Quartz Daily Brief—US fraud fail, Apple’s euro bond, Xiaomi’s mega-funding, Chinese cremation quotas

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What to watch for today

Ukraine’s new separatist government. Alexander Zakharchenko will be inaugurated as the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic after winning an election that Ukraine said was illegal. Germany threatened Moscow with further sanctions for supporting the vote.

Europe tightens its control over banks. The continent’s 120 biggest institutions start reporting to Brussels under a new unified regulatory system. France’s Daniele Nouy will be in charge, and her first order of business will be making sure the 25 banks that failed the ECB’s stress test get back in shape.

Google plays catch-up in the cloud. The US search giant will detail how it plans to challenge Amazon’s dominance (paywall) of the cloud storage industry. High switching costs could make it difficult to close the gap.

America’s balance of power shifts. Midterm elections will likely see Republicans winning enough seats to take control of Senate, and consolidate their hold on the House. Vice president Joe Biden is putting on a brave face, but Republicans are already celebrating victory.

Alibaba’s first earnings as a public company. The Chinese tech conglomerate broke IPO records in September despite an opaque structure that holds investors at arm’s length; the company’s shares are about 45% above their offer price. Also reporting: Activision Blizzard, Burger King, Office Depot, Tesco, Time, TripAdvisor, and Twenty-First Century Fox. As for economic data: US factory orders and trade balance for September are due, along with Brazil’s industrial output.

While you were sleeping

The US is probing JPMorgan, again. The justice department opened a criminal investigation into the bank’s  foreign-exchange trading activities. JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, said settlement talks are underway, and increased its loss estimates for legal proceedings from $4.6 billion to $5.9 billion.

A major setback for the US tax fraud crackdown. A Florida jury found a former top UBS banker not guilty on charges that he conspired to help wealthy Americans hide $20 billion in offshore accounts. US authorities have spent six years trying to prosecute Raoul Weil, the highest-ranking Swiss banker to stand trial in the United States.

Australia lost 24,400 jobs. A revision to September’s employment data pushed the unemployment rate to 6.2%, from 6.1% the previous month. The Reserve Bank of Australia chose to keep its benchmark interest rate at 2.5%, after inflation and property demand cooled.

Apple mulled a euro bond. Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are reportedly arranging what could be the company’s first non-dollar bond sale (paywall). A euro issuance could be cheaper for Apple and may also help the tech giant avoid repatriation taxes on some of the money it has stashed in foreign subsidiaries.

Xiaomi is going fundraising. The world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer is reportedly planning to raise a new round of investment that would value the company at between $40 billion and $50 billion, according to Bloomberg. The company’s previous round, in August 2013, valued Xiaomi at only $10 billion.

The US fined Korean car makers for polluting. Kia and Hyundai understated the CO2 emissions of some of their cars by about 4.75 million tonnes—equivalent to a year’s emissions from a million cars. The companies’ $100 million fine—plus the forfeiture of $200 million in greenhouse gas emissions credits—is the biggest penalty in the history of the US Clean Air Act.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on the unspoken xenophobia of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement. “The pro-democracy demonstrations, triggered by China’s limits on the city’s first direct elections in 2017, carry a hidden edge that most protesters and supporters have tried to downplay: the deep and growing resentment toward millions of mainland Chinese immigrants and tourists, seen by many Hong Kongers as invaders who are irrevocably changing their city for the worse.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Media startups are heading for a correction. The era of “cheap tricks for clicks” is coming to an end.

Living your public life online isn’t worth it. Nothing is worth the amount of abuse you’ll get.

We need to eat bugs to solve world hunger. Marketing them will be tricky, however.

Dehumanizing others is the essence of evil. But you don’t have to be a monster—you just have to be human.

Surprising discoveries

There’s an equation to describe hipsters. It explains why trying to look different often has the opposite effect.

There’s science to why hipsters dress the same. They’re not gauging trends fast enough.

ISIL has a cookbook. It’s for women’s eyes only, and contains a recipe for date mush—to eat “during a break in battle.”

A pianist tried to take down a bad review. That’s stretching Europe’s “right-to-be-forgotten” rule a little too far.

China has monthly cremation quotas. Officials were recently caught buying corpses from grave robbers to hit their targets.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, date recipes, and hipster equations to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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