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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Terror arrests in Brussels, Goliath heads north, condom heist goes wrong

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

More reaction to the Tamir Rice decision. The city of Cleveland was quiet on Monday night after the decision not to charge the police officer (paywall) who shot a 12-year-old boy holding a toy gun in 2014 was announced, but protests are expected. “We need to shut this city down,” one activist said after the grand jury decision.

The UK counts the cost of widespread flooding… The cost of massive flooding in northern England and the south of Scotland could top £5 billion ($7.4 billion), according to accountancy firm KPMG. Winter storm Frank is heading to the area on Tuesday, likely making things worse.

…as the US braces for more bad weather. Winter storm Goliath, part of the deadly weather that has killed at least 43 people over the weekend, is moving into the Northeast.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in Saudi Arabia. The Turkish president meets with King Salman against the backdrop of conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Turkey recently announced it would join a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni states to fight terrorism.

A trio of reports on the US economy. Analysts expect the trade deficit to widen thanks to the strong dollar. October home prices are expected to rise 5.5% from last year in the latest survey from Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller, while consumer confidence numbers from the Conference Board are expected to rise due to falling gas prices and a stronger jobs market.

While you were sleeping

Belgium arrested two people suspected of planning a new terror attack. Federal prosecutors said the arrests followed raids in Brussels on Sunday and Monday. The country has been on high alert since November, when Brussels-based terrorists attacked Paris, killing over a hundred people.

The ”affluenza” teen was apprehended in Mexico. Ethan Couch killed four people while drunk-driving in 2013, when he was 16, and cited his affluent upbringing in his defense. Now 18, Couch failed to report to his probation officer and could be imprisoned for breaking his parole.

Guinea was declared free of Ebola. The country will celebrate the occasion with concerts and fireworks. The World Health Organization says a country is Ebola free if no new instances of the disease are found in 42 days. Liberia is now the only country still fighting the epidemic.

An Israeli court reduced the prison sentence for former leader Ehud Olmert. The ex-prime minister will go to jail for 18 months instead of six years for accepting bribes over property developments, after he appealed to the country’s Supreme Court. He is the first Israeli leader ever to be imprisoned.

Iraq recaptured Ramadi from ISIL. The country’s national forces paraded through the streets after taking back the town which jihadists took over in May. Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, said they’d win back Mosul next.

Iran shipped 25,000 pounds of uranium to Russia. After a US-brokered accord last July that forced Tehran to reduce its nuclear capabilities, the Iranian government is sending a portion of its uranium stockpiles out of the country. But sanctions against Iran won’t be lifted until the UN verifies the move.

The lead singer of Motörhead died. Lemmy Kilmister had been diagnosed with cancer just three days before his death. His remaining band mates told fans to “have a drink or few” and play his music loud. Ozzy Osborne called the 70-year-old “a warrior and a legend.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Alice Truong on making virtual reality sound real. “Because of the immersive nature of virtual reality, any inconsistencies—including audio—can become glaringly obvious. But done right, virtual reality can create a sense of presence, which in essence fools the viewer’s eyes and brain into believing what’s virtually around them is in fact real.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Big Oil is coming to an end. Western oil companies, unable to compete with shale and OPEC, should consider graceful exit strategies.

Ethicists aren’t especially ethical. From littering to vegetarianism, they are not very good at practicing what they preach.

Elon Musk is right about the threat of AI. But he’s woefully wrong about why it’s dangerous.

Surprising discoveries

It takes nine private planes to deal with a broken leg if you’re Qatari royalty. The planes made unscheduled stops in Zurich after Qatar’s former ruler suffered the injury while on holiday.

Louis Vuitton’s next top model is from a video game. Lightning, a character from the Final Fantasy series, stars in a new ad for the Paris fashion house.

There’s almost nothing left of New York’s Little Syria. Just three historic buildings remain in the formerly bustling 19th-century enclave.

A condom-dispenser heist ended in disaster. A German man died trying to blow up the machine to steal the money and merchandise inside.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, video-game models, and affluenza cures to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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