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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Hong Kong protests persist, Brazil’s presidential run-off, HP plans split, Germany’s shared bathwater

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Typhoon Phanfone disrupts Japan. Winds of up to 180 kmh (112 mph) are heading towards Tokyo, and have caused flight cancellations and the loss of power to thousands of homes. One US airman was killed after being washed out to sea from his post, and two others are missing.

Global number-crunching. Factory orders are due out from Germany, the US Federal Reserve will begin publishing a new monthly index of US labor market conditions, and the Bank of Japan and the central banks of Portuguese-speaking countries will hold meetings.

Airstrikes against the Islamic State continue. The world awaits a response to the apparent beheading of Britain’s Alan Denny, a kidnapped aid worker in Syria, by IS jihadists. Among the targets of the US-led bombing campaign is a former French intelligence officer who has defected to Al Qaeda, and who reportedly survived a cruise missile attack against the Qaeda-allied Nusra Front.

Over the weekend

Hong Kong protests limped into their second week. The Hong Kong government let a dwindling number of protesters remain in place on Monday morning, after a small path was cleared to allow government workers to return to work. Officials and student protest leaders met for the first time on Sunday night, but the talks have not yielded any concrete results.

HP is splitting in two. The company plans to separate its PC and printer businesses from its hardware and services operations next year, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The split could unleash another round of deal-making by tech companies, including the combination of the HP hardware business with data storage giant EMC.

Brazil got a step closer to its next president. Incumbent Dilma Rousseff won the most votes in Sunday’s first-round election, and pro-business candidate Aécio Neves surged ahead of environmentalist challenger Marina Silva to finish second. A runoff between Rousseff and Neves will take place on October 26.

The World Bank was downbeat on China, cutting its 2014 growth forecast to 7.4% due to Beijing’s attempts to tackle local government debt, shadow banking, and pollution. The World Bank also projects China will only grow by 7.2% in 2015.

“Baby Doc” died. The brutal former dictator of Haiti, Jean-Claude Duvalier, died of a heart attack at age 63. He inherited the title of “president for life” from his father, “Papa Doc,” in 1971 at age 19, but his cruel reign was ended by an uprising in 1986.

Mexico discovered a mass grave. Authorities in Iguala, in Guerrero State, found several bodies near where students clashed with the police a week ago, which resulted in several deaths and dozens of missing students. The New York Times reported that many students were last seen being carried off by police officers.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on some of the all-time best rants about doing business in France. “The history of French-bashing goes way back. The French writer and journalist Jules Huret visited Germany and wrote up his account in 1908. ‘There’s too much talking in your offices, large and small. We are always surprised when we go to Paris for work for all the time lost to ‘chatting.’” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Economists are blind to the true limits of growth. Innovation can’t trump basic physical energy constraints.

Manhattan has become a perfect island of self-empowerment—as long as you’re empowered to begin with.

Governments should start talking to terrorists. Learn the lessons of Northern Ireland.

Germany is conserving too much. The country’s pursuit of thriftiness includes sharing bathwater.

Surprising discoveries

A crystal made from cobalt can suck the oxygen out of an entire room. It could be useful for making fuel cells.

Babies think ripped-up paper is hilarious. And they’re right, based on this video.

ISIL was the victim of a suicide bombing. A female Kurdish fighter reportedly carried out the attack in Syria on Sunday.

You’re probably wrong about Napoleon’s height and Viking helmets. Along with 34 other popular misconceptions.

Scientists are ready to test lab-grown penises. Any volunteers?

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, self-empowerment strategies, and baby laughter videos to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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