Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Russia vs. McDonald’s, IBM chip giveaway, Abe’s cabinet resignations, American pumpkin riot

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What to watch for today

Apple earnings and Pay. The company releases its latest quarterly results after the close of US trading, and analysts expect a 12% increase in iPhone sales, an 8% decline in iPad sales, and a strong forecast for the holiday period. The Apple Pay e-payments system will also launch in the United States, with partners including Chase and Citibank.

China considers the rule of law. The annual gathering of Communist party leaders will discuss the country’s anti-corruption drive (paywall), the fate of former petroleum and security chief Zhou Yongkang, and a possible military reshuffle. While the so-called “fourth plenum” will largely serve as a rubber-stamp for policies put forward by president Xi Jinping, the agenda suggest Chinese leaders may actually be considering how to improve governance (paywall).

Obama looks to contain Ebola. The US president is preparing to ask Congress for more funds to deal with a local outbreak of the disease, which could be a politically-loaded move before the US midterm elections. In Texas, most of the people who had contact with the Liberian man who died of Ebola have been told they are no longer at risk.

Halliburton rides the new oil wave. Analysts expect strong earnings growth from the one of the world’s largest oilfield services providers, thanks to a North American oil boom. The real question is: how will low oil prices affect its performance for the rest of the year?

Sweden is hunting for a suspected Russian submarine. Military officials say they are sweeping the seas around Stockholm based on reports of “foreign undersea activity.”

Over the weekend

Russia went to war with McDonald’s. Almost half of the 450 McDonald’s restaurants in Russia have been hit with either finance or hygiene probes, according to a statement from the company. The harassment began in August, apparently in a tit-for-tat move following Western sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

A bid for Reebok kicks off. A consortium of investors from Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi will offer $2.2 billion to buy the athletic goods maker from Adidas (paywall), which acquired the company eight years ago for €3 billion ($3.8 billion), sources told the Wall Street Journal. Jynwel Capital and its partners will argue that Reebok would fare better as an independent company, echoing the rationale behind a recent wave of corporate divestitures and split-ups.

IBM couldn’t even give its chip business away. Big Blue agreed to pay GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take a money-losing chip manufacturing unit off its hands, sources told Bloomberg. IBM will get $200 million in assets to defray the costs, along with crucial processors from GlobalFoundries under a 10-year contract.

The US airdropped weapons in Kobani. The US military said the weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq. Turkey, which is reluctant to support Kurdish fighters, was notified of the drop beforehand.

“Outside forces” were blamed for Hong Kong protests. Chief executive CY Leung blamed “participation by people [and] organizations from outside of Hong Kong“ for demonstrations that have entered their fourth week. The New York Times reported last week that the Hong Kong government’s response has largely been directed by Beijing officials in a mainland luxury resort.

Joko Widodo was sworn in as Indonesia’s president. The 53-year-old is the country’s first leader to come from outside the country’s military or political elite. Two-thirds of parliament is still controlled by an opposition coalition.

China Mobile’s income fell for the fifth straight quarter. The world’s largest mobile carrier’s profit dropped 15% to a lower-than-expected 24.2 billion yuan ($4 billion). Internet-based messaging apps like WeChat meant customers spent less on calls and texts, and the company spent more to attract new subscribers to its 4G network.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tamar Jacoby on why Germany is so much better at training its workers. “The first thing you notice about German apprenticeships: The employer and the employee still respect practical work. German firms don’t view dual training as something for struggling students or at-risk youth.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Museums are diplomatic tools. They can aid revolutions and bridge unfamiliar cultures.

Seven is the magic number for business meetings. Each additional person cuts decision-making by 10%.

The euro zone’s woes are everybody’s woes. The EU is the world’s most important economic market.

Deserted islands may lose the rights to their territorial waters. Climate change strikes again.

Surprising discoveries

Hermės’ $20,000 Birkin bags smell like marijuana. The company blames the customer complaints on “badly tanned” leather.

A New Hampshire pumpkin festival ended in a riot. Student “revelers” overturned a car and caused extensive damage.

Ford is installing heart attack sensors. They will bring the car safely to a stop if the driver is incapacitated (paywall).

2014 does not have any platinum-selling artists. Top-selling artists Beyonce and Lorde are nowhere close (though the soundtrack for “Frozen” has sold well over a million copies).

Now you can live in a Muji store. Or at least a pre-fab $180,000 house designed to look like one.

The Scrabble dictionary is getting an update. Players are really blanking unhappy about it.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pumpkin-proof riot gear, and Muji home blueprints to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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