Quartz Daily Brief—Financial war games, Ebola in the US, Facebook crawlers, French wealth taxes

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What to watch for today

Let’s play “Global Financial Crisis.” The US and UK will hold the first transatlantic war game simulating a meltdown (paywall) at a large American or British bank. Senior officials and representatives from big banks will gather to plot out who would have to talk to whom. War games are more often used to prepare for terror or military situations.

China and Russia poised to sign gas deal. Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation have agreed to a $400 billion contract for gas delivery to China along “the eastern route”—that is, the the trunk gas pipeline Power of Siberia—for the next 30 years; trade officials are almost ready to sign the deal.

Global economic data. In Asia, look for new trade balance data from China and the latest inflation figures from India. Meanwhile, in the West, a Federal Reserve official speaks in Indianapolis while a European Central Bank member gives his perspective on the euro zone in Munich.

The WTO tries to be useful for once. The World Trade Organization is beginning talks on how to “circumvent” one of its founding principles: that all decisions should be made by consensus. The WTO has not signed an agreement in 20 years, and the emerging world is not interested in any attempt to force deals through past it amid the stalemate.

Over the weekend

Anti-transatlantic trade protests took place. Demonstrations in major cities and towns took place in 24 European countries over free trade talks between the US and the European Union, which began last year. One controversial provision in the trade talks being suggested that has riled up the masses: enabling foreign investors to sue a host government if they are hit by a change in policy.

Ebola is transmitted in the US. A healthcare worker in Texas who treated the first man to die of Ebola there, Thomas Eric Duncan, appears to also be infected—the first known transmission on American soil. The infection apparently resulted from a breach of safety protocol, say US authorities, and other cases could follow. More than 4,000 people have died from the disease now, mostly in West Africa.

300,000 evacuated in Eastern India. Parts of the states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh were cleared of people as Cyclone Hudhud passed the area. “I have never seen this much rain in my entire life,” one woman said. In general, fewer people are dying from such events as Indian officials are better prepared with each passing year.

Hong Kong protestors appealed to Xi. The two largest student groups that have led the protests—now entering their third week—appealed to the Chinese president in an open letter to reverse the decision not to have democratic elections on the future leader of the city. Hong Kong’s leader rejected the request outright.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on Profile Engine, the “spammy” Facebook crawler hated by people who want to be forgotten. “In 2008, Profile Engine acquired the rights to crawl through the back-end of Facebook and go through its user data. Profile Engine was originally a search for Facebook. The deal existed until 2010, when Facebook allegedly shut off access and Profile Engine sued the social network.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

All three rightwing candidates in France are against its wealth tax. But the tax is a vote-winner.

The NSA has a bigger leak problem. The new Snowden documentary confirms a more senior whistleblower.

You need to disconnect and spend more time with your kids. And you can use tech to do so.

End the US embargo on Cuba. So says the New York Times’s editorial board.

Surprising discoveries

Roughly 100 evil geniuses exist. That’s what the head of Europol’s Cybercrime unit says.

The marathon world record hasn’t changed since 1988. It is stuck at 2:06:50.

You can be arrested in Belarus for using foul language. Especially if it is directed towards Vladimir Putin.

The US is becoming a nation of immigrants again. Newcomers are mainly Asians this time.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, French tax bills, and open letters to be ignored by the Chinese president to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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