Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Floods in Japan, Brazil gets junked, Yelp prison reviews

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What to watch for today

The Bank of England stays put, 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, governor Mark Carney hinted that a hike was coming, but analysts don’t expect it until the second half of 2016.

Bad weather keeps pummeling Japan. Around 90,000 people evacuated their homes after huge floods hit the northeast of the country. Torrential rain from tropical storm Etau is still falling, and is expected to cause havoc for some time.

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

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

While you were sleeping

China’s prime minister ruled out quantitative easing… Li Keqiang said that creating new money would not solve structural issues in the economy, and would generate negative side-effects. But, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Dalian, Li promised that China would not face a hard landing, hinting that the government plans to maintain other stimulus measures.

… As its inflation got even messier. Consumer prices rose by 2% in August from a year earlier, their biggest increase in 13 months, largely on the back of rising food prices. But producer prices dropped by 5.9% from a year earlier, continuing a fall that’s lasted more than three years—a symptom of overcapacity and low demand for industrial goods.

Ikea reported a bumper year. The Swedish furniture retailer posted fiscal-year revenue of €31.9 billion ($35.8 billion), 11.2% higher than a year earlier. Much of that growth was due to new locations, but same-store sales growth also rose by a healthy 5.2% in the year to August. The privately-held company will not report the profit it made from that revenue until December.

Europe’s leaders had mixed responses to the refugee crisis. Ewa Kopacz, Poland’s prime minister, called on citizens to accept more migrants—but said that Poland would refuse Brussels’s mandatory quotas for resettling refugees. Separately, Hungary began military exercises to prepare for a potential deployment of troops to its border with Serbia, a popular migration route.

Brazil was downgraded to junk. Standard & Poor’s, a ratings agency, reduced the country’s sovereign credit rating by one notch, to BB+, and added a negative outlook, suggesting the situation isn’t likely to improve in the near future. That will add more pressure on president Dilma Rousseff to turn around an ailing economy.

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

Multinationals should be aiming for Africa’s lesser-discussed nations. The most promising retail markets are in countries like Gabon and Angola.

Parenting shouldn’t be about sacrifice. Pursue personal fulfillment and your children’s quality of life will improve too.

There’s no such thing as 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.

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

Surprising discoveries

Ex-inmates are reviewing jails on Yelp. It’s not only useful for future detainees, but therapeutic for ex-cons.

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 hurts 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, disinfectant wipes, and vending machine voiceover reels to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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