Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The Federal Reserve leaves interest rates unchanged. Analysts think the US central bank is highly unlikely to raise its benchmark rate while inflation is below the 2% target rate. Investors will look for signals that the Fed is preparing to offload its $4.5 trillion in Treasury and mortgage bonds.
Venezuela enters a two-day shutdown. Opponents of embattled president Nicolàs Maduro called the strike to try and force the president to call off the upcoming vote on installing a new assembly that could rewrite the constitution. Over 100 have been killed in anti-government protests since April.
Facebook’s quarterly results. The company is expected to report slowing ad revenue growth from its core news feed, and shift attention toward its Instagram app. But it’s unwise to underestimate Mark Zuckerberg: His company has exceeded profit expectations for 16 consecutive quarters.
While you were sleeping
Russia slammed Washington’s new sanctions. Interfax reported Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying the fresh sanctions take the US-Russia relationship into uncharted waters and leave no room to improve ties between the two countries. On Tuesday, the US House of Representatives voted in favor of new sanctions and passed a bill giving Congress power to block any attempt by Donald Trump to ease them.
The EU’s top court kept Hamas on the terror list. The European Court of Justice overturned a 2014 lower court ruling (paywall) to remove the Palestinian Islamist group from the European list of terror organizations. That means Hamas’ funds are frozen and it can’t openly conduct business in the EU.
Switch powered Nintendo to a stunning quarter. The videogame company is struggling to keep up with demand for its $300 gaming console, which boosted year-on-year revenue by 148% (paywall) to $1.3 billion in its first financial quarter. Nintendo’s stock price is up 60% since Switch launched in March.
A court ordered Apple to pay $506 million to a university. US District Judge William Conley ruled the tech giant infringed on a patent held by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s patent-licensing arm. The patent relates to computer processor technology used in some versions of the iPhone. Apple appealed.
Political tension with China hurt Hyundai. The South Korean carmaker reported its biggest profit drop in five years in the second quarter—net earnings halved to $729 million from a year ago. Chinese consumers are refusing to buy its cars after Seoul deployed the US-supplied THAAD missile-defense system. Demand for its best-selling Sonata sedan dropped in the US, Hyundai’s second-biggest market.
Quartz obsession interlude
Anne Quito on how IKEA promises domestic bliss for different cultures. “For 67 years, the IKEA catalogue has served as a product showcase, design inspiration and manifesto for the 74-year-old furniture company’s grand vision of creating a ‘better everyday life for the many people.’ But ‘many people’ means many different versions of the good life.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Keyboards are overrated. Cursive handwriting is making a comeback, and science shows that it makes us smarter.
Chinese exceptionalism is the new challenge to US power. Once-reticent Chinese citizens now see their country as ascendant—and America in decline (paywall).
Buying time makes us happier. People reported a boost in well-being after spending money on time-saving purchases versus material goods.
Cryptocurrencies are turning to old-fashioned bank vaults. After a series of costly hacks, issuers use Swiss safe deposit boxes to protect digital assets.
A tech company is injecting microchips into its employees. The rice-sized RFID implant allows workers to swipe into the building or pay for food in the cafeteria.
Electric cars may get rid of the brake pedal. Nissan is planning on a single accelerator to control the vehicle’s speed.
Western men’s sperm counts have halved in the last 40 years. Researchers don’t know what’s caused the drop.
Billions of rogue planets are wandering the galaxy. The Earth-sized nomads were separated from their own galaxies and now lurk in the Milky Way.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, time-buying strategies, and rogue planets to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.