Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US elections, Apple’s euro bonds, Alibaba earnings, undercover penguin robot

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What to watch for today

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

Apple gears up to sell euro bonds. Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs are reportedly arranging the company’s first non-dollar bond sale, which will allow Apple to tap a new investor base and pay lower interest rates. Apple has $155 billion in cash reserves, but has opted to raise funds via bonds to avoid paying taxes on overseas holdings.

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 post-IPO earnings. 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, 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

Sprint was a headache for Softbank. Problems at the US wireless carrier have led Softbank to cut its fiscal 2015 operating profit forecast to 900 billion yen ($7.9 billion), from 1 trillion yen earlier. Softbank bought Sprint for $22 billion last year (paywall) but the carrier has been losing customers fast, and talks to combine the firm with T-Mobile US fell apart recently.

Banco Santander rode the Spanish recovery. The Spanish bank’s third-quarter net profit rose 52% on the year to €1.6 billion ($2 billion), while provisions for delinquent and defaulted loans fell 8% in the period to €2.78 billion. In Spain, profits more than doubled (paywall) in the first nine months of the year.

The EU cut its euro-area growth forecast. The European Commission said growth in the currency bloc will be just 0.8% in 2014 and 1.1% in 2015, down from projections in May of 1.2% and 1.7%, respectively.

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.

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 also announced that it is investing $1 billion in original content for its smart TV device.

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

Coal is the “foundation of our prosperity.” Australian prime minister Tony Abbott is not a fan of the UN’s call to limit fossil fuels.

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 makes up for 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. Being a monster may just be part of being human.

Surprising discoveries

A cute penguin robot is roaming Antarctica. It goes undercover to research adult penguins.

There’s science to why hipsters dress the same. Trying to look different often has the opposite effect.

ISIL has a cookbook. Date mush is ideal to eat “during a break in battle.”

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

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