Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Syriza’s fresh mandate, Apple’s China hack, humming giraffes

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What to watch for today

Eastern European nations discuss the migrant crisis. Foreign ministers from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic are expected to reaffirm their opposition to the German-led plan to distribute the resettling of migrants more evenly based on quotas. Ministers from the wider European Union are expected to meet Tuesday.

Talks to save Northern Ireland’s government. With a power-sharing arrangement between unionist and nationalist parties in danger of collapsing, Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party will meet for talks in Stormont. A murder last month linked to the IRA has led to a political crisis in the disputed British province, with first minister Peter Robinson stepping down, and taking ministers with him, 10 days ago. 

Russia and Israel discuss Syria.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu travels to Moscow to talk to president Vladimir Putin about Russia’s

troop deployment in Syria

, and the threat he says Israel faces from the weaponry being transferred there from Russia.

Peace on Earth—or at least the promotion of it. The world is not particularly peaceful at the moment, but the UN is observing its international day of peace and calling for a 24-hour global ceasefire.

Over the weekend

The US military was accused of silencing child sex abuse in Afghanistan. US soldiers were told to ignore the sexual abuse of Afghan boys by local police officers, according to the New York Times. The report states that the alleged abuse by US allies was not prevented and sometimes took place even on US military bases; the military ordered soldiers not to speak up because it was a part of traditional Afghan culture.

Apple suffered a security threat in China. The iPhone maker has removed some of the most popular apps in China from its App Store after they were found to contain malware that could be used to steal users’ personal data. Apple said the malware originated in counterfeit versions of Xcode, Apple’s app-building software.

Volkswagen shares plummeted by 25%. The German auto maker’s share price went into freefall after CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized over allegations that some cars were fitted with software to make their emissions appear lower. VW could face up to $18 billion in fines.

Greek voters re-elected Syriza. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s party won the country’s fifth election in six years, after Tsipras resigned to seek a new mandate to lead. Syriza got that mandate, but a record-low turnout suggests a fair bit of apathy.

Pope Francis arrived in Cuba. He praised the nation for repairing diplomatic ties with the US but called upon it to “open itself to the world.” The pope had previously called for the end to Cuba’s communist government and argued for greater religious freedom.

Novelist Jackie Collins died. The writer, 77, had kept her breast cancer diagnosis secret from all but her closest family for more than six years. Collins authored 32 racy “bonkbuster” novels, all of which appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

The US said it will increase the number of refugees it accepts. The US will allow in 85,000 people next year and 100,000 in 2017, both up from this year’s limit of 70,000. Announcing the new numbers, secretary of state John Kerry blamed security checks and a lack of funding from Congress for not making the number higher.

Quartz obsession interlude

Ana Campoy on a campaign to rescue dying accent marks on the Internet. “For better or for worse, languages across the world are being shaped—and truncated—by internet users who want to get their message across as quickly and easily as possible. In Spanish, users replace ‘qué’ (what) with ‘q,’ while the word ‘más’ (more) is often reduced to a simple ‘+.’ But a few defenders of the Spanish language are now using the internet as a way to fight back.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Silicon Valley’s economic policies could destroy social democracy. Tech firms like Uber could transform employment law and create a new economic order.

Overpopulation is the greatest danger to Africa’s economic emergence. It could derail the continent’s much-needed urbanization.

Don’t believe the gloom over China’s economy. The situation is mixed, but it’s not disastrous.

Clients, not prostitutes, should be locked up. Countries ought to learn from the Swedish model.

Only the childless can keep up in the constantly competitive world of work. That harms men as well as women (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Neuroscience is starting to converge with Buddhism. Researchers accept that the self is in a constant state of flux.

Giraffes make a distinctive sound. They hum in the evenings at a frequency too low for humans to hear.

Japan is home to a personal crying service. You can order a handsome “courier” to watch sad videos and then wipe away your tears.

The off-the-shoulder trend has been carefully planned. High-end fashion designers, high-street imitators, trend forecasters, stylish influencers, and the media all featured the latest must-have item.

Some boys in the Dominican Republic don’t grow a penis until they are 12. About one in 90 boys in one town look female when born, but get a surge of testosterone at puberty.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, off-the-shoulder tops, and a man who’ll take minimum wage to wipe away our tears to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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