Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—US blasts Germany, FX traders suspended, NSA’s latest hacks, Sriracha shortage

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What to watch for today

Japan’s economic update. Investors will peruse the Bank of Japan’s semi-annual monetary policy bulletin to see whether the central bank still thinks it can reach its 2% inflation target by March 2016.

European jobs. Recent signs of recovery such as Spain’s emergence from recession could bode well for the euro zone’s September employment data, but most expect the bloc’s jobless rate to remain unchanged at 12%.

Exxon Mobil earnings. The energy giant is expected to post a 15.6% profit decline from a year ago due to lower oil prices and difficulties replacing dwindling oil wells.

Franco-Russian diplomacy. French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault discusses trade and the Syrian crisis with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and will also broach the arrest of dozens of Greenpeace activists who were protesting Russia’s energy exploration in the Arctic.

Sriracha under fire. A Southern California judge considers a request to halt production of the famous hot sauce due to citizens’ complaints of noxious odors from its new factory, which could result in limited supplies and higher prices.

While you were sleeping

US blasted German trade policies. An annual US Treasury report blamed Germany’s export-driven economy and anemic domestic demand for the euro zone’s economic woes.

JP Morgan and Citibank suspended top FX traders. The banks both put their chief currency traders in London on leave amid a deepening probe of alleged market manipulation.

The NSA hacked Yahoo and Google. New documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed that the NSA tapped into Google’s and Yahoo’s data centers, giving it access to hundreds of millions of email accounts and other information. The intrusion was diagrammed on a post-it note and marked by a cheeky smiley face.

OGX declared bankruptcy. The formerly high-flying Brazilian oil and gas company, controlled by formerly high-flying billionaire Eike Batista, sought protection from creditors in Latin America’s biggest-ever corporate bankruptcy filing.

Facebook posted a blowout profit. The social networking company’s shares soared after it beat analysts’ expectations, with profits nearly doubling on a 60% increase in revenue from a year ago. But it wasn’t all “likes”—teenagers’ daily use of the site has dropped for the first time.

Starbucks’ grande (not venti) earnings. The coffee peddler’s quarterly profits grew 29% to $668.9 million, but fell short of analysts’ expectations.

No change from the Fed. As expected, the US central bank will maintain its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program in light of the sluggish US economy.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on messaging apps’ sky-high valuation: “If you thought Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram (which at the time had 16 employees) was an eyebrow-raiser, you might be shocked to hear that companies like Pinterest and Snapchat are now estimated to be worth four times as much.” Read more here

Matters of debate

Flipping burgers is worse than going freelance. The grimmest future for the American worker isn’t TaskRabbit—it’s becoming an unwilling part-timer at a restaurant or retailer.

The battle for the internet is upon us. The disruptive power of technology versus consolidated governmental and corporate feudalism.

Facebook should buy BlackBerry.The social network needs its own smartphone, and BlackBerry comes with patents, loyal customers and a messaging platform.

Flood insurance is a scam. Wealthy vacation-homeowners along valuable coastlines should pay for themselves, not rely on others.

Surprising discoveries

Yellowstone’s ticking time bomb. An underground reservoir of molten rock is 50 miles (80 km) long and 12 miles wide—at least two and a half times larger than previously thought.

Just hearing the words “Wall Street” makes you selfish. Researchers found that college students were much more likely to act selfishly during an experiment when they were told it was called “Wall Street Game” rather than “Community Game.”

Icelanders believe in elves. The creatures are so embedded in Iceland’s folklore that a majority of the population believes in their existence.

Ashton Kutcher is a Lenovo’s newest product engineer. Perhaps the actor picked something up while portraying Steve Jobs?

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, elf folklore and Sriracha stockpiles to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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