A Starbucks coffee shop.
Photograph by Chris Hondros—Getty Images

Here’s what you need to know to start your day.

By Ben Geier
August 15, 2014

Hello, friends and Fortune readers.

U.S. stock futures are pointing to a higher open Friday, with the market’s major stock indexes set to chalk up their best weekly gains in six weeks. Here’s what else you need to know about in business news today:

1. Markets are up worldwide

Remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed up European markets Friday, but the Wall Street Journal notes that there is still considerable tension in the region. A convoy of Russian military vehicles with humanitarian aid supplies has arrived at the border with Ukraine, raising fears it may be a Trojan Horse-style ploy.

2. Bill Ackman is at it again

Sometimes it seems like hedge fund guru Bill Ackman is the crazy uncle in the investment management community. His latest caper? Suing the U.S. government over mortgage profits. This follows Ackman’s two-year campaign to prove Herbalife is a pyramid scheme.

3. Coke is taming the Monster

If you Coca-Cola KO loyalists want a drink that sets you even more on edge, now you have an option: the Atlanta beverage giant has bought $2.15 billion stake in Monster Energy drinks, or 16.7% of the company. Coke gets two board seats and will transfer ownership of its own energy drink business to Monster.

4. Starbucks may revise its barista scheduling policy

The person who makes your latte will soon have a more predictable work schedule, according to the Seattle Times. This change is in response to a story in the New York Times showing the unpredictable nature of working at the coffee chain.

5. Ebay could soon bitcoin

That’s right, pretty soon you may be able to use your virtual currency to bid on vintage video games, used musical instruments — or whatever else you want.

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