Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—ISIL massacre looms, Samsung’s profit plung, Ebola in Spain, doves can’t cry

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What to watch for today

Yum looks distinctly less yummy. The owner of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC is expected to report disappointing third-quarter earnings due to a sharp fall in sales in China (paywall). Like McDonald’s, which reported a similar decline last month, Yum has fallen prey to a string of Chinese food-quality scandals.

The Nobel Prize in physics. Every winner of this prestigious award since 1963 has been a man—a fact that’s rightly rubbing some people the wrong way. One survey says that this year’s winners will likely be a group of (male) scientists who researched materials that could be used for quantum computers.

Ukraine and Russia address their gas dispute—perhaps. Winter is coming, which means Ukraine needs the gas that Russia stopped delivering in June. The two countries are due to report back to the European Commission, which has been overseeing  negotiations aimed at finding a solution.

More economic data than you know what to do with. The IMF will publish its global economic outlook, the Bank of Portugal will disclose the state of local banks, and the US will issue an update on its oil stockpile.

While you were sleeping

Samsung’s profits dropped like a stone. The South Korean tech giant said its third-quarter operating profits will fall by 60% to 4.1 trillion won ($3.8 billion)—even worse than most analysts expected—due to intense competition in the smartphone market, which is eating away at the company’s market share and forcing heavy discounting and marketing expenditures.

ISIL fighters reached the streets of Kobani. The Islamic State raised its flag inside the Syrian border town near the Turkish border after a lengthy siege. Syrian Kurds say are woefully outgunned, and warn that “a terrible slaughter is coming” if ISIL takes the city.

Glencore tried to merge with Rio Tinto. The Anglo-Swiss mining company approached Rio Tinto this summer with a merger proposal that would have created the world’s largest mining company, but was turned down in August. Glencore is now gauging Aluminium Corporation of China’s interest in a deal; the state-owned company controls 9.8% of Rio Tinto.

Brussels is going after Amazon. The European Commission will launch a formal investigation into the tax relationship between the online retailer and Luxembourg, according to the Financial Times (paywall). Brussels alleges Luxembourg improperly offered Amazon preferential tax rates for a decade, in a deal similar to those that have ensnared Apple in Ireland and Starbucks in the Netherlands.

Ebola infected someone outside of Africa for the first time. A female nurse in Madrid tested positive for the disease, after working in a hospital there that was treating an Ebola victim. All the previous victims, including Thomas Eric Duncan, have contracted the disease in Africa.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on bitcoin finding its killer app. “There are three stories bitcoin’s proponents tell about what bitcoin technology could potentially do for the world: That bitcoin will become a currency used by many people to purchase goods; that it will be a superior method to store value over time; and that it can form the basis of a highly secure and efficient payments system. The volatility of the price chart suggests that storing value, at least so far in its young life, isn’t bitcoin’s strong suit.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

What if Kim Jong-un is no more? Japan, South Korea, and the US should really start considering their next moves.

The US can’t win in Syria. Even if it destroys the Islamic State extremist group, it will only destabilize the region further.

Finland’s schools are the best. Because its school days are shorter and teachers work half as hard as their American counterparts.

Stopping Ebola is just step one. Bill Gates says fixing healthcare is critical to the growth of emerging economies.

Short men make better husbands. Their lack of stature means they work harder at everything.

Surprising discoveries

Prince could have used a fact-checker. Doves, though they have tear ducts, cannot cry.

Putin got a Hercules-themed art show for his birthday. It shows the Russian president battling a seven-headed sanctions hydra.

There’s a town in South Africa that still practices apartheid. Meet the Oranians.

Start-ups don’t always spend their money wisely. Consider this office with an octagonal cage-fighting ring (paywall).

A Japanese zoo spent two years trying to get a hyena couple to mate. It finally realized they were both male.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Putin-as-Hercules paintings, and “When Doves Cry” bootlegs to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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