Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Hollande’s confidence vote, Alibaba’s raised price, Hong Kong’s typhoon, self-weighing suitcases

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Hong Kong is shut down by Typhoon Kalmaegi. The stock exchange is closed and flights are cancelled, though trading may resume later in the day.

Hollande’s moment of truth. The French president’s new cabinet faces a confidence vote. Any major rebellion by Hollande’s Socialist Party could force new elections and open the door to the right-wing National Front.

The world’s two largest beer companies inch towards a tie-up. Anheuser-Busch InBev is reportedly talking to banks about funding a bid for SABMiller that could be worth up to $122 billion. Together, the companies control a third of the world’s beer supply.

Obama ramps up the fight against Ebola. The US president will announce plans to conduct healthcare training and send portable hospitals, doctors and medical supplies to West Africa. Liberia has asked for extra help as the virus threatens to overwhelm the country.

Air France strikes, Lufthansa doesn’t. Some 60% of Air France pilots walked out on Monday, and that was just the first day of a week of planned strikes (if you’re flying, check flight schedules here). Lufthansa pilots just called off plans for their own strike.

While you were sleeping

Alibaba bumped up its IPO price. As a result of strong demand, the Chinese e-commerce giant said it would raise the deal’s price range to $66-$68 a share, from $60-$66 previously. The company is in the midst of its roadshow’s Asia leg, ahead of what could be the biggest IPO in history on Friday.

The US raised pressure on China over anti-competitive behavior. US treasury secretary Jacob Lew wrote to vice premier Wang Yang accusing Beijing of singling out foreign companies, which have come under intense scrutiny from Chinese regulators in recent months.

Rival UK leaders wooed Scotland. Conservative prime minister David Cameron, Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, and Labour leader Ed Miliband made a new promise for powers for Scotland if it rejects independence. The secession referendum takes place on Thursday.

Orange offered $4.4 billion for Spain’s Jazztel. The French telecom joined the rush among European carriers to consolidate by offering an all-cash deal for the Spanish broadband firm.

America Movil courted buyers for its Mexico operations. The carrier approached AT&T and SoftBank to gauge their interest in $17.5 billion worth of assets, according to Bloomberg. Billionaire Carlos Slim is reducing his company’s market share in his home country to avoid antitrust regulations.

A massive pension system said no to hedge funds. The $298 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers) is quitting hedge funds, saying they’re too expensive and complex for its investment portfolio.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on how Alibaba’s IPO is already creating headaches for Amazon. “Alibaba, the Chinese internet colossus, is expected to pull off the biggest IPO in history this week. It will sell more than $21 billion of stock, according to Renaissance Capital. The thing is, as MarketWatch points out, big investors need to free up capital to participate in the IPO. To do this, they are likely to sell shares of US e-commerce companies (to avoid over-exposure to the sector).  For better or worse, the closest comparable company to Alibaba in the US is Amazon. Ebay’s share price also is under pressure of late.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The UK is asking Scots the wrong question. The way the referendum is framed is likelier to lead to a “yes” vote.

China is partially to blame for the rise of the Islamic State. And now China’s own Muslim dissidents may be finding common cause with IS.

Go ahead, let the kids play on your iPad. We’re all bad at parenting sometimes.

The tech boom has an expiration date. Silicon Valley is taking on too much risk (paywall).

Venezuela’s government should default on its debt. It’s better than defaulting on its obligation to its citizens—which is what it’s doing right now.

Surprising discoveries

7-Up used to contain lithium. The soda was also marketed as a drink to “dispel hangovers.”

The US is divided between those who say “uh” and those who say “um.” Here’s a map of who says what where.

Israel has a giant stone monument older than the pyramids. The 5,000-year-old crescent-shaped object was discovered via a satellite image.

Egypt has the wrong canal on its stamps. They were meant to celebrate the expansion of the Suez Canal, but they show the Panama Canal instead.

Never worry about overweight luggage again. A $200 pledge on Kickstarter could get you a self-weighing suitcase.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, vintage 7-Up, and regional dialect divides to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.