Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Obama’s travel woes, Tesla fire, Silk Road sunk, small cars are sexy

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What to watch for today

FIFA decides on the fate of the 2022 World Cup. Football’s governing body meets in Zurich to discuss whether to move the 2022 games to the winter, as the summer in Qatar is infernal.

Will Barack Obama go to Asia? While China’s Xi Jinping tours Southeast Asia, the US president has already had to scale back his trip to the region because of the government shutdown. If he also has to miss next week’s APEC and ASEAN summits, it could weaken his position (paywall) just as the US is trying to negotiate a crucial trade treaty.

Constellation reaches for the stars. Alcohol giant Constellation Brands, which owns Svedka vodka and bought beer conglomerate Grupo Modelo in June, releases its quarterly earnings report. Revenue is expected to leap 119% year-over-year.

Italian crisis aftermath. Italian Premier Enrico Letta won a confidence vote after former PM Silvio Berlusconi backed down at the last minute. Will Berlusconi now be kicked out of the Senate?

While you were sleeping

China’s service sector hit a six-month high. The country’s official non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) increased to 55.4 last month from 53.9 in August, driven by new orders and lower costs.

US shutdown talks went nowhere. Obama and congressional leaders gathered at the White House Wednesday evening for the first time since the impasse began, but the private talks failed to yield a deal. “My friend John can’t take yes for an answer,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said of House Speaker John Boehner.

Tesla plummeted after a Model S fire. Shares in the electric car maker lost 6.2% after an online video showed one of its sedans ablaze following an accident in Seattle.

So long, Silk Road. The FBI shuttered the online illicit marketplace and arrested Ross Ulbricht, who it alleges is the owner known as the “Dread Pirate Roberts.” During Silk Road’s lifetime, a mind-boggling number of bitcoins went through the site; here’s how LinkedIn and Google+ gave him away.

Yet another slap for JP Morgan. Italian prosecutors want to charge the US bank with holding information back from regulators when it arranged a loan for troubled Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

Blackberry has a new potential bidder. Private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management expressed interest in buying the struggling smartphone company. Blackberry accepted a tentative offer from Toronto insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings last month.

A jury cleared Michael Jackson’s concert promoter. Music giant A.E.G. Live was found not to be responsible for the King of Pop’s 2009 death even though it hired the doctor who gave him a fatal drug overdose.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips presents the history of Twitter as told through awkward descriptions in the New York Times. “I’ve culled some of the many thousands of times Twitter has appeared in the New York Times, from its first year in 2006 to the wall-to-wall coverage that accompanied its announcement of a planned IPO last month. Along the way, Times wordsmiths grappled with exactly how to explain an entirely new form of media to the American populace.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’s OK to have a big carbon footprint. But you have to make up for it by paying others not to.

The days of paid apps are numbered. More and more are shifting to free, though people will pay for the most utilitarian ones.

Guadalajara is the new Bangalore. Well, not quite, but many Indian IT firms serving customers in the US are setting up shop in Mexico.

Restaurant menus leave a lot to be desired. Esoteric ingredients, useless information and poor design are to blame.

Surprising discoveries

Rio Tinto’s robot trains. The conductors who haul iron ore through Australia’s outback make $224,000 a year; no wonder the mining company wants to replace them with the world’s first automated rail system.

What the entire US government looks like during a shutdown. See what’s working and what’s not with our handy guide to 356 government websites.

Can’t find an iPhone 5s in stock? Here’s an app that will check multiple Apple stores in the US for you. (Hopefully you don’t need a 5s to run the app.)

Go green, chaps. A survey of British women found they prefer men with small, eco-friendly cars, not flashy gas-guzzlers.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, iPhone 5s availability and robot trains to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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