Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Obama in Burma, DreamWorks-Hasbro tie-up, Fifa clears Qatar, vending machine salads

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

A possible comet probe glitch. The European Space Agency’s Philae craft touched down yesterday, but scientists won’t find out until today whether it is properly attached to comet 67P. It may have bounced after its harpoons failed to anchor it to the comet’s surface.

Virgin America goes public. Richard Branson’s airline, which began operating in 2007, is expected to raise as much as $320 million on the Nasdaq at a $1 billion valuation. It’s got tough competition: US airlines have posted spectacular third-quarter results.

Barack Obama puts pressure on Burma. The US president visits his counterpart Thein Sein, after telling a local newspaper the country been “backsliding” on democratic reforms.

Earnings from the big W. Walmart, America’s largest retailer and largest employer, is expected to report a 2.3% increase in quarterly sales—though it could do even better given how cheap gasoline has become in the US. The retailer is also switching up its strategy for the holiday season, by making Black Friday a week-long event.

Numbers, numbers, numbers. Stay tuned for weekly US jobless claims, US energy stockpiles, and Russian GDP, which isn’t going to be pretty given the collapse of the ruble and the impact of Western sanctions.

While you were sleeping

DreamWorks Animation is in talks with Hasbro. The studio behind the Shrek film franchise is in merger discussions with toymaker Hasbro, according to a report by Deadline. Hasbro has tried to get into the movie business before, with unfortunate results.

Fifa cleared Qatar, and itself, of corruption. The global football body’s internal ethics commission is scheduled to publish its report into allegations that Qatar bribed Fifa officials to host the 2022 World Cup, and the BBC reports that the verdict will suggest no action is needed.

Goldman Sachs named its new partners. The investment bank bestowed one of the most sought-after titles in finance on 78 executives, including PR boss and former US treasury aide Jake Siewert (paywall). That brings the total to 467, down from 477 in 2012, as the bank tries to limit the number of partners—who receive a $900,000 base salary—in proportion to its rank and file; the promotion round is the bank’s second-smallest in its history (paywall).

Yet another Chinese hack attack. The Washington Post reports that Chinese hackers infiltrated the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, only two days after Chinese operatives hacked into the US postal service to steal information on 800,000 employees.

New York singled out Barclays for special treatment. The state’s financial regulator pulled out of a settlement that included the US and UK governments and five other banks so it could pursue a more severe punishment for the British bank, according to Bloomberg. Barclays was noticeably absent (paywall) from yesterday’s multibillion-dollar currency-rigging announcement.

South Korea held steady. The Bank of Korea kept its benchmark interest rate at 2% after cutting it twice in the last three months, and said it’s not likely to make further cuts until the middle of next year (paywall).

Ebola deaths passed 5,000. The rate of new infections is decreasing in Guinea and Liberia, but it still remains high in Sierra Leone, where hundreds of health workers went on strike to demand $100 a week in hazard pay. An estimated 14,000 are infected with the disease.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on what bra sizes reveal about shopping behavior. “Women who bought larger bra sizes also tended to spend more (link in Chinese)… Singles Day—the annual Nov 11 online shopping frenzy in which Alibaba saw as many as 2.85 million transactions a minute at its peak, and a total of $9.3 billion in sales—was both a test of, and a testament to, the company’s data-mining prowess.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Intelligent weapons are immoral. The US already has missiles that choose their own targets.

No one benefited from the Arab Spring. Scores of people died for what seems to be no reason.

Afghanistan ought to be a rich country. It has large mineral deposits, but it needs the world’s help to extract them sensibly.

Parental smartphones might be a danger to kids. They’re more likely to have accidents when parents are distracted.

Vending machine salads are the antidotes to food deserts. People will eat healthy foods it they’re convenient.

Surprising discoveries

Taking notes can be detrimental to your memory. Your brain knows it doesn’t have to remember the things you’ve written down.

Intel is backing a 13-year-old startup entrepreneur. He invented a Braile printer made out of Legos.

You can now buy an exoskeleton in Japan. It helps elderly people pick up heavy objects, and costs ¥600,000 ($5,190).

Cats will never be man’s best friend. Their genes show they’re only semi-domesticated.

A soccer player’s face is a dead giveaway. Players with wider faces are likely to score more goals.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, not-too-smart bombs, and soccer phrenology theories to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.