Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Japan expands stimulus, Russia-Ukraine gas deal, Burkina Faso ruler defiant, skinny women’s salaries

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What to watch for today

Europe flirts with deflation. A struggling European Central Bank releases fresh euro zone inflation data, which is expected to show that price increases are squarely in the “danger zone” of less than 1%.

Switzerland takes its Ebola shot. Volunteers in the city of Lausanne will get 800 Swiss francs ($845) to be injected with the leading experimental Ebola vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline is looking for 120 research subjects; 50 have signed up so far.

Russian ruble-rousing. The country’s central bank will likely raise interest rates to 8.5% or higher to bolster its decimated currency. The ruble shot up 5% against the dollar on Thursday in anticipation of the move, but is still worth 20% less than at the start of the year.

Canada runs in place. Analysts expect August GDP to be flat compared with July.

Numbers, numbers, numbers. The quarterly earnings keep pouring in. The biggest fish include: BNP Paribas, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Hilton Hotels.

While you were sleeping

Japan’s central bank expanded its stimulus. The Bank of Japan will purchase bonds worth 80 trillion yen a year ($726 billion), from 60-70 trillion currently, in an unexpected attempt to kickstart the sluggish economy.

Russia signed a gas deal with Ukraine. Russia will supply its adversarial neighbor with 4 billion cubic meters of gas through March in exchange for $4.6 billion, some of which will cover previous gas deliveries. The EU, which also signed the agreement, will provide “unprecedented levels” of aid to help cover the cost.

Starbucks results were lukewarm. A 1% rise in traffic and a 5% rise in same-store sales in the Americas failed to excite investors, who were hoping for a rise of 6.2%. Chief executive Howard Schultz said the popularity of online shopping meant was leading to fewer customers in stores.

Burkina Faso’s president clung to power. Blaise Compaore refused calls to resign amid violent protests and looting in the capital of Ouagadougou. The gold-producing country’s parliament was dissolved by the military, which said Compoare would head an interim government for a year until fresh elections could be held.

Samsung tried to mount a comeback. The Korean smartphone manufacturer released two mid-tier handsets designed to compete with low-cost Chinese competitors. The news comes a day after Samsung posted miserable quarterly financial results, and its smartphone market share lost ground to companies like Xiaomi.

Citigroup faced new probes into its currency trading business. The bank took a new $600 million legal charge against third-quarter earnings, in addition to $951 million in legal expenses it already disclosed, because of “rapidly evolving regulatory inquiries.” Those include a US criminal probe, and early-stage inquiries in the UK and Switzerland.

North Korea quarantined all foreigners over Ebola fears. All non-North Koreans entering Pyongyang will be required to spend three weeks under observation. North Korea has had no reported cases of Ebola.

Quartz obsession interlude

Svati Narula on America’s complicated relationship with sugar. “The American sugar industry is highly protected, with strict quotas and tariffs on imports of the stuff—except for supplies from Mexico, for reasons we’ll get to shortly. The protections have kept domestic sugar prices higher than world prices. The whole affair has been a rare moment of discord in the US-Mexico sweetener trade under the North American Free Trade Agreement.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Child labor shouldn’t be illegal. Bolivia lowered the working age to 10 (paywall) in order to provide more oversight and ensure safer conditions.

Whose side is Turkey on? It has made a series of miscalculations, including months spent supporting jihadist Syrian groups.

Economics advances one funeral at a time. The old guard who railed against quantitative easing will never admit they were wrong.

Gluten isn’t the problem. It’s heavily processed food that our bodies dislike.

Income inequality is helping the left. It’s giving progressives a leg to stand on.

Surprising discoveries

You may have a throat virus that lowers your brainpower. Chlorovirus ATCV-1 is found in 40% of Americans.

Beware fake priests in graveyards. Filipino police warn of fraudulent clerics seeking payment for prayers on All Saints’ Day.

Thin women are paid more. Up to $22,000 a year more than their overweight colleagues.

The Sistine Chapel got a makeover. Michelangelo’s masterpiece now has 7,000 LED lights and a ventilation system.

Minority Report: London. Police are using Accenture software to predict crime.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Sistine Chapel lighting schemes, and brain-boosting viruses to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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