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October 31, 2014

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo fails during an engine test.

  Something went wrong shortly after SpaceShipTwo—the flagship craft of British mogul Richard Branson’s space-tourism project—fired up its rocket engine for the first time in nine months to test a new fuel mixture. California’s Highway Patrol says one of the the ship’s two pilots died and the other was badly hurt.
October 31, 2014

The Bank of Japan gives world markets a boost.

  Both the Nikkei in Japan and the S&P 500 in the US closed on record highs after the Japanese central bank said it would expand its bond purchases to 80 trillion yen a year ($726 billion), from 60-70 trillion currently, in a surprise attempt to kickstart the sluggish economy. The bank’s board said the move was necessary to reverse “a deflationary mindset” (paywall).
October 31, 2014

Microsoft reportedly fires its global ad sales team.

  Sources tell Business Insider that roughly 100 people across multiple countries found out this week that they are no longer needed to sell ad space on Bing, Xbox, and other Microsoft properties. The company confirms to Quartz that it has “taken another step that will complete almost all the 18,000 [company-wide] reductions announced in July.”    
October 31, 2014

Britain goes easy on its banks.

  Lenders knew they’d have to start keeping a greater percentage of their capital in the vault, but the 4.05% minimum leverage ratio that the Bank of England will be requiring as of 2019 is well below the 7.5% ratio some were expecting. Barclays and Lloyds shares rose on the news.
October 31, 2014
Chart of the Moment

Abenomics just made the Nikkei notch a seven-year high.

October 30, 2014

Russia signs a gas deal with Ukraine.

  Russia will supply Ukraine with 4 billion cubic meters of gas until March next year, at a cost of $4.6 billion, some of which is for previous gas deliveries. Ukraine must pay the sum up front but the EU, which also signed the agreement, will provide “unprecedented levels” of aid to help cover the cost.
October 31, 2014

Halloween costumes are banned on the Beijing subway.

  Authorities say they could cause “panic” or “stampedes” (paywall).

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