Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Emmanuel Macron’s proposal. The French economic minister unveils details of a plan that the European Union hopes will bring France’s budget deficit in line with the EU-mandated maximum: 3% of GDP. Parliament won’t vote on the plan until January, so it’s being speculated that publishing it this early is merely a stab at setting expectations.
Iran’s hot potato. US vice president John Kerry meets Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna to discuss Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran says it doesn’t want to make weapons, but the rest of the world doesn’t believe it.
America’s shrinking budget deficit. The US Treasury Department releases data that is likely to show the country’s deficit has decreased for the fifth straight year. Sadly, it doesn’t look as though the US will manage a six-year streak—not with spending on entitlement programs expected to rise and the Federal Reserve prepared to raise interest rates next year.
Data, data, and more data. Figures to look out for: Chinese inflation, German inflation, the UK job market, US retail sales, and Japanese industrial production.
Earnings, earnings, and more earnings. American Express, Bank of America, BlackRock, eBay, and Netflix are among the big US companies scheduled to report their quarterly results.
While you were sleeping
Ireland closed a giant tax loophole. One of the world’s most favorable corporate tax rules—enjoyed by the likes of Apple, Google, and Facebook—will stop being offered in 2015 and disappear altogether in 2020. The “Double Irish,” as it’s called, lets Irish subsidiaries divert certain revenue streams to subsidiaries in tax havens such as Bermuda to avoid levies. But accountants will find their way around this.
Mark Zuckerberg made a donation. The billionaire announced he’s giving $25 million to the US Centers for Disease Control to use in their fight against Ebola. On a related note, the World Health Organization updated the Ebola death toll figure to 4,447.
Citibank decided to stop banking consumers in 11 markets. The company decided that it needs to trim down more and focus on markets where it has the strongest footholds.
Oil prices hit a new low. After the International Energy Agency reduced its estimates for oil consumption for the fourth time this year, the price of US crude oil fell to $83.64. Prices may very well dip below $80 before OPEC’s next meeting, which is still more than a month away.
Gaza began rebuilding. Israel let in a shipment of building materials under a “pilot” initiative. It’s concerned that Hamas will use said materials to build up its military might. Just a few days ago, donors pledged $5.4 billion to the Palestinian government—$1.4 billion more than was sought—to reconstruct what Israel destroyed.
Quartz obsession interlude
Jenni Avins on tech companies paying women to delay starting a family. “By helping to give women the choice of putting their biological clocks on the back burner, these companies would seem to be on the forefront of female empowerment. But perhaps equally empowering, if not more so, would be a the creation of career tracks that are more amenable to parenthood (and motherhood in particular), along with more generous policies regarding parental leave and childcare.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Americans are addicted to extreme sports. Because in order to balance out their painfully boring jobs, they need to CrossFit until they’re limping.
Atheists are making the same mistake over and over again. Morals and traditions are a product not of religion, but of culture.
Obama isn’t scary enough. He’s trying too hard to be liked—and it’s hurting his ability to get things done.
Women don’t get raises because they don’t speak up. As long as men are convinced there isn’t a problem, changes won’t be made.
Hong Kong’s protestors need to go home. Without any long-term goals and a strategy, all they’re doing is taking up space.
India is as progressive as Europe on cosmetics imports. Makeup tested on animals will be banned from entering the country next month.
Knowing two languages improves your ability to focus. Researchers say bilingual students are better at tuning out distractions.
South Korea is in a childbearing funk. Spending on programs encouraging couples to have children is up sevenfold since 2006, but the birthrate continues to drop.
Online friends are meeting in real life. Some 36% of UK teenagers say they’ve gotten together with someone they first met over the internet.
The first case of Google Glass addiction has been diagnosed. When the patient sleeps, he sees life through the small screen.
Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.