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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—US-Afghanistan security deal, EU-China trade talks, Baidu founder climbs rich list, paying alcoholics with pints

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What to watch for today

Europe and China talk trade. At a summit in Beijing, ministers will try to patch up a testy relationship after recent disputes over Chinese solar panels and European wine. The EU is likely to push for greater access to China’s financial sector.

Mexico returns to growth—just about. Mexico’s economy is expected to expand 0.7% after the country’s first contraction in four years. It has suffered from the sluggish US economy and a dip in remittances from Mexicans abroad, more of whom are going home.

Afghanistan votes on a US security deal. US troops will be allowed to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 with immunity from Afghan’s courts if the Loya Jirga, Afghanistan’s grand council, signs the deal today. The bill will still need an okay from parliament.

Can Target hit the bullseye? Analysts expect Target to post third quarter earnings per share of $0.63 on revenues of $17.36 billion—and investors will be watching the US retail chain’s same-store sales, which were weaker than expected in the last quarter, climbing just 1.2%.

Pandora plays music to shareholders’ ears. The online radio service is set to report earnings of 6 cents a share for the third quarter, up from 5 cents last year, on revenues of $177 million. Expectations are high after Pandora said its October listening hours grew 18% from the same month in 2012.

While you were sleeping

Brits aren’t immune to NSA spying. A new Edward Snowden leak showed that the US spy agency was authorized to snoop on citizens of “5 Eyes” allies Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Baidu founder is now China’s second-richest man. Robin Li’s net worth advanced to $11.9 billion thanks to rising shares in his search engine company; he now trails only Wang Jianlin, founder of property and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group.

US, European agreement on Bangladesh labor. Groups representing giants like Walmart, Gap, and H&M agreed on joint inspection standards to improve worker safety in Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza disaster. 

The Bank of Japan held steady. As expected, policy rates and its asset-purchasing program remain unchanged as the bank said Japan’s economy “has been recovering moderately” and “exports have generally been picking up.”

Chinese workers protested outside a Nokia plant. Hundreds gathered outside a factory in Southern China, angry about new contracts they were forced to sign after Microsoft bought Nokia’s mobile phone unit.

China manufacturing is slowing. The preliminary reading of 50.4 for this month’s Purchasing Managers’ Index was lower than expected, declining from October’s 50.9 and presenting a challenge to policymakers embarking on new reforms.  

The Fed’s new mantra: Keep calm and carry on. Minutes from the US central bank’s October rate-setting meeting shed some light on how it might act if lawmakers push the country into default next time there’s a debt ceiling standoff. (The answer: Continue to treat US debt as if it were undefaulted.)

Quartz obsession interlude

Ritchie King on the uncomfortable racial preferences of online dating. “All men except Asians preferred Asian women, while all except black women preferred white men. And both black men and black women got the lowest response rates for their respective genders. Perhaps most surprising is that among men, all racial groups preferred another race over their own.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

We need nuclear power to tackle climate change. Japan’s broken promise to meet emissions targets shows that alternative energy—unlike nuclear—is no match for fossil fuels.

Pop music has a race problem. White performers like Macklemore and Lorde profit from tone-deaf critiques of hip hop.

The mancession’s female victims. Men suffered most conspicuously from the economic crisis, but the toll on women can’t be denied.

The 1% threaten our society. The implications of diverging incomes on political and economic stability are severe.

Surprising discoveries

TV that snoop on their owners. An LG customer says the company is collecting data from customers every time they change the channel, even if they opt to disable data sharing.

Ancient DNA revelations. Tests done on the body of a boy buried in Siberia 24,000 years ago shows he shared genes with living Native Americans.

Skim milk isn’t that good for you. The darling of anti-obesity campaigns might not actually help people lose weight.

Beefing up safe sex. The next generation of condoms could be made of cow tendons instead of latex.

Payment in pints. Amsterdam wants clean streets—and it’s paying alcoholics with beer to do the cleaning.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, condom designs and ancient DNA theories to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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