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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Hong Kong’s eerie quiet, Euro inflation, China clears iPhone, curry brain food

By Richard Macauley
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Greece remains on the hook. The country will meet with international creditors to discuss the terms of its public debt. Greece bond yields are on the rise after the government suggested that it may stop taking aid from the International Monetary Fund and avoid painful financial reforms.

Euro zone inflation numbers are due. The European Central Bank target rate is about 2% but analysts expect only 0.3%, which means that ECB president Mario Draghi may have to take even more drastic measures to spur growth.

Afghanistan lets the Americans stay just a little bit longer. Newly sworn president Ashraf Ghani will sign a deal allowing about 10,000 US troops to remain into 2015. On this, at least, Ghani and his bitter rival Abdullah Abdullah agree.

Out with the new Windows, in with the old. Microsoft unveils a new version of its operating system, codenamed Threshold. It rolls back many of the disliked changes of the previous version, which the world largely rejected, and aims to be more enterprise-friendly.

Will Walgreens bounce back in the fourth quarter? The US pharmacy giant missed earnings expectations in the third quarter after Obamacare and other external factors weighed on its profit margins. Investors will be looking to see if those problems have been dealt with.

While you were sleeping

Apple finally got the nod to sell its iPhone 6 in China. Regulators approved the new smartphones for sale after mysteriously withholding a crucial license for several weeks. But if the price of gray-market iPhones is anything to go by, demand is not exactly sky-high.

Hong Kong’s streets are eerily quiet. Pro-democracy protests have turned the center of the city into a car-free zone, without any significant confrontations between demonstrators and police overnight. The size of the crowd is smaller this morning, but is expected to swell again in the evening, ahead of tomorrow’s National Day holiday celebrating the founding of China. Follow the action here.

Turkey deployed tanks to counter the Islamic State. Shells fired by the extremist group landed inside Turkey, killing two soldiers and wounding five others. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has acknowledged that Turkey “can’t stay out” of the US-led campaign against IS.

Manufacturing in China stagnated. The HSBC / Markit purchasing managers’ index, which measures small- and medium-sized businesses, was flat at 50.2 in September, just barely above the the 50 point that divides expansion from contraction. The government has made various attempts, largely unsuccessfully, to jump-start the economy.

The SoftBank-DreamWorks Animation deal might not happen after all. Talks between the Japanese mobile carrier and Hollywood studio have “cooled,” according to The Wall Street Journal (paywall), sending the latter’s stock down as much 8% in after-hours trading. Rumors of the deal only began swirling on Saturday.

Argentina got slapped down again. The US judge who ruled against the country in its dispute with foreign bondholders declared it in contempt of court (paywall) for trying to circumvent his ruling. He hasn’t set a punishment yet, though it will probably be small compared with the country’s outstanding debts.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why China should leave Hong Kong alone. “Since Hong Kong is the global center for yuan trading, it is also a portal through which huge sums of liquidity flow, through both real and fake trade financing. China’s leaders don’t seem to actually understand how dependent their country’s financial system is on these ever-rising tides of liquidity coming in via Hong Kong. And they may not realize how easily a liquidity crisis could occur if, God forbid, they do decide to call in the tanks.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US needs marijuana bars. They would offer public gathering spaces without the social dangers associated with drinking alcohol.

Farm-t0-table dining is broken. Consumers aren’t asking enough of small growers, says one of the movement’s most respected voices.

Chinese tourists are the best. They love to buy expensive gifts, and it’s expected that 166 million of them will spend $155 billion outside the mainland this year.

It’s Reagan’s fault that the NSA is spying on everyone. He let the government snoop on any US company that has ”some relationship” with foreigners.

Hamas = Islamic State = Iran = the Nazis. The world according to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Surprising discoveries

The White House has had some shocking security breaches. Like the time a soldier landed a stolen helicopter on the lawn.

Kurdish troops are building tanks out of spare parts. They look like something straight out of Mad Max.

There’s a new world record for the marathon. Kenyan Dennis Kimetto’s time of 2:02:57 broke the previous mark by 26 seconds.

Curry might be good for your brain. A chemical in turmeric helped rats produce restorative neural stem cells.

It costs $2 billion a year to send drinking water to the International Space Station. And you thought Evian was expensive.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, artisanal armored vehicles, and favorite curry recipes to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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