Quartz Daily Brief—Euro deflation worries, DreamWorks-Hasbro tie-up, African Ebola trial, vending machine salads

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What to watch for today

The West discusses more sanctions against Russia. Representatives from all 28 EU member states and the US will meet in Brussels to discuss new penalties against Russian individuals or companies. Tanks, artillery, and anti-aircraft equipment has been seen moving from Russia to Ukraine in recent days.

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 has 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

Fifa cleared Qatar (and itself) of corruption. The global football body’s internal ethics commission dismissed allegations that Qatar paid bribes to host the 2022 World Cup championships. Fifa instead pointed the finger at the English football association with a claim that it had damaged ”the image of Fifa and the bidding process“ for the 2018 World Cup, which was awarded to Russia.

Three Ebola trials got the go-ahead in West Africa. Medicins Sans Frontieres will test the use of two antiviral drugs and blood from recovered Ebola patients in Guinea and another unconfirmed location, with the aim of increasing patients’ survival rate during the critical first 14 days of infection. More than 14,000 people are estimated to be infected by Ebola and over 5,000 have died.

A host of bad news on China’s economy. Factory production rose by a less-than-expected 7.7% in October, retail sales and fixed-asset investment grew at their slowest pace since 2001 in the first 10 months of the year, and the value of property sales fell by 7.9% compared to a year earlier. The government has so far rejected broad stimulus measures, but the pressure to roll some out keeps on building.

A worrying outlook for the euro zone. The European Central Bank’s quarterly survey of analysts made for uncomfortable reading, as most forecasters revised down their outlooks for inflation for the next two years, suggesting that the ECB won’t dispel fears of deflation any time soon.

DreamWorks Animation is in tie-up 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.

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).

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

Kim Kardashian is the world’s best marketer. Just one of her projects is estimated to be earning her $700,000 a day.

Smart weapons are problematic. The US already has missiles that choose their own targets.

More men should get snipped. Vasectomies are cheaper and safer than female sterilization, so why don’t more men get them?

Smartphones might be a danger to kids. They’re more likely to have accidents when their parents are staring at screens.

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

Surprising discoveries

Microsoft fixed a 19-year-old bug. It allowed hackers to remotely control other peoples’ computers, and it’s been present since Windows 95.

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 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.

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 feline-human reconciliations to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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