Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Republican midterm surge, DC legalizes it, Europe’s malaise deepens, Germany discovers burgers

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What to watch for today

African leaders try to talk sense to Burkina Faso. The presidents of Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal will meet with the country’s military leaders to urge a transfer of power to a civilian government. The African Union said Burkina Faso’s army will face sanctions if it doesn’t step aside within two weeks.

John Kerry strolls down the Champs-Élysées. The US secretary of state makes a Paris pit-stop to have a chat with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius to discuss Syria, ISIL, Ukraine, and Iran’s nuclear program. Once that’s over, Kerry will jet to China for economic cooperation talks.

Siemens splits again. The German conglomerate will reportedly spin off its $14 billion healthcare unit into a separate company. Earlier this year, Siemens divested itself of appliances (paywall), hospital IT, microbiology, and security.

Lucrative domain sales. With digital advertising spend on track to surpass TV advertising revenues soon, website addresses such as,, and are expected to fetch millions of pounds at auction in London.

Mixed results from Tesla. The electric carmaker is expected to report break-even third-quarter earnings, down from a $0.12 per share profit last year, and a nearly 50% increase in revenues. Other companies reporting results include: CBS, Chiquita, Qualcomm, Time Warner, and Whole Foods.

While you were sleeping

The GOP seized the US Senate. Republicans won Democrat-held Senate seats in seven states to ensure at least 52 members in the 100-seat chamber, with the outcomes of several races yet to be decided, and expanded their majority in the House of Representatives. The GOP framed the race as a referendum on president Obama, who now faces a Republican-controlled Congress for his last two years in office.

Voters in Washington, DC, and Oregon legalized recreational marijuana. The US capital’s successful referendum allows residents over 21 to grow, possess, and “transfer” cannabis but not to buy or sell it—although a Republican-controlled Congress could still try to block legalization. Oregon’s law is more in line with the less restrictive marijuana laws in Washington state and Colorado.

The euro zone couldn’t shake its malaise. Retail sales were much weaker than expected, falling 1.3% month-on-month, and Markit’s final composite purchasing managers’ index was essentially flat at 52.1 in October, from 52.0 in September.

China’s service sector lost some steam. October’s HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index for the services industry fell to 52.9, from 53.5 in September. China’s service sector is increasingly important to its economy as the manufacturing and property sectors slow.

Asia’s richest man got into leasing planes. Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong holdings will spend $1.9 billion on 35 planes and form a joint venture with Japan’s MC Aviation Partners, which will buy an additional 15 planes. Asia’s rising middle class represents a growth area for airlines.

A weak yen gave Toyota a bump. The Japanese auto maker raised its full-year operating profit forecast by 9.1% to 2.5 trillion yen ($21.9 billion) despite trimming its auto sales target slightly.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on why the US midterm elections won’t change much: “It’s a weirdly fated situation: The most favorable for Republicans since World War II, and in a cycle (the final by-election of a president’s term) that is already stacked against the incumbents. Yet while the senators will be elected for six years, the near-term effect will be little substantive change.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Didn’t vote in the midterms? Rest easy, voting wouldn’t have changed anything.

Banksy is probably a woman. The street artist’s real identity has been masked by prejudice and misdirection.

America is being irrational about Iran. Anger over the 1979 hostage crisis is still affecting US policy.

Everyone will soon be able to buy artificial intelligence. It’ll be just another cloud service, like email and photo backups.

Working parents are more productive than their childless peers. The effect is larger for moms than for dads.

Surprising discoveries

An early version of was about Ebola. The virus was one of founder Pierre Omidyar’s obsessions.

Germany is finally falling in love with the hamburger. The sandwich, whose name is derived from the city of Hamburg, comes full circle.

Women can now be Bollywood make-up artists. India’s Supreme Court has overturned a 59-year-old union ban.

Tripoli’s “naked woman caressing a gazelle” statue is missing. Islamist militants are probably to blame.

Silicon Bay is bigger than Silicon Valley. There are more software developers in the Seattle area than around San Francisco.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, missing Tripolitan statues, and Banksy identity theories to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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