China’s economy, oil anxiety, chess stress

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What to watch for today

China releases numbers on last month’s industrial output. It slowed to 4.8% in July from a year earlier, the weakest pace since 2002 and below the most bearish forecasts. Also due: data on retail sales and fixed asset investment.

Oil prices following an assault on Saudi Aramco facilities. Over the weekend, drones attacked the world’s largest oil refinery and other infrastructure, disrupting about half of Saudi Arabia’s capacity. Prices could spike when markets open.

Regulators question Facebook over Libra. In Basel, officials from more than two dozen central banks will seek more information about the cryptocurrency’s scope and design, amid concerns about how it could affect financial stability.

Cobham shareholders vote on a $5 billion takeover bid. The British aerospace firm must decide if it wants to be acquired by Advent International, a US private equity group. Cobham is known for its pioneering air-to-air refueling technology.

Over the weekend

Japan set new records as the world’s most aged population. More than 28% of the country is now aged 65 or older, according to figures released Sunday, exacerbating a growing labor shortage. Nearly a quarter of those seniors still work, with a plurality in retail or forestry jobs.

Top Democrats called for Brett Kavanaugh’s impeachment. That followed reports of another allegation of sexual misconduct against the US Supreme Court justice, whose confirmation barely made it through the Senate last year amid similar accusations.

Demonstrators protested Microsoft’s ICE contracts. Gathering at its Fifth Avenue store in New York, they brought attention to the company’s dealings with the US agency responsible for deporting undocumented migrants. Deloitte, Dell, and others also have lucrative deals with ICE.

New York may become the second US state to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday he’ll pursue emergency regulations to put the kibosh on the fruity products. Meanwhile, Juul devotees are looking to traditional smokes to wean themselves off the devices.

US autoworkers called for the first GM strike in more than a decade. A nationwide walkout is planned for midnight on Sunday due to union concerns about benefits, job security, and factory closures. More than 45,000 workers may stay home or walk off the job.

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Matters of debate

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Politically incorrect speech can be good politics. It makes a candidate seem more authentic to certain groups.

Robots will revolutionize the way homes are built. A proof-of-concept project near Zurich meets Switzerland’s strict building safety codes.

There’s a diversity problem in ethnic plastic surgery. Variations in facial anatomy inherent to different ethnic groups can get overlooked during procedures.

Surprising discoveries

Beijing is confining tourists to their hotels… At least ones staying near military parade rehearsals for the upcoming 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

…and Moscow held a parade of garbage trucks and city buses. The mundane event, following weeks of pro-democracy protests, was ridiculed online.

A gold toilet was stolen from England’s Blenheim Palace. Made by Italian artist Maurizio, it’s valued at up to $1.2 million.

Old Navy plans to open 800 new stores. Apparently it hasn’t heard about the retail apocalypse.

Chess grandmasters and elite athletes experience similar stress responses. The former are incorporating strict food and fitness regimens to cope.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fancy toilets, and roller derby nicknames to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Steve Mollman and Natasha Frost.