Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The European Central Bank’s watch list. The ECB will publish a list of some 130 euro zone lenders it will oversee beginning next year as part of a strategy to flag potential risks and head off future debt crises.
Boeing’s growth. The aircraft manufacturer should post a strong third quarter despite a dip in US government defense spending. Its stock hit a record high earlier in October after Boeing announced soaring demand for its commercial airplanes.
Caterpillar’s weakness. Caterpillar is expected to post a fourth consecutive quarterly drop in profit due to weak demand for its machinery and engine products. AT&T, which says it will be the only US network carrying the new Nokia 1520 supersize smartphone, also releases earnings today.
Diplomatic meetings. US secretary of state John Kerry discusses Iran with Israel prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Rome, where Netanyahu will also meet the Pope. Meanwhile, Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif will meet Barack Obama in Washington amid heightened focus on US drone policy.
China’s rare earth mining damage. The World Trade Organization will issue a draft report on the environmental impact of China’s vast rare earth mines, which often produce toxic run-off that contaminates surrounding areas.
While you were sleeping
Buyout firms explore Safeway bid. Cerberus and other groups are looking at a deal to acquire the second-largest US grocery chain, which has a market value of about $8 billion, according to Reuters.
Another big fine over Libor. The Dutch lender Rabobank could pay UK and US regulators nearly $1 billion to settle charges that it was involved in a global scheme to manipulate the benchmark lending rate.
Carl Icahn sold over half his Netflix stake. The billionaire investor unloaded about three million shares in the online streaming company, whose stock has more than quintupled since he started investing in it.
Australians told to evacuate their homes. Winds in the bushland outside Sydney could create the worst conditions so far in ongoing fires that have claimed at least 200 homes.
JP Morgan close to another big payout? Investors including BlackRock and Neuberger Berman want at least $5.75 billion to recover losses from mortgage-backed securities they bought ahead of the financial crisis. In a similar claim, the group earlier got an $8.5 billion settlement from Bank of America.
Australian inflation in the last quarter rose 0.7% from the previous quarter, beating estimates. The consumer price index was up 1.2% from the last three months.
Quartz obsession interlude
Heather Timmons on electric-power bicycles, the craze that seems to be eluding the US: “E-bikes normally travel at speeds of 20 to 30 mph (32 to 48 kph), they charge from a regular electric socket and starting at about $1,000 per bike they’re rather affordable, at least compared to electric cars. You can even build one yourself for much less… Strangely, most US politicians are doing little to encourage their use, and some are actively discouraging it.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Traveling to North Korea is mostly a good thing. Visitors shouldn’t feel guilty about supporting the government. After all, tourism allows North Koreans contact with the outside world.
Wikipedia is on the wane. The online encyclopedia’s volunteer workforce, which is around 90% male, has shrunk by more than a third since 2007—and is unwelcoming to newcomers.
Corporate transparency means higher pay. Reforms designed to curb executive pay, such as disclosure rules, lead to higher salaries because they tell executives what their peers elsewhere are making.
Robots will always be a step behind humans. Robots can’t decipher messy handwriting, search as effectively for complex flights, or keep up with rapidly changing social and cultural phenomena.
The kids are alright. The percentage of US 18- to 34-year-olds living with their parents has started to decline.
Big Data and “all you can eat” university degrees. Schools experiment with granting degrees based on testing, rather than credits, and use predictive analytics to determine whether applicants are likely to succeed or fail.
Anti-fart underwear. Available for men and women, the high-tech undergarments use activated carbon to mask unpleasant odors.
Who needs direct sunlight if you’ve got enormous mirrors? Villages in Italy and Norway situated in deep valleys don’t get much sunlight, so they installed huge mirrors to redirect the sun’s rays.
Americans want weed. For the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) think marijuana should be available legally, compared to 12% who thought so in 1969.