Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—The Pope in Cuba, yet another Greek vote, space toothbrushes

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today and this weekend

Pope Francis travels to Cuba. On Saturday, the pontiff begins a four-day trip through Cuba before flying to the US next week. Francis, the first Latin American pope, will lead two open-air masses, meet Fidel Castro, and perhaps call for the US to lift its economic embargo. Reports suggest that the Obama administration is drafting new regulations to ease the embargo as soon as today.

London Fashion Week opens. The last day of runway shows in New York coincides with the kickoff in London as the fall fashion season continues. Designers in the British capital will debut their collections in an unusual location this year: Brewer Street car park.

Greek voters head to the polls again. On Sunday, citizens will vote in snap elections called by prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who came to power in January and took Greece into a third bailout. New austerity measures are a foregone conclusion, but the election will determine who’s in charge to carry them out: Tsipras’s populist Syriza party, or the New Democracy party led by Evangelos Meimarakis.

The rugby World Cup kicks off. England plays Fiji in the tournament’s opening fixture as part of a tournament expected to bring £2.2 billion ($3.3 billion) to the British economy. Here’s what you need to know about the sport if you can’t tell a ruck from a scrum.

While you were sleeping

Burkina Faso descended into chaos after a coup. Protests in the capital of  Ouagadougou were violently suppressed after the US-trained presidential guard seized power on Sept. 16 and installed Gen. Gilbert Diendere as the country’s new leader. Forces backing the coup killed at least 10 people.

Deutsche Bank quit Russia. The German banking giant announced that it is closing the bulk of its operations in Russia, part of a broad restructuring under new boss John Cryan that could see the bank shrink its workforce by a quarter.

Croatia became the new frontline of the refugee crisis. Migrants broke through police lines along the Serbia-Croatia border, after Hungary closed its border. Croatia is now “absolutely full,” according to government officials. The EU called an emergency summit for next week.

FIFA’s corruption troubles somehow got even worse. Soccer’s international governing body suspended secretary general Jerome Valcke after he was accused of a scheme to profit from the sale of World Cup tickets. Meanwhile, Swiss authorities approved the extradition of Uruguayan Eugenio Figueredo, FIFA’s former vice-president, to the United States.

The British prime minister ruled out another vote for Scottish independence. On the anniversary of the failed referendum last year, David Cameron said “it is time to move on,” amid rumblings that the resurgent Scottish National Party is keen to trigger another vote on splitting from the UK.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jenni Avins on casting for inclusivity at fashion shows. “As a conversation about diversity and beauty standards plays out on the catwalk, a show’s cast can invite more commentary than the clothes they are wearing. Perhaps none has made more of an impact this season than the cast at Eckhaus Latta, which has been called the ‘coolest’ by mainstream media such as Vogue and The New York Times.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US is experiencing its first viral election. Let’s just lean back and watch some reality TV.

This is why you fight with your partner when assembling Ikea furniture.Do you wish your old boyfriend was here doing this?

We are finally seeing who Angela Merkel really is. The circumspect German chancellor’s unapologetic and unequivocal stance on refugees reveals her true political thinking.

Is a friendly-looking logo good for business? On the rise of the “humanist sans-serif font.”

Europe should be proud to be a refugee destination. The continent’s ideals and economic might stand in stark contrast to the Gulf states.

Surprising discoveries

Users of the iPhone will pay to avoid commercials. The most popular paid app in the Apple Store is an ad blocker.

Traumatized veterans can find relief in surfing. The physicality and “flow” of catching waves alters their brain chemistry.

The world is running low on its most effect snake-bite medicine. Tread carefully.

The Prince of Wales has a wine-powered car. It’s a vintage Aston Martin converted to run on ethanol made from fermented grape juice.

The first female astronaut went to space without a toothbrush. She kept the mistake a secret for 30 years.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, friendly fonts, and space hygiene tips 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.