Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Fed hike timing, new VW CEO, McDonald’s organic burger

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A special thanks to Daily Brief readers: Your excitement about change and curiosity about the world have helped us define what Quartz is all about. Here’s what editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney had to say to mark our third birthday.

What to watch for today

The CEO of Porsche takes over at Volkswagen. Martin Müller will reportedly be named by the company’s board to replace Martin Winterkorn, who resigned in the wake of a massive emissions fraud scandal, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.

India’s prime minister visits Silicon Valley. Narenda Modi will tour the campuses of Google, Tesla, and Facebook in California. Google CEO Sundar Pichai welcomed Modi with a video highlighting how India’s top technical graduates have “revolutionized the world.”

Uber rolls out carpools in China. The ride-hailing giant will launch UberCommute, a carpooling service that lets drivers split the cost of driving with passengers. The move highlights Uber’s rivalry with Didi Kuadi, a state-backed company that offers a similar service.

Singapore holds its breath. Primary and secondary schools will be shuttered due to intentionally-set fires in nearby Indonesia, which have covered the city-state in a hazardous haze.

Look for a super blood moon this weekend. You can catch the total lunar eclipse on the night of Sept. 27, when the biggest full moon of the year falls into the Earth’s shadow. The lunar phenomenon will be visible to about 500 million people in western Asia, as well as parts of Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the Middle East.

While you were sleeping

At least 700 people died in a stampede near Mecca. A crush of people during the annual pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city left 717 dead and 863 injured. Saudi officials, who set up two emergency hospitals to treat the wounded, blamed the tragedy on pilgrims who didn’t “follow directions.”

Pope Francis addressed the US Congress on immigration and the death penalty. The pontiff called for the global abolition of capital punishment. He also spoke movingly about immigration, highlighting his own family’s experience and asking lawmakers to see refugees “as persons.”

Caterpillar announced 10,000 job cuts and slashed its revenue outlook. The bellwether  construction equipment manufacturer said it expects revenues to fall for the next two years due to weakness in China and in the energy sector. Its shares fell by more than 6%, and are down nearly 40% from their peak in 2014.

The US and Russia agreed to meet about Syria. Vladimir Putin and US president Barack Obama will meet in New York next week during the UN general assembly. Along with Russia’s escalating role in Syria’s civil war, the leaders are expected to discuss the teetering Ukraine ceasefire.

Janet Yellen explained why a rate hike is still likely this year. The Federal Reserve chair said increasing interest rates will ”likely be appropriate” in 2015, since any delay could lead to more abrupt swings that could damage the global economy. “The more prudent strategy is to begin tightening in a timely fashion and at a gradual pace,” she said in a speech.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Philips on the the difference between the Vatican and the Fed. “Unlike the Church, where the doctrine of Papal infallibility remains on the books since it was first put there in 1870, the Fed under Yellen thankfully remains fully aware that it could make a mistake … Today the markets are registering even deeper doubts about the Fed’s ability to generate the inflation the central bank wants to see. Read more here.

Matters of debate

We should stop calling them “phones.” That device in your pocket is a computer.

“Pro-life” conservatives should support fetal tissue research. It supports scientific developments that could ultimately save countless lives.

The modernization of the hajj may have gone too far. Safety measures have not kept pace with the huge influx of pilgrims.

Europe should let refugees fly to its shores. Humanitarian visas would eliminate human trafficking and needless deaths.

Something is rotten in online advertising. Click fraud by bots and other illicit tactics is a multi-billion dollar scam.

Surprising discoveries

You’re expelling a million microbes an hour. And they could be used to identify you.

Vladimir Putin called Elton John, for real this time. He told John, previously hoaxed by some Russian pranksters, “not to take offense.”

Iran is getting its own Airbnb clone. OrientStay, launched by a Swiss company after sanctions were released, has 200 lodgings in nine cities.

Fidgeting is good for your health. It staves off the negative effects of sitting down.

McDonald’s is offering an organic burger in Germany. The “McB” is made from 100% bio-rindfleisch.

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