Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—The Fed decides, Chile’s massive tsunami, robot garbage collectors

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

The Big Decision finally arrives. The Federal Reserve will decide whether to raise interest rates for the first time in nine years at the end of its two-day meeting. Markets are currently betting that the central bank will put off any increase due to market upheaval in China and weak US economic data.

Canada’s rivals hold a debate. With next month’s federal elections looming, prime minister Stephen Harper will debate Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party, and Justin Trudeau, who heads the Liberal Party. Harper will likely face tough questions about Canada’s sluggish growth. The debate begins at 6pm Calgary time.

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.

US housing leads economic reports. In US economic data, numbers out today include US housing starts, which analysts expect to show a modest decline for the latest month, and weekly jobless claims. Elsewhere, look for Israeli and New Zealand GDP figures.

While you were sleeping

A quake and tsunami struck Chile. Waves as high as 4.5 meters (15 feet) hit the nation’s coast, the result of an 8.3-magnitude tremor about 144 miles (232km) northwest of the capital, Santiago. At least five people died, and a million residents were evacuated from coastal areas. Tsunami advisories were issued for Hawaii, southern California, and even New Zealand.

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.

Altice confirmed it will buy Cablevision for $17.7 billion. The European cable operator will use the acquisition to accelerate its expansion in the US, where Cablevision ranks among the top five players. Changes in viewing habits are driving consolidation among cable TV providers, with the popularity of Netflix and other web TV services posing a major threat. Altice shares jumped 10% in early trading (paywall).

Hungary unleashed tear gas on migrants at the Serbian border. Police also used batons and water cannons to drive back 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.

Saudi Aramco got a new leader. Amin al-Nasser was named president and CEO of Saudi Arabia’s oil giant, which can pump 12 million barrels of crude a day and is—to keep market share amid a global glut—steering OPEC to record levels of production. Nasser will become the fourth Saudi national to head Aramco since its inception in 1933.

Japanese lawmakers scuffled over a security bill. In a rare heated scene, officials jostled and pushed each other ahead of a vote to amend Japan’s US-written pacifist constitution. The controversial measures would allow the nation to defend its allies overseas, even when it is not under attack.

Switzerland kept its interest rates at record lows. The franc is “significantly overvalued,” said its central bank, which left rates at -0.75%. The strong currency has put a significant brake on the nation’s economy, the Swiss National Bank said. The central bank downgraded the prospects for a recovery next year, raised its forecasts for unemployment, and said it sees more disinflationary pressures (paywall).

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?

Jeremy Corbyn is doomed. What the British electorate wants from the new Labour leader is competence, not ideology.

It won’t be so bad if the Fed raises interest rates. A US rate increase 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.

NFL 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 Republican 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.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.