Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Merkel’s coalition talks, Asia’s typhoon trifecta, shutdown bubble, opulent puffer fish

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What to watch for today

Merkel’s coalition talks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel discusses forming a coalition government with the country’s Social Democrats, who want a nationwide hourly minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.51).

Washington deal-makers scramble. The US government has three days until it risks running out of cash, and US lawmakers are scrambling to come up with a deal to extend the country’s borrowing limit. IMF head Christine Lagarde and the heads of three of the world’s most powerful banks warned that the fate of the global economy hangs in the balance.

Mother nature beats up Asia. Typhoon Wipha is headed to the Philippines, then Japan. Typhoon Nari is expected to hit Vietnam after battering the Philippines. Here are radar images of Wipha, Nari and Cyclone Phailin, which landed in India Saturday.

Market holidays. US bond markets close for Columbus Day. Egypt and a few other exchanges in the Middle East close for the beginning of the Eid religious holiday. The Tokyo Stock Exchange closes for the country’s national day celebrating sports and health, Hong Kong for a holiday celebrating ancestor worship and India for Dussehra, celebrating the annihilation of evil.

While you were sleeping

Netflix is discussing cable deals. The online video service is in talks with cable-TV companies like Comcast and Suddenlink Communications to offer Netflix via their set-top boxes, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Life got pricier in China. September consumer prices rose more than expected, increasing 3.1% from a year earlier and advancing from 2.6% in August; policymakers want to ensure a rebound without too much inflation.

Singapore’s economy shrank less than expected. The city-state’s gross domestic product for the third quarter fell 1% compared to the second quarter, thanks to a strong services sector and manufacturing gains.

Argentina’s president left the hospital. Five days after brain surgery to remove a blood clot, 60-year-old Cristina Fernandez returned to her official residence. She faces 30 days of rest; it’s unclear when she’ll resume work.

The US stayed wedded to Afghanistan. Officials from the US and Afghanistan agreed on a preliminary deal that would leave some US troops in Afghanistan after 2014, the deadline for America’s withdrawal, but only if Afghanistan agrees that US soldiers not be subjected to Afghan law.

Iran refused to give up the goods. Iran rejected Western demands that the country ship sensitive nuclear material out of the country. Negotiations between the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program are set to start in Geneva on Tuesday.

The euro zone left the hot seat. Top German finance officials said the euro zone, no longer in a recession, is posing less of a risk to the global economy.

Quartz obsession interlude

Todd Woody on how the second-biggest clean technology investor is an oil giant. ”The second-most active corporate deal-maker isn’t a ‘don’t be evil’ Silicon Valley tech giant. Rather it’s a company from the Dr. No sector—oil multinational ConocoPhillips, according to a new report from research and advisory firm Cleantech Group. Between the third quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2013, ConocoPhillips invested in 18 deals, putting cash into startups such as Cool Planet, biofuels developer, and Skyonic, which has invented a technology to capture carbon dioxide from industrial emissions.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Forget about your passion and goals. Fail your way to success, says “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams.

The G20 is losing focus. Leaders of the G20 once focused on hammering out deals on fiscal stimulus; now their agenda is confused and amorphous, ranging from climate change to food security.

Yellen isn’t the issue. The US Federal Reserve has bigger problems to confront than who’s running it; There’s waning confidence that its policy tools can fix the economy.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner is in trouble. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which just won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, is bogged down by budget and staff cuts that are jeopardizing one of the most successful nonproliferation agreements.

The US political system is the country’s latest bubble. If market participants believe that the US’s once capable system is now dysfunctional and unpredictable, a pivotal event like a default could move markets dramatically.

Surprising discoveries

The story of quinoa’s rise. Bolivian farmers, an in-demand grain, and the triumph of delivery.

If you cried in space, the tears would pool in your eyes like a blob. So says this astronaut’s fact-check of the sci-fi film Gravity.

Ninjas are au courant in Japanese fast food. Burger King is burger-ifying a national icon, the ninja, by using blackened buns and a long strip of bacon.

One giant brass puffer fish takes on China’s Communist Party. The city of Yangzhong, in China’s Jiangsu Province, built a 295-foot-long brass-encased sculpture of a puffer fish to lure visitors to a gardening expo, bucking the government’s austerity drive.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, burger innovations and puffer fish sightings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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