Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—G8 crisis management, McDonald’s mandatory smiling, “Django” rechained

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What to watch for today

How will the North Korea standoff end? Kim Jong-un’s endgame may be diplomatic recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state. The crisis has already aided the US strategic pivot toward Asia—much to China’s dismay.

G8 talks wrap up. It’s no surprise that North Korea and Syria have been top of the agenda. Foreign ministers will also discuss Iran’s nuclear program.

Drugstore company Rite Aid will report earnings. Earlier, the UK’s biggest retailer, Marks & Spencer, posted a small increase in sales.

Brazilian retail sales. Latin America’s biggest economy is expected to show a modest uptick as its recovery gains pace.

While you were sleeping

China’s massive forex reserves rose to $3.4 trillion (paywall)—roughly the size of the entire German economy. China’s banks made $171 billion in new loans despite pressure from Beijing to rein it in.

Abenomics is “flexible.” Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda said asset prices and the performance of the economy will be factored into the 2% inflation target.

KPMG leak recipient identified. It was a California jeweler, the golf buddy of KPMG partner Scott London.

Look like you’re lovin’ it. Beset by complaints about customer service, McDonald’s wants its employees to smile more

“Django” was re-chained. Tarantino’s film got pulled from Chinese theaters, reportedly due to a Jamie Foxx nude scene.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims explains why computer servers are going to be dipped in vats of oil. “In the long run, the fact that liquid cooling could move the data center out of specialized, expensive buildings will have bigger implications than merely saving money for the giants of the cloud. Not only is it greener; it lets any company anywhere have powerful computing on demand, without having to rely on the Amazons of this world to supply it.” (Read more here.) 

Matters of debate

Capitalism won’t change North Korea. Its leaders are rational to the extreme.

How Iran won the war on drugs. And what it can teach Afghanistan.

US Senator Mitch McConnell is more dangerous than Kim Jong-un.

Italy and France are trouble. They are threats to the euro zone because they’re out of sync with Germany.

Gun control is a waste of time. At least Barack Obama’s time.

Surprising discoveries

Finland apologizes to Putin. Its police put the Russian president on a blacklist of criminals. Oops.

Uniqlo’s secret weapon in China. Hipsters trump xenophobia.

Jamie Dimon’s dad got a raise. A big one.

When you are driving, daydreaming is more dangerous than texting.

How to procrastinate at work. The Quartz complete guide: read it now (or not).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, McDonald’s horror stories, and drive-time daydreams to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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