Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Fed hike timing, Nike’s bumper earnings, comet weather system

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What to watch for today

The CEO of Porsche takes over at Volkswagen. Martin Müller will be named by the company’s board as the replacement for Martin Winterkorn, who resigned in the wake of a massive emissions scandal.

China confirms a fresh pollution-reduction program. President Xi Jinping will announce the creation of a national pollution-trading scheme, an expansion of the country’s seven existing regional trading schemes. The Chinese leader will make the announcement alongside US president Barack Obama during a White House visit.

Singapore holds its breath. Primary and secondary schools will be shuttered due to the haze caused by managed agricultural fires in nearby Indonesia.

Look for a super blood moon this weekend. The total lunar eclipse begins at 2.07am on Sept. 28 (BST), when the biggest apparent blood moon of the year appears mainly in the Western hemisphere.

While you were sleeping

Janet Yellen explained why a rate hike is still likely this year. The Federal Reserve chair said that the US is unlikely to suffer from a global slowdown in growth and that stimulus measures should be wound down. That’s a significant show of confidence in the US economy after last week’s decision to keep the base rate at zero.

The Saudi king ordered a hajj stampede investigation. King Salman announced a review into the deadliest event to occur during the pilgrimage in a quarter of a century, in which 717 people died and over 800 were injured. Iran’s leaders are blaming Saudi Arabia’s government for the incident, while one Saudi Arabia leader blamed pilgrims from Africa.

Nike published better-than-expected results. The world’s largest sportswear maker reported a fiscal first-quarter net income of $1.2 billion, up 23% from a year earlier. The bumper results came on the back of new higher-margin products, the US trend for “athleisure,” and strong China sales; shares jumped as much as 8.4% in extended trading.

Japan returned to deflation. Core consumer prices fell by 0.1% in August from a year earlier, marking the first decline since April 2013, when the central bank began its stimulus. Stripping out volatile prices such as oil and food however gives a better-than-expected inflation rate of 0.8% (paywall). Analysts expect more stimulus measures to come this year.

Australia became the latest to investigate Volkswagen. The competition regulator announced it will check whether the German auto maker misled consumers, and is considering a response under Australia’s consumer law. A majority of US states are now conducting a joint investigation into VW, after it admitted to cheating on environmental tests.

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 has been inadequate. Safety measures have not kept pace with other resources for 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.”

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.

The Rosetta probe found weather on Comet 67P. A patch of ice turns into a cloud when facing the sun.

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