Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The European Central Bank meets in Frankfurt. ECB president Mario Draghi will discuss plans to wind down Europe’s massive bond-buying program, which expires in December. Analysts expect rates to remain unchanged, a move criticized by Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan. Yesterday, Cryan said that Germany’s largest commercial bank would replace a “big number” of employees with robots.
The US deploys an advanced missile system to South Korea. The remaining four launchers of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) will be installed in response to “North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile threats” (paywall), according to South Korea’s defense ministry. China is vehemently opposed to the program, saying it will exacerbate tensions with North Korea and undermine its own nuclear deterrent.
Shinzo Abe sits down with Vladimir Putin. The Japanese prime minister and Russian president will meet in Vladivostok to discuss North Korea and bilateral economic projects. South Korean president Moon Jae-in will also join the summit to discuss sanctions on North Korea after the nation’s latest nuclear test; Putin has said such sanctions would be “useless and ineffective.”
While you were sleeping
Three hurricanes hit the Atlantic. As the US braces for Hurricane Irma to hit south Florida after moving through the Caribbean, forecasters are also keeping an eye on hurricanes Katia and Jose (both upgraded from tropical storms on Wednesday). A category 5 storm, Irma is the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Atlantic basin, with winds up to 185 miles per hour.
Congress raised the debt ceiling and approved $8 billion for Harvey. US president Donald Trump sided with Democrats for the first time since taking office, agreeing to up the debt limit to avoid a government shutdown (paywall), a deal that House speaker Paul Ryan had rejected hours earlier. The agreement followed a vote to give billions in aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey, a measure that passed with 419 “yes” votes and three Republicans voting “no.”
Trump and Xi Jinping had another chat about North Korea. Trump told reporters afterwards that he and the Chinese president would “not be putting up with what’s happening in North Korea.” The US is seeking support for the UN’s recent, more stringent sanctions on the pariah state.
Denmark’s prince Henrik was diagnosed with dementia. The 83-year-old husband of queen Margrethe II made headlines over the summer after a series of outrageous comments, the latest of which was an announcement that he did not want to be buried next to the queen. Doctors said the extent of his condition was “greater than expected.”
Stanley Fischer resigned from the US Federal Reserve. The vice chairman is leaving eight months early, and cited “personal reasons” in his resignation letter. Fisher has been critical of the Trump administration, especially efforts to roll back regulations put in place after the financial crisis. His resignation comes amid hints from Trump about replacing Fed chair Janet Yellen with the current head of his economic council, Gary Cohn.
Quartz obsession interlude
Amy Wang and Allison Schrager on the death of the college lecture. “If you went to a big school, you know exactly what it’s like to have to fight to get into a class. The arcane absurdity of outdated enrollment lotteries. Economics students at A&M used to face that problem, sometimes having to delay graduation thanks to oversubscribed classes. Online learning removes physical limitations, so thousands of students can have the ‘spots’ previously reserved for dozens.” Read more here.
A Fed vice chair quits / citing “personal reasons.” / Uncertainty reigns
Matters of debate
Organizing Amazon warehouse workers is the most important thing US unions can do right now. The only way to fight inequality is by focusing on where employment is going.
Interviewers should not ask women their salary history. It perpetuates the gender wage gap, and women are punished no matter how they answer.
Our focus on optimization and data has made us less human. Information is not the same as knowledge, and knowledge is not the same as wisdom.
Chocolate has a new color. A Swiss company crafted “ruby chocolate,” the first new naturally pigmented chocolate since white chocolate debuted more than 80 years ago.
Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un sang karaoke together. The former NBA star and North Korean dictator have formed a friendship around never talking politics.
Bacteria use brainlike bursts of electricity to communicate. Communities known as “biofilms” use electrical exchanges to recruit new bacteria from their surroundings, and to negotiate with neighboring biofilms.
Celery was the avocado of the Victorian era. The fibrous veggie was considered a fashionable luxury, and served (in a tulip-shaped vase) as a centerpiece for the wealthy.
Wild dog packs count sneezes to vote democratically. The canines aren’t just clearing their noses, but casting their vote on whether or not to go out hunting.
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