What to watch for today
Japan is battered by the year’s strongest storm. Authorities are on alert for flash floods and landslides as typhoon Vongfong drifts further into the Japanese mainland. Thirty people have already been injured as winds gusted to 175 kph (109 mph), while hundreds of thousands have been evacuated and flights have been canceled.
Let’s play “Global Financial Crisis.” The US and UK will hold the first transatlantic war game to simulate a meltdown (paywall) at a large American or British bank. Senior officials and representatives from big banks will gather in Washington DC to plot out how to handle the crisis and inform the public. War games are more often used to prepare for terror or military situations.
China and Russia could sign a gas deal. Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation have agreed on a $400 billion deal for gas delivery to China along “the eastern route”—that is, the trunk gas pipeline Power of Siberia—for the next 30 years; Russian trade officials say the deal could be inked today.
The WTO tries to make itself useful. 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 a new trade agreement in 20 years, which has turned off developing nations.
Over the weekend
China’s trade levels got a boost. Exports grew 15.3% in September from a year earlier and imports rose 7%, compared with expectations of a 12% rise and a 2% decline respectively. A rise in exports could help China weather a property-induced domestic slowdown.
Ebola was transmitted in the US. A healthcare worker in Texas, who treated the first man to die there of Ebola, was infected—the first known transmission on American soil. The infection apparently resulted from a breach of safety protocol, US authorities say, and other cases could follow. More than 4,000 people have died from the disease now, mostly in West Africa.
A staring match in Kobani. Islamic State militants seized control of more of the Syrian border town, which Turkey’s parliament said could be lost to extremists within days. What happens in Kobani will not define a US-led coalition’s strategy, US secretary of state John Kerry said. The strategy could involve more drone strikes against IS (paywall).
Europeans pushed back over US trade links. Demonstrators gathered in major cities and towns across Europe to protest free trade talks between the US and the European Union, which began last year. One controversial provision that has riled the masses allows foreign investors to sue a host government if they are hit by a change in policy.
A St. Louis protest ended in arrests. Police in riot gear arrested at least 17 people who gathered for a spontaneous sit-in at a convenience store to protest the killing of a black teenager last week by a white police officer. Rallies also took place in nearby Ferguson to criticize police accountability after the killing of another black teenager there in August.
A huge cyclone battered Eastern India. Over 400,000 people were evacuated from parts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh as Cyclone Hudhud passed the area, and at least eight were killed. The death tolls from such storms is dropping as Indian officials prepare more effectively for extreme weather.
Hong Kong protestors appealed to Xi Jinping. 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 a decision not to allow full democratic elections. 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
Asia needs to do more to prevent the spread of Ebola. It wouldn’t hurt some countries’ aspirations to be a global leader.
The NSA has a bigger leak problem. A new Snowden documentary confirms there is a more senior whistleblower.
You need to disconnect and spend more time with your kids. And you can use tech to do so.
The intelligence community needs more creatives. They would be better than traditional analysts at predicting a more complex world.
The reading level of US presidential speeches is falling. Either presidents are trying to appeal to a broader voter base, or they’re getting dumber.
Software can now detect your emotional state through your typing style. That means we’re another step closer to achieving emotional AI.
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.
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