Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Clinton talks guns, Palmyra destruction, revealing Twitter language

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What to watch for today

The Nobel prize in medicine is awarded. A Thomson Reuters analysis of possible contenders includes researchers studying microbes in the human gut and a protein mechanism behind the death of cells. Other Nobel prizes will be announced this week and next.

Turkey meets the EU over the migrant crisis. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in Brussels to call for European aid in ending the violence in Syria and support for a plan to build refugee camps in a Syrian “safe zone” near the Turkish border. But European officials are likely to suggest financing refugee camps in Turkey.

Hillary Clinton proposes new gun rules. The former US secretary of state and 2016 presidential candidate is expected to call for a repeal of a law that offers legal protection for gun makers and retailers if their weapons are used for illegal activity. Clinton will also call for an end to two loopholes that allow customers to buy guns without background checks.

Britain’s Conservative party sets out its agenda. The second day of the annual party conference, which is aiming to brand the Conservatives as a “party of working people,” will include a speech from chancellor George Osborne, its possible future leader. He’s already announced plans to sell shares in banking group Lloyds, which was bailed out during the 2008 crisis, in what he described as the biggest privatisation in 20 years.

The US Supreme Court starts a new term. The court is expected to consider cases involving affirmative action, labor unions, class-action suits, abortion, and the death penalty, with rulings coming in June 2016.

Over the weekend

A dozen Pacific nations neared a deal on a major trade pact. Negotiators reported breakthroughs on key issues blocking agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, anchored by the US and Japan and including countries representing two-fifths of the world’s economy.

American Apparel filed for bankruptcy protection. The US clothing retailer will exchange $200 million in bonds for equity, after its liabilities exceeded its assets by more than 60%. American Apparel expects a major reorganization of the company to take around six months; it reported a $92.9-million loss in the first half of this year.

The World Bank downgraded Asia’s growth… The institution expects developing East Asian economies to grow at 6.5% this year, down from an anticipated 6.7% earlier. That comes after it lowered its forecast for China growth, to 6.9% from 7.1% earlier; slower China growth is expected to strain regional resources, trade, and tourism.

…and is asking for more cash. World Bank president Jim Yong Kim is pushing for an increase to the bank’s capital base to counteract a slowdown in emerging markets (paywall). The request for an addition to the $253 billion it holds in its main development arm also comes after many countries—but not the US—signed up to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

A former Hong Kong leader was arrested. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen appeared in court to hear two charges of misconduct while in public office, making him the highest-ranking official to be arrested in Hong Kong. Tsang, who was the city’s chief executive between 2005 and 2012, is accused of taking favors from businessmen.

ISIL destroyed another monument in Palmyra. The Arch of Triumph, built by the Romans around 1,800 years ago, was “pulverised” by the group, also known as the Islamic State, several sources have confirmed. That follows the destruction of two other major monuments in the Unesco-recognized ancient city.

A US airstrike hit a charity-run hospital in Afghanistan. US-led Nato forces bombed a hospital in Kunduz, a city that recently fell to Taliban forces, killing 22 people including Médecins Sans Frontières staff. The medical charity called the attack a war crime, and said it would remove its staff from the city (paywall).

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on why giving money to random entrepreneurs might be the best way for developing countries to create jobs. “In 2011, then-Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala launched a business plan competition in cooperation with the World Bank that would award $58 million in grants to 1,200 entrepreneurs, who could use the money to start a new business or expand an existing one. Now a new study of this program led Columbia University political scientist Chris Blattman to wonder if this scheme was ‘the most effective development program in history.'” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t fear the “gig economy.” There is no evidence to back up fears that casual jobs with services like Uber will lead to a more unequal society.

Stocks will be weak for at least 10 more years. The US is in the middle of a lengthy bear market because stocks are highly overvalued.

The US is engaged in a proxy war with Russia in Syria. And the flood of Syrian refugees to Europe is a direct result of failed American policy.

Tim Cook’s Apple has forced the rest of the tech world to adjust to it. Even enterprise-technology companies orbit Apple now.

The higher your credit score, the higher your chances of a lasting relationship. Creditworthiness is a proxy for “an individual’s general trustworthiness and commitment to non-debt obligations.”

Surprising discoveries

Your Twitter language hints at your salary. A study of 10 million tweets accurately predicted the socioeconomic backgrounds of the tweeters.

An artist converted an Ikea bookcase into a coffin. Because who doesn’t have an extra Billy shelving unit hanging around?

Subtle rule changes are having an impact on football strategy. There are now more missed extra-point kicks than in recent memory in the NFL.

Scientists are working on an “exercise pill.” They’re studying how to replicate molecular reactions to exercise, so you’ll never have to work out again.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, medical alternatives to exercise, and Billy bookcase hacks to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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