North Korean missiles, Democratic debate, anti-seduction law

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The UN considers North Korean missile launches. The group’s security council will meet behind closed doors, at the request of France, Germany, and the UK, to discuss how to restart conversations on denuclearizing the peninsula. This comes after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles yesterday, its second such launch within a week.

The Bank of England decides on rates. Economists expect the central bank to hold rates at 0.75%, even as the threat of a no-deal Brexit looms on the horizon, causing sterling to plunge in recent days. The US Fed cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points yesterday, the first reduction since 2008. The European Central Bank is expected to follow suit with a rate cut next month.

Mozambique’s president signs a peace deal. The agreement between Filipe Nyusi and opposition Renamo party leader Ossufo Momade will bring an end to armed hostilities with the former rebel movement. The deal follows an amnesty law which would grant clemency to conflict-related crimes committed since 2014, and a disarmament process that began Tuesday.

Cars and cereal and 5G, oh my! In a busy day for corporate earnings (pdf), bellwethers like GM, Kellogg, and Verizon provide their latest quarterly financial updates. Yum Brands, Avon, GoPro, GoDaddy, and Square will also report.

While you were sleeping

The other US Democrats debated. Ten more presidential candidates took the stage on night two of the second round of showdowns. Contenders went after former vice president Joe Biden, criticizing his plans and challenging him to keep up with the party.

A $27 billion deal to build a financial data giant is done. The London Stock Exchange agreed to buy Refinitiv, at a price roughly double what a Blackstone-led consortium paid for the Thomson Reuters-owned data business in a buyout less than a year ago. But can anyone out-Bloomberg the Bloomberg?

BMW posted disappointing results. The rising cost of making electric cars weighed on the German automaker’s earnings in the second quarter. BMW expects lower profits for the rest of the year, even as it sells more cars than the previous year.

Shell’s profit fell short of expectations. The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant reported a lower-than-expected profit in the second quarter, mirroring the results of European peers Eni, Total, and Equinor. Lower energy prices—especially for natural gas, in Shell’s case—has hurt the companies.

Central banks binged on gold. Geopolitical instability is encouraging central banks to diversify their reserves (paywall). Led by China, Poland, and Russia, the banks bought 374 metric tons of gold for $15.7 billion in the first half of the year, the biggest six-month gain in at least 19 years.

A North Korean soldier defected across the DMZ, says South Korea. An unidentified active duty soldier crossed the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, in a rare and highly dangerous escape. The soldier is now in South Korean military custody.

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Thirty years after it opened, it’s nearly impossible to have a conversation about the history of global contemporary art that does not—with respect, or skepticism, or both—mention Les Magiciens de La Terre. Go on a deep dive with reporter Annalisa Merelli about the Paris exhibition that changed the art scene forever.

Quartz Obsession

Claw cranes are full of promise. The ubiquitous arcade games contain heaps of brightly colored plush toys—and the occasional iPhone—locked in a plexiglass box and waiting for liberation via a metal claw. But are they mere games, or are they a form of gambling? The Quartz Obsession rolls the dice.

Matters of debate

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Just add water. Dehydrated goods take up less space, use less packaging, and might just save the world.

Whither the US battery industry? Both China and Europe are beating the US in the global race to make cheaper batteries.

Get rid of the lottery. It’s a rigged capitalist competition and takes advantage of people’s desperation.

Surprising discoveries

The golden years are turning into blackout sessions. Binge drinking among seniors is on the rise.

Woodstock 50 is dust in the wind. A planned anniversary celebration of the iconic music festival has been officially called off two weeks before it was due to start.

Kids have a complicated relationship with bearded men. Children identify bearded dudes as older, stronger, but much less attractive than their clean-shaven counterparts.

A Malaysian senator dropped his proposed anti-seduction law. Mohamad Imran Abdul Hamid had suggested legislation to protect men from being “seduced” by women into committing sexual crimes.

Children born in cities earn more as adults. Large urban hubs bring with them advantages like better amenities and larger social networks.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Woodstock memories, and beard oil to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Akshat Rathi and edited by Jason Karaian.