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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Banks’ forex fines, US-China climate pact, Japanese tax delay, comet probe landing

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Touchdown, space rock. Europe’s Rosetta satellite has deployed the Philae probe it’s been carrying in its belly for 10 years and billions of miles. The probe’s landing on the comet affectionally known as 67P is scheduled for around 4pm GMT (11 am ET); there’s a live stream from European Space Agency mission control.

The Bank of England freezes rates for a while longer. Central bank governor Mark Carney is expected to say British interest rates will remain low until mid-2015, while trimming his outlook for both UK growth and inflation.

Earnings from China’s other internet giant. WeChat owner Tencent is expected to show a renewed focus on growing its vast user base when it reports third-quarter results, though it could come at the expense of its mobile game profits.

Under the hood at US department stores. Macy’s investors will want to know whether the holiday season can make up for a poor first-half retail environment as the department store reports its third-quarter earnings. JC Penney is expected to report a third-quarter loss.

The next pumpkin spice latte? Starbucks has been working on a drink for the past three years that it calls the Chestnut Praline Latte. It’ll be the first new holiday drink the company has launched in five years when it launches today. Early reviews say it’s “extremely sweet—overwhelmingly so.”

While you were sleeping

Five banks were fined over alleged currency manipulation. British, Swiss, and US authorities ordered UBS, Citigroup, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, and JPMorgan Chase to pay a total of $3.3 billion to settle an investigation into alleged manipulation of the $5.3 trillion-a-day currency market.

The world’s two biggest polluters signed a climate change pact. The US set a new 2025 emissions-reductions target and China agreed to halt emissions growth by 2030, under a deal signed by Barack Obama and Xi Jinping in Beijing after nine months of secret negotiations. The countries also agreed to a plan to avoid military clashes, and a pact to cut technology tariffs.

Positive news for the UK and the euro zone. Euro zone industrial production rose 0.6% in September from August, missing expectations of a 0.7% rise but welcome nonetheless after August’s 1.8% decline. Separately, UK unemployment fell to 6% in the third quarter, from 7.6% a year earlier.

Japan delayed a contentious sales tax hike. Anticipating weak third-quarter economic data, prime minister Shinzo Abe will postpone the tax increase and call for December elections, Reuters reported, citing local media. The last sales tax hike, from 5% to 8%, contributed to the economy’s sharp contraction in the second quarter.

India’s sterilization death toll climbed. Thirteen women have now died and 60 are hospitalized after a mass sterilization in the state of Chhattisgarh. A single surgeon performed 83 procedures in six hours at a government-sponsored camp—which is unfortunately nothing new for India’s blood-soaked sterilization program.

Burberry reported plush profits. The British luxury brand posted adjusted pre-tax earnings of £152 million ($242 million) in its fiscal first half, up 6% from the same period a year earlier, though it said spending in Russia and China was still weak.

Yahoo spent some of its Alibaba cash. The company paid $640 million in cash for video ad firm BrightRoll, in CEO Marissa Mayer’s first deal since reaping a multibillion-dollar windfall from the Alibaba IPO. Separately, some displeased Yahoo shareholders are reportedly courting AOL boss Tim Armstrong to engineer a merger and run the combined company.

Quartz obsession interlude

Bobby Ghosh on why America shouldn’t rely on Iran’s help. “Obama is hardly the first person to suggest the US and Iran have a common interest in defeating ISIL. Commentators … have argued that Washington and Tehran can and should work together against the legions of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State. Their arguments rest on the premise that Baghdadi’s Sunni-extremist hordes threaten Shia Iran as much as—and possibly more than—they do the US and more generally, the West. Surely the old adage about my-enemy’s-enemy is reason enough to join forces?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Net neutrality isn’t “Obamacare for the internet.” Pay attention, Sen. Ted Cruz: it’s actually about freedom.

American democracy is broken. Congress has a dismal approval rating, but a sky-high incumbent re-election rate.

Women are more important than fetuses. Hypothetical “personhood” shouldn’t take precedence over actual lives.

Germany can handle an impending recession just fine. It knows how to live within its means.

Myanmar needs a different economic model. In a country with almost no infrastructure, the free market alone won’t bring prosperity.

Surprising discoveries

Anti-feminist Ayn Rand is a girl-power icon. A not-quite-accurate quote from “The Fountainhead” is being used as a t-shirt slogan.

Google is teaching robots karate. What could go wrong?

Alibaba’s Jack Ma is not a happy man. Being a gazillionaire is such a strain.

“Not my circus, not my monkey.” That’s how you say “not my problem” in Polish.

Be careful how you ask people to turn off their phones. You might get maced in the face.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, amusing idiomatic expressions, and Ayn Rand apparel to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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