Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Fed decision day, tsunami hits Chile, robotic garbage collectors

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What to watch for today

The Big Decision finally arrives. The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee will decide whether to raise interest rates for the first time in nine years. Markets are currently betting that the central bank will put off any increase due to market upheaval in China and weak US economic data.

Adobe’s cloudy subscription results. Analysts expect the software company to post an increase in earnings and revenue for the third quarter, as more people subscribe to its cloud-based products like Photoshop. Forbes estimates that the company’s Creative Cloud makes up 64% of its business.

A less-heralded rate decision. The Swiss National Bank’s deposit rates are expected to remain unchanged at a record low of -0.75%, though analysts say the market is supremely underprepared for any surprises. The central bank will also release inflation and GDP expectations.

While you were sleeping

A massive quake struck Chile. Waves higher than four meters (13 feet) hit the coast of Chile, and a tsunami advisory was issued for Hawaii and southern California after a 8.3 strength earthquake hit Chile’s capital of Santiago. Residents of seaside towns in Chile were evacuated to higher ground.

Republicans faced off. The second episode of the GOP presidential debates didn’t become The Donald Trump Show, as feared. Instead Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, took the wind out of Trump, showed why she’s rising fast in the polls, and justified her spot on the main stage along with the 10 other top candidates. The contentious debate was marked by bickering and personal attacks.

Hungary unleashed tear gas on the Serbian border. Police also used batons and water cannons to drive back refugees and migrants seeking to cross into the European Union, in a move that was denounced by the United Nations and human rights groups. People seeking a way to northern Europe are now trekking through Croatia, which has said it will not impede their passage.

A giant beer mega-merger took shape. Anheuser-Busch InBev is planning a takeover bid for SABMiller, in a long-rumored $100 billion deal that would rank as one of the largest of all time. The combined company would control nearly a third of the global beer market by volume.

Apple’s Watch update hit a snag. The company’s highly anticipated Watch OS 2 rollout was scrapped after developers were unable to fix a serious bug in time. Apple’s new operating system for iPhones and iPads, which contains a series of major changes, was released yesterday—though some customers have reported difficulties in trying to upgrade.

Russia wants to talk to the US about Syria. Officials in Moscow proposed “a military-to-military conversation and meeting” regarding Russia’s involvement in Syria, according to US secretary of state John Kerry. Moscow is the biggest foreign supporter of the murderous Syrian regime.

Powerful nerds stood up for a persecuted teenaged clockmaker. US president Barack Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were among the many people who issued declarations of support for Ahmed Mohamed, who was arrested at his Texas high school for bringing in a homemade electronics project.  

Quartz obsession interlude

Allison Schrager on the safe, user-friendly way to be a drug lord. “The dark web does make transactions safer. Thanks to the ratings systems, the product is more reliable and both sides are accountable. You can deal anonymously, and you don’t have to meet potentially dangerous clients or vendors in person.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Billionaires are investing in space flight for sinister reasons. What if they’re planning an escape from the planet they’ve ruined?

AI sex robots are unethical. Their very existence will degrade human relationships.

It won’t be so bad if the Fed raises interest rates. A US interest rate hike might reduce risky investments in overvalued assets.

Facebook’s “dislike” button is going to be a disaster. A thumbs-down option will lead to more passive aggression and interpersonal conflict.

American football players need tackling lessons. Rugby coaches could reduce the sport’s frequent injuries.

Surprising discoveries

Snakes are invading Australian toilets. A severe drought has the reptiles taking desperate measures to find water.

Garbagemen may lose their jobs to robots. Volvo’s prototypes promise to be much quieter than their human counterparts.

There’s a strange mass of warm water off the US Pacific coast. Scientists are calling it “The Blob.”

China doesn’t understand the US presidential candidates. “These old men look so terrible,” bloggers complained.

Antibacterial soap is useless. A thorough washing with regular soap achieves exactly the same results.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tackling instructions, and billionaire escape plans to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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