US-Europe trade spat, Austria election, TV giveaways

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What to watch for today

Huge tariffs could hit Europe. A World Trade Organization tribunal is expected to allow the US to impose billions of dollars of tariffs on EU goods in a 15-year-old case over illegal European subsidies to plane maker Airbus. The WTO, which also ruled that rival Boeing received illegal subsidies from the US, will next year say how much Europe can retaliate.

The European Parliament begins hearings on its commissioners. Ursula von der Leyen, the new head of the European Commission, was dealt a blow last week when two of her 26 candidates—from Hungary and Romania—were rejected over alleged conflicts of interest. The other 24 would-be commissioners will be evaluated starting today.

Updates on the European economy. From Germany, releases on unemployment, consumer prices, and retail sales are due. From the UK: housing prices, lending, and final second-quarter GDP readings. From Italy: unemployment and consumer prices.

Over the weekend

Austria’s conservatives won out over the far-right. Former chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who was ousted from office in May after a cash-for-contracts scandal, is set for a return to power after his People’s Party secured a clear victory in Sunday’s snap election. Support for his former far-right coalition partner, the Freedom Party, plunged sharply.

Boris Johnson was put on the back foot. UK’s prime minister denied any wrongdoing in his ties to a US businesswoman, Jennifer Arcuri, after allegations that she received favorable treatment because of their friendship during his tenure as mayor of London. Separately, Johnson denied squeezing the thigh of a female journalist at a lunch.

Hong Kong protested. Clashes erupted again across various neighborhoods as police used water cannons, rubber bullets, and a single warning shot as large crowds protested ahead of tomorrow’s 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Officers yesterday appeared to repeatedly and deliberately pepper-spray a group of journalists.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they killed or wounded 500 Saudi soldiers. Saudi Arabia hasn’t commented on the assertion by the Iran-aligned fighters, which, if confirmed, could raise more questions about Saudi defenses after a recent drone attack on the kingdom’s oil installations. That was also claimed by the Houthis but blamed by many nations on Iran. Separately, one of the Saudi king’s bodyguards was shot dead by a friend

Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy.

The American fast-fashion retailer, which has struggled in the era of online shopping, said it plans to

close up to 178

 of its more than 800 stores.

Quartz Obsession

Welcome to hell. Whether it’s an inferno, an icy cold realm, or a cubicle, it’s also big business. For many, hell is a place that runs on bribes, bargains, and dirty deals. The Quartz Obsession opens up the Devil’s ledger.

Matters of debate

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Economists don’t deserve your anger. Accusations that they exacerbate inequality and engage in groupthink aren’t justified.

Music business models that work in the West won’t work in Africa. The role of informal vendors in the Global South can’t be ignored.

Young kids shouldn’t bear the burden of climate action. They should be in school, not on the streets demanding more from government leaders.

Surprising discoveries

Attention works more like a sieve than a spotlight. A new theory by researchers presents fresh perspectives on consciousness.

The US is using Google Translate to vet refugees. Immigration officials are relying on it to examine immigrants’ social media posts.

Switzerland auctioned off a dictator’s supercars. Luxury mobiles seized from Equatorial Guinea’s vice president, Teodorin Obiang Nguema, went under the hammer for millions apiece.

China recently gave away over 620,000 TVs. Authorities want the Oct. 1 parade marking their 70th year in power to be widely watched 

Indonesia is putting out fires by making it rain. Authorities have used over 200 tons of salt to seed clouds and create artificial rain to extinguish wildfires.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, confiscated supercars, and nuanced translations to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Mary Hui and edited by Tripti Lahiri.