Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—US bombs Syria, UN climate summit, Chinese manufacturing gains, Yahoo for free

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What to watch for today

The UN discusses climate change without two of the biggest players. China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi won’t attend the UN climate summit in New York (though lowlier officials will). About 650 investors have promised to divest $50 billion from fossil fuels.

Cruises make a comeback. Carnival reports quarterly earnings, and sales are expected to rise slightly as the company continues to recover from its various disasters. It’s looking to Asia for growth, with new sales offices planned in several countries.

Recriminations in Scotland, relief in England. Expect some fur to fly in Edinburgh as the Scottish parliament holds its first session since last week’s failed bid for independence. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what Labor leader Ed Miliband has to say at the party’s annual conference in Manchester.

US manufacturing gets a check-up. Markit will release its flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for September while the Richmond Fed releases its manufacturing and services indices for the month.

While you were sleeping

The US and its Arab allies begin airstrikes in Syria. Following president Barack Obama’s vow to “degrade and destroy” the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State, the Pentagon deployed bombers, fighters, armed drones, and cruise missiles against the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria and its forces along the Iraq border. Military aircraft from Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates took part in the strikes, US officials told the New York Times.

China’s manufacturing picked up steam. The HSBC/Markit flash purchasing managers’ index for September stood at 50.5, compared to 50.2 for August, representing a greater expansion in manufacturing activity. The new data should ease fears that the economy is sputtering despite the government’s “mini-stimulus.”

Ukraine prepared to withdraw its heavy artillery. President Petro Poroshenko said he would move the weapons from the country’s conflict-ridden eastern regions because the ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels is mostly holding, and that any continued fighting is being waged by small independent groups.

The US got tough on companies skimping on their taxes. The Obama administration is cracking down on tax inversions (paywall), whereby a US company reduces its effective tax rate by merging with a foreign one and moving its headquarters abroad. New rules from the Treasury would complicate or disqualify deals like Burger King’s acquisition of Canada’s Tim Hortons last month.

Ebola cases could reach 21,000 by November. The World Health Organization said the number of infections is rising exponentially—it took a full six months to reach the current 5,800 illnesses. A lack of basic medical necessities in the hardest-hit countries is hampering efforts to contain the virus.

The SEC made a whistleblower very rich. The US financial regulator announced a $30 million reward—double the 2013 record of $14 million—to a tipster who helped it uncover a “difficult-to-detect” fraud. It’s the 14th such award since the SEC launched its program two years ago, and the fourth awarded to someone outside the US.

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Frommer on why the iPhone 6 Plus is the slightly-larger-than-pocket size computer we’ve been waiting for. “For the past two years, since the iPad mini launched, I’ve wanted to take it everywhere. But to my frustration, that just hasn’t happened. It’s too big for most pockets, and it feels silly to carry a backpack around just for an iPad mini. My hope for the iPhone 6 Plus was that it would be an iPad mini that I don’t need a bag for. And so far, that’s exactly what it has been.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Iraq as a nation is a figment of the White House’s imagination. The Kurds have a very different perspective.

Alibaba could buy Yahoo for free. All that’s standing in the way is Yahoo’s wounded pride.

Germany’s billions of euros to go green were well spent. Sometimes subsidies are necessary.

It’s not Uber’s job to take care of its drivers. If governments fail to provide, businesses shouldn’t have to pick up the slack.

Apple’s new headquarters will be the greenest building on the planet. At least that’s what Tim Cook claims.

Surprising discoveries

Ferarri is recalling 3,000 cars. There were fears that drivers could get trapped in the trunk.

Condoms can be used in the kitchen too. An unusual Japanese cookbook aims to reverse the falling popularity of the prophylactic.

Sheryl Sandberg is a comic-book heroine. She joins Mother Teresa and Michelle Obama in a series of graphic biographies.

Eating the evidence may not save you from jail. A man who wrote stock tips on bar napkins and then chewed them up was convicted of insider trading all the same.

Eating with overweight people makes you eat more. Scientists used an actress in a fatsuit to test their theory.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, napkin stock tips, and Ferrari escape plans to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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