a new iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV… The new iPhone has better specs and a newly pressure-sensitive screen, and the new iPad Pro is a massive laptop replacement. There’s also a Hermès-branded Apple watch in the works, and, at last, a new Apple TV.

…But investors were not impressed. Apple shares fell by about 2% after the products were introduced. Energy shares were also down by nearly 2%, leaving Wall Street down by more than 1% overall and erasing Tuesday’s rally.

Denmark cut all rail links with Germany to keep migrants out. Danish police also closed a major roadway to stop hundreds of migrants from walking into the country from Germany. Denmark took out ads in a Lebanese paper this week warning migrants and refugees not to come.

McDonald’s committed to cage-free eggs. The super-sized burger chain said it will fully transition its Canadian and American egg supply to cage-free (not the same as “free-range”) eggs over the next 10 years. More than 60 other major chains, including Burger King and Starbucks, have made similar announcements.

Russia confirmed it has soldiers in Syria. “Russian military specialists help Syrians master Russian hardware, and we can’t understand the anti-Russian hysteria about this,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman told the New York Times. The US said Russia’s involvement is escalating the conflict, and asked Bulgaria and Greece to deny Russian planes permission to fly over their airspace.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford explains why Singapore’s prime minister is trying to bankrupt a blogger. “As bloggers have brought the pension fund into the spotlight, Singaporeans … want to know why retirement payouts are inadequate for many despite the unusually large share of their wages the government forces them to save; why their pension funds seem to get back a lower return than the state itself earns on that investment; and why the state investment fund, which the prime minister himself heads, declines to publish detailed numbers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Taking down ISIL’s “Twitter tough guys” is a waste of time. The US should target leaders, not their minions—even if they are easier targets.

There’s nothing mobile about the mobile internet. “Mobile” describes the entire internet now.

Architects, please stop making buildings out of shipping containers. Corrugated steel makes for a miserable dwelling.

Migrants and refugees are humans, first and foremost. There’s a Chrome browser extension to help you remember.

Killing large predators like Cecil the lion reduces overall suffering. It protects animals lower on the food chain.

Surprising discoveries

Most mammals take the same amount of time to pee, regardless of size. They need about 21 seconds to relieve themselves.

Airplane lavatories are remarkably clean. Tray tables, however, are totally disgusting.

A new Japanese vending machine speaks in your boss’s voice. It’s an attempt to foster better corporate communication.

Melting permafrost could wake up zombie viruses. Yet another danger of global warming.

Texting while driving is hurting Warren Buffett. Distracted drivers are lowering profits at Berkshire Hathaway’s Geico insurance unit.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, vending machine voices, and permafrost zombies to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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