What to watch for today
Oil prices could start slipping. The US Energy Information Administration will publish a report on how much crude oil the US is stockpiling. Investors say reserves have increased by 1.5 million barrels in the span of just one week, potentially driving the price of oil to below $90 a barrel.
The Hong Kong protests swell. The country will be on vacation for two days, so expect to see people who wanted to take part in the Umbrella Revolution but couldn’t take time off work join their fellow citizens. Today is the protestors’ deadline for chief executive C.Y. Leung to resign—something he refuses to do.
Hard data on Chinese growth—or lack thereof. China’s statistics agency will release a report on manufacturing. On Tuesday, the Markit/HSBC purchasing managers’ index showed that the country’s factories haven’t changed output levels since last month.
Shanghai’s polluters face astronomical fines. China’s largest city will start enforcing what it’s calling the “strictest air protection law” in the country. Maximum fines will reach 500,000 yuan ($81,450)—five times the current level. Some businesses could be shut down until they comply.
Try the new Windows. Microsoft will make available a “technical preview” of Windows 10, which it announced on Tuesday, skipping Windows 9. The final release will be in mid-to-late 2015. The highlight feature is the return of the familiar start menu that, to many users’ annoyance, disappeared in Windows 8.
While you were sleeping
Ebola reached US soil. An unidentified man has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus. He reported symptoms six days after coming to the US from Liberia on Sept. 20, according to the Centers for Disease Control. CDC Director Thomas Frieden said he has “no doubt we will stop this in its tracks.” Shares of drug firms working on Ebola treatments have spiked.
The UK finally dropped some bombs. The Royal Air Force used its jets to attack an armored truck and a “heavy weapon position” in Iraq. The defense ministry said both targets were successfully destroyed. Kurdish sources say the attacks helped them secure an area near the Syrian border.
Kenya magically became a “middle-income economy”. After the statistics agency rebased GDP figures and tweaked an Excel spreadsheet, the economy “grew” by 25%. With GDP per capita of $1,246, that puts Kenya in the World Bank’s ”middle-income” rather than “low-income” bracket.
Carl Icahn’s wish came true. EBay will spin off PayPal as a separate company next year, as Ican requested when he bought a stake back in January (though he subsequently dropped the request). Now the investor has a new demand: He wants to see PayPal merge or buy out its competitors so it can take on Apple Pay.
Europe decided to keep Russia down. Despite the Ukraine-Russia ceasefire earlier this month, fighting hasn’t stopped, so European officials didn’t undo the shackles they placed on the Russian economy. Meanwhile, the ruble hit yet another all-time low; Russia’s central bank is reportedly considering capital controls.
Quartz obsession interlude
Lily Kuo on how Hong Kong’s protest has spread beyond students. “Teachers in at least 31 secondary schools are boycotting classes, and Hong Kong’s Professional Teachers Union (PTU)—80% of the city’s primary and secondary school teachers are members—has pledged its support to the movement. Instead of teaching classes, teachers are holding “civic lessons” for students to learn about Hong Kong politics and activism, according to Fong King-lok, head of computer development at PTU.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Putin can be stopped. All we need need to do is boost NATO spending and force the EU to adopt a cohesive energy policy.
The people of Hong Kong aren’t really Chinese. Legally, they are, but in the protests they’re asserting a separate identity.
ISIL can be beaten if we focus on young people. Disenfranchised youth with seemingly no opportunities in life are the easiest to radicalize.
A lack of jobs is undermining marriage. Young American adults are growing increasingly unlikely to marry someone who doesn’t a steady paycheck.
US ground troops in Iraq are inevitable. That’s what the military experts are saying.
Antibiotics may cause obesity. If you give them to a child before the age of two, you’re likelier to end up with a plump five-year-old.
Not even sewage is safe from surveillance. Sensors in Stockholm’s sewers will go off if they detect bomb-making chemicals.
The game of Tetris has a plot. At least Hollywood thinks it does.
Your spare bedroom won’t be empty for long. And it’ll be your in-laws moving in, not just your kids coming back.
Paper or paper? Single-use plastic bags are now banned in California.
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