Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Twitter disappoints, new NSA leaker, China train merger, rotten-egg comets

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The Fed prepares to close the taps. The US Federal Reserve is convening today and tomorrow and will discuss the end of its quantitative easing asset-purchase program; in July, the Fed said QE would end in October. New data from Germany (and Europe in general) may affect its decision.

Sweden slices rates. Economists expect the country’s central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low of 0.05%, from the current 0.25%. Sweden has had 16 months of deflation (paywall) in the past two years.

Air France jobs fly away. De Telegraaf reports (link in Dutch) that the directors of Air France-KLM will hold a meeting to discuss cost cuts. The group’s 2014 profit, due out Wednesday, could be down as much as half a billion euros ($636 million) due to two weeks of strikes.

Marvel try to delight its fans. The next cinematic installments of Captain America, Iron Man, and other popular franchises may be announced at a ”secret” event in Los Angeles. One rumor: Benedict Cumberbatch will play the lead in Dr Strange.

Earnings galore. Just a few of the companies reporting today: Air China, AMC Entertainment, Corning, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Level 3 Communications, Marriott International, Novartis, Pfizer, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, and UBS.

While you were sleeping

The FBI may have found the NSA’s “second leaker.” Investigators searched the home of a contractor they suspect of leaking a terrorist watch list to Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who worked with Edward Snowden. The list, first reported by Greenwald’s The Intercept, contains the names of  1.2 million people, half of whom had “no recognized terrorist affiliation.”

Twitter quarterly results disappointed. The microblogging service’s closely watched engagement metric—timeline views per user—slid 7%, and active user growth ticked down slightly, sending shares down more than 9%. Third-quarter financial results were roughly in line with expectations, as revenue more than doubled to $361 million.

China will merge its two biggest train makers. CNR and CSR will combine to more effectively compete for international rail contracts, sources told Bloomberg. The merger, ordered by China’s state council, will create a $26 billion company that has recently won contracts to build subway cars for Boston and bullet trains for Macedonia.

T-Mobile dialed up big subscriber numbers. The fourth largest US mobile carrier added a record 1.4 million subscribers in the third quarter and raised its forecast for 2014 subscriber growth. Revenue also rose 10% from last year, but the carrier reported a loss of $0.12 per share, from a profit of $0.05 last year, after closing down a wireless service in Boston and Las Vegas.

Toronto’s mayoral cocaine era came to an end. Conservative John Tory won 40% of the vote to become the city’s new mayor, replacing the crack-smoking Rob Ford, who said he wouldn’t seek reelection in order to battle a rare form of cancer.

The markets voted against Dilma Rousseff. Brazil’s currency and main stock index fell sharply after the incumbent president’s re-election on Sunday, interpreting her narrow victory over the pro-business Aécio Neves as a sign that the country’s economic stagnation will continue.

Quartz obsession interlude

Brian Browdie on the US economy’s relationship with gasoline. “Prices at the pump have dropped 18 cents in the past two weeks, to an average of $3.08 per gallon, their lowest level in four years. That should stimulate the economy, if what’s past is precedent. Every cent the price of gas drops in a year adds $1.4 billion to the economy, according to estimates. But that could be changing…” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The post-Obama era has begun. Democrats have started distancing themselves from the US president.

Millennials are the cheapest generation. Forget big cars and houses—they want small, affordable, and different.

Being an expert hurts your creativity. Too much knowledge makes you close-minded.

Google’s dominance in search is over. It’s time for Larry Page to find a new one-trick pony.

Let’s stop fighting opium in Afghanistan. Almost $8 billion has been wasted so far.

Surprising discoveries

You should gamble on an empty stomach. Research subjects had a better grasp of the odds when they were hungry.

The rate of vasectomies rose during the financial crisis. The wait is on to see if they decline along with economic growth.

Table tennis stars can throw tantrums, too. A Chinese tournament winner was stripped of $45,000 in prize money after he trashed the arena.

Space smells disgusting. The 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet is giving off an odor of rotten eggs and horse pee.

Chocolate reverses memory loss. But only in older people, so put down the candy bar.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, table-tennis tantrums, and interstellar deodorant to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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