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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—More FIFA arrests, Britain bombs Syria, “explosive” Chinese shopping sprees

By Richard Macauley
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The ECB tries—again—to jumpstart inflation. The European Central Bank is expected to lower its interest rate, which is already below zero, and expand its bond-buying program. The ECB has injected €445 billion ($470 billion) into the economy by buying up public-sector debt.

FIFA vows to change—just as more are arrested. Reform committee chairman François Carrard will outline proposals to revamp the troubled football governing body at about 1pm GMT. Earlier today, the heads of the Paraguayan and Honduran soccer bodies were arrested at dawn in Zurich for allegedly taking bribes.

Vladimir Putin addresses the nation. No details of the Russian president’s annual address have been released yet, and a spokesperson for the Kremlin denied that the talk will focus on the downing of a Russian jet last month.

The US, Japan, and South Korea meet. The chief nuclear envoys of each will meet in Washington to discuss how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program.

John Kerry visits Cyprus. The US secretary of state travels to the divided nation, which split along ethnic lines in 1974, to encourage Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to continue in UN settlement talks.

While you were sleeping

The UK started bombing Syria. Four Tornado jets took off from an RAF air force base in Cyrus, and bombed targets in Syria. Late last night, Parliament voted 397 to 223 in favor of prime minister David Cameron’s plan to hit so-called Islamic State targets.

A mass shooting happened in California. Fourteen people were killed and 17 wounded after at least two heavily armed suspects entered a social services center and attacked a party. Police later shot dead two suspects—thought to be a husband-and-wife couple—in a highway shootout.

Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of murder. The ruling overrides an earlier verdict of culpable homicide, for which the South African paralympian is serving a five-year jail sentence at home. Murder carries a minimum 15-year jail term.

Barclays paid to rid itself of its Italian branches. The UK bank is close to signing a deal with CheBanca, the retail arm of Italian investment bank Mediobanca, according to Reuters. But Barclays will make a payment of up to €250 million ($264.8 million) to MedioBanca; Mediobanca will make only a “symbolic payment” to Barclays.

Cameroon’s army freed 900 Boko Haram hostages. A three-day operation led to the capture of Aladji Gana, a regional chief in the Islamist terror group, and the deaths of 100 militants. Cameroon’s forces contribute to an anti-Boko Haram coalition, alongside Chad and Niger.

Quartz obsession interlude

Alison Griswold on Uber’s new car-rental program for its drivers. “Essentially, the company is looking at the Enterprise option as a gateway vehicle. Buying a car, after all, is a big investment… But what if drivers don’t make enough to cover their rental charges?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Democrats are responding better to the California shooting. They advocate doing something; Republicans merely offer prayers.

The idea that bombing Syria will make the UK safer is wrong. The airstrikes will only raise danger levels in the short term.

There’s a simple solution to lowering the cost of US tuition. Make more colleges.

Today’s Muslim-Americans are yesterday’s German-Americans. History has taught the United States nothing about stigmatizing its “hyphenated” citizens.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are the same as any new parents. They just want to make the world a better place.

Surprising discoveries

Japan has a word for an “explosive shopping spree by the Chinese.” Bakugai is the buzzword of the year.

Nearly three-quarters of Estonia’s doctors are female. Eastern Europe has the highest proportion of women physicians.

Ted Cruz uploaded 15 hours of awkward footage to YouTube. It is designed for his campaigners to use in ads.

Designers want to reproduce the British Rail Corporate Identity manual. Some see the device as a marker of great, functional design.

There’s a mathematical model to predict how funny a word is. One factor is how many “improbable letters” it contains.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Ted Cruz videos, and mathematically sound hilarity to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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