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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—US stimulus cut, China stimulus boost, Hollande’s lucky escape, unhappy clams

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The end of QE is nigh. The US Federal Reserve is expected to cut back bond purchases by an additional $10 billion to $15 billion a month as it wraps up its two-day policy meeting. That would put the two-year-old program of quantitative easing on track to end in October—could the next step be an interest-rate hike?

Xi visits India. The Chinese president meets Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in his home state of Gujarat, as the two nationalist leaders discuss an expanded economic partnership. One potential sticking point: Modi has been enjoying quite the bromance with Japan’s Shinzo Abe.

FedEx tries to beat expectations. The shipping company’s ambitious full-year profit target will get its first status check (paywall) with the release of fiscal first-quarter results. So far, demand for air and truck freight has been high.

Scotland’s final opinion polls trickle in. The most recent survey shows support for independence rising to 48%, despite UK leaders promising more autonomy if Scotland stays in the union.

Mount Mayon rumbles on. Authorities have evacuated thousands of people within a five-mile radius of the Philippine volcano after lava began to trickle out of the crater on Tuesday. Scientists predict Mayon could violently erupt within weeks.

While you were sleeping

China announced a new stimulus measure. Its central bank will inject 500 billion yuan ($81.4 billion) of liquidity into five state-run banks to encourage lending, following further signs of slowing economic growth.

Endo offered $2.2 billion for Auxilium Pharmaceuticals. The Dublin-based maker of men’s healthcare products said it made an offer that was 30% over Auxilium’s closing price last Friday but has yet to receive a response.

Indonesian politicians want to change the rules. A coalition of parties that lost this year’s general election launched an attempt to revert to a system in which local assemblies, not voters, choose regional leaders. Populist president-elect Joko Widodo opposes the move, which will go to a vote next week.

Softbank’s founder became the richest man in Japan. Masayoshi Son’s net worth rose 3.4% to $16.6 billion on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. Softbank’s 34% stake in Alibaba is a significant driver of his wealth, as the Chinese company’s IPO on Friday is shaping up to be the largest ever.

America ordered up two spaceships. US space agency NASA will pay Boeing $4.2 billion and SpaceX $2.6 billion to each build a replacement for the space shuttle to ferry astronauts and satellites to orbit. Boeing is considered “the least risky option” (paywall), but upstart SpaceX’s system is cheaper and doesn’t rely on imported Russian parts.

François Hollande’s government barely survived. The French president’s new cabinet narrowly won a confidence vote in parliament, 269 to 244. Abstentions and no-shows put the result 20 votes short of an absolute majority (paywall), meaning Hollande lacks support for his planned pro-business policies.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on the lost quarter-century of the American family. “Effectively, inflation-adjusted US median household incomes are still about 1% below where they were in 1989. That’s nearly 25 years ago. And median household incomes are still 9% below the all-time peak back in 1999, when they were $56,895… On the other hand, salaries on the high end of the spectrum have rebounded quite nicely.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China needs to pull its weight on Ebola. Its aid is paltry compared to the investments it’s making in the region.

The Islamic State should be allowed to be a state. The extremist group would fail spectacularly and discredit themselves.

Credit may not drive economic growth. It’s a widely-held finance truism but nobody has ever proved it.

Harvard Business School is ruining America. It’s uniquely responsible for the pay gap between CEOs and ordinary workers.

You can’t be as “happy as a clam.” Clams don’t have emotions, and even if they did, they’d have little to be happy about.

Surprising discoveries

Angry Pakistanis shouted a politician off of their plane. He kept the flight waiting on the tarmac for two hours.

Angry Ukrainians dumped a politician into a rubbish bin. They were displeased with his vote in support of amnesty for pro-Russian rebels.

Venezuela is running out of breast implants. In the latest symptom of the country’s economic crisis, doctors are turning to cheap Chinese implants of dubious quality.

What’s bigger than a giant squid? A colossal squid. The second intact specimen ever found weighed 350kg (770lb).

Samsung is making a “musicom.” The sitcom-with-music isn’t the first of its kind for the company.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, acts of populist outrage, and surplus breast implants to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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