Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Yahoo scrapes along, Total’s new CEO, North Korean generosity, bears hate computers

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What to watch for today

Inside the Bank of England. Earlier this month, the BoE decided to keep interest rates at 0.5%. The minutes from the meeting at which that decision was made come out today and may show there was fierce disagreement—yet again—over the benchmark.

Total selects a new CEO. The French oil major will hold an emergency board meeting to decide on a new chief executive, the Wall Street Journal reports (paywall), after Christophe de Margerie was killed in a Moscow plane crash. Philippe Boisseau, head of marketing and new energy operations, is a top contenders.

GlaxoSmithKline investors hold their breath. The drug maker reduced its annual sales and profit forecast in July because of poor sales of inhalers in the US. In third quarter results, analysts will be keen to hear how the company’s latest respiratory drugs—Breo Ellipta and Anoro Ellipta—are doing. 

Boeing may take off. The airplane maker has surprised investors in the past with positive numbers, so the same is expected today. It’s already said that it delivered 186 commercial jets in the third quarter, up 9.4% from a year ago. Trouble is, an over-budget Air Force contract may force Boeing to swallow $1 billion in excess costs.

European banks pay their dues. The European Central Bank is scheduled to receive €5.8 billion ($7.4 billion) from banks that took out crisis loans. Reuters says it may use the money to buy corporate bonds as early as this year.

America reports. The US Labor Department is expected to report a 1.6% annual increase in consumer prices in September and the Energy Information Administration will provide an update on the number of barrels of oil the US has stockpiled.

While you were sleeping

ISIL may have US-dropped weapons. The US military is examining a video uploaded by the extremist group that appears to show its fighters in possession of weapons destined for Kurdish fighters in Kobani. US planes airdropped weapons and ammunition on Monday; a Pentagon spokesperson said the majority ended up in the right hands.

Yahoo scraped through the third quarter. The tech giant’s mobile operations boosted results after generating $200 million in revenue in the period. Total revenue excluding partner sites was $1.09 billion—1.5% higher than last year and higher than estimates. But as one analyst put it: “To have 1% growth be better than expected says something about Yahoo at the moment.”

Australian inflation weakened. Third-quarter consumer price inflation rose just 2.3% year-on-year, down from 3% in the previous quarter. While in line with expectations, the lowest rate in a year increases worries that disinflation has reached down under.

Japan’s imports rose. A 6.9% rise in shipments in September compared to a year ago is the highest jump in seven months, and beat estimates—good news for prime minister Shinzo Abe’s economic reforms, as a decision nears on whether to raise Japan’s sales tax again.

Daimler sold its Tesla shares. “Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued,” the German automaker said, but  management seems more interested in the roughly $780 million it will make from selling 4% of Tesla. That is unsurprising, given the Daimler CEO’s bearish attitude (paywall) on Tesla’s battery “gigafactory”.

North Korea freed a US citizen. Jeffrey Fowle is on his way home, though two US citizens remain. He was arrested six months ago for leaving a bible in a restaurant, which the government declared an “anti-state” crime. The two other Americans there are Matthew Todd Miller and Kenneth Bae.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how Elon Musk built a low-budget space-travel company. “SpaceX currently charges $61.2 million per launch… Other providers often charge $250 to $400 million per launch; NASA pays Russia $70 million per astronaut to hitch a ride on its three-person Soyuz spacecraft. SpaceX’s costs are still nowhere near low enough to change the economics of space as Musk and his investors envision, but they have a plan to do so.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’s silly to think China will become like Hong Kong. That is, until its GDP growth starts slowing.

We are adopting governments’ dehumanizing terms. People have become “stock” and a massacre is “mowing the lawn.”

Marissa Mayer is the perfect Yahoo CEO. She’s more than doubled the company’s mobile reach in just two years.

Women should go to Mars. Men weigh more, take up more space, and need more calories to survive.

OPECs days are numbered. Thank shale and the push for renewables (paywall).

There’s another way to prevent Ebola from spreading. Require a special health visa for people from West Africa.

No one knows when single quotes should be used. So stick to double quotes.

Surprising discoveries

A Chicago voter warned Obama not to touch his fiancé. The president kissed her instead.

Audi broke a speed record. It did so without a human driver.

Even your flashlight app is stealing your data. Not all of them, of course, but some.

Poor safety practices lead to amazing discoveries. Artificial sweeteners were created by accident.

Old computers are remarkably useful. Hurling one at a bear can save your life.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unmanned speed records, and old computers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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