Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—iPhone malware, Germany’s factory funk, China’s ivory smuggling, Starbucks bans bling

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What to watch for today

The plan to save Europe. The European Central Bank meets in Frankfurt and may drop hints about stimulus measures to boost the euro zone. The OECD urged the bank to “engage in an expanded program of asset purchases (paywall) that could eventually include government bonds” in an attempt to ward off deflation.

Let’s talk about oil. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister will be at a climate event in Venezuela. He probably wants to discuss what OPEC should do when its members meet on Nov. 27. Oil prices hit a three-year low this week after the Saudis decided to charge the Americans less.

Disney freezes out the competition. The media giant’s smash hit ”Frozen” is still paying off, theme park attendance is up, and the company is less dependent on the slumping TV advertising market than its peers. Analysts expect fiscal fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.88 (paywall), from $0.77 a year earlier.

Germany becomes a little less punctual. The German train drivers’ union begins a four-day strike, its longest ever. The union’s 20,000 drivers want a 5% pay raise and shorter working hours; an estimated 30% of trains will still run on time.

The Bank of England doesn’t make a fuss. The UK’s central bank will most likely leave its benchmark interest rate at 0.5%, where it’s been stuck since early 2009.

While you were sleeping

iPhones got their first real malware. WireLurker is being disseminated through a third-party Chinese app store and has been downloaded more than 350,000 times, according to security firm Palo Alto Networks. The malware, which appears to be a work in progress, first infects Mac computers before being spread to iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad.

Germany edged closer to recession… German industrial orders rose only 0.8% in September, below an expected 2.3% rise, adding to fears that the euro zone’s biggest economy might slip into recession.

…And Siemens stagnated. The German engineering conglomerate reported flat fourth-quarter revenue of €20.62 billion ($25.8 billion), and said sales were unlikely to improve next year (paywall).

China was accused of smuggling ivory on its presidential plane. The nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency issued a report claiming that Chinese diplomats bought up huge quantities of illegal ivory during president Xi Jinping’s state visit to Tanzania last year.

The US targeted Putin’s inner circle. Prosecutors are investigating whether Gennady Timchenko, who has close connections to state oil company Rosneft, used the US financial system to transfer funds for allegedly corrupt deals (paywall). The investigation is an escalation of US pressure on Russian president Vladimir Putin, after it sanctioned Timchenko and others in his circle earlier this year.

Australian employment got a bump—but will it last? Officials estimated that 24,100 jobs were created in October and that the unemployment rate was steady at 6.2%. But just two days ago, September jobs figures were revised down by 24,400, and August’s estimated 121,000 job additions was revised to only 32,100.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jeff Yang on an individual’s right to die. “In an ideal world, the conversation around what to do when life is coming to an end would happen in an unsensational, rhetoric-free environment, but our media sadly has little interest in addressing difficult topics unless their standards are being carried by individuals who are perceived as martyrs (Maynard) or monsters (Dr. Kevorkian).” Read more here.

Matters of debate

You should job-hop through your 20s. You’ll be happier and will also earn more in your 30s and 40s.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s silence is appalling. The Burmese Nobel laureate appears to be letting politics trump human rights.

De-radicalizing extremists means treating them with respect. That means finding them education, work, and even a wife.

Space tourism isn’t worth dying for. The pilot in Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crash lost his life for “a millionaire boondoggle thrill ride.”

Catalonia has a good reason to want independence. Spain is corrupt to the bone.

Surprising discoveries

Global warming is causing a shortage of beach sand. That’s caused a “sand rush” among miners in the Midwest.

A highway to hell? AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been charged with attempting to arrange a murder in New Zealand.

Starbucks banned barista engagement rings. Along with face tattoos and “unnaturally colored hair.”

Space travel can be hazardous to your mental health. High-altitude pilots are at risk of “break-off,” a dissociative mental anomaly. 

The shorter NBA referees are, the more fouls they call. Is the Napoleon complex to blame (paywall), or just a different vantage?

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, surplus beach sand, and low-angle NBA fouls to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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