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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Japan’s recession worsens, 2050 oil ban, India Uber rape, Russian prison comedians

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Euro zone budgets get a once-over. Finance ministers meet in Brussels to discuss their 2015 draft budgets. France and Italy have missed their deficit targets so far, and Germany’s Angela Merkel has pressed them for more reforms in return a deadline extension.

A closer look at donuts and burgers. Krispy Kreme’s third-quarter results will give investors a peek into the tactics of the donut company’s new CEO (paywall), who recently joined from Papa John’s Pizza. Separately, McDonalds will indicate whether it is drawing more health-conscious diners to its restaurants as it reports same-store sales.

Remember Bernie Madoff? Five of his associates will be sentenced for helping the imprisoned financier steal more than $17 billion in the biggest Ponzi scheme in US history.

Prince William meets Barack Obama. The second-in-line to the British throne will meet the US president at the White House before speaking at the World Bank on global wildlife trafficking. William’s wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is staying behind in New York.

Over the weekend

Japan’s recession is even worse than expected. Third-quarter GDP shrank by an annualized 1.9%, compared with a preliminary finding of a 1.6% fall. Normally, such news would hurt prime minister Shinzo Abe, who is seeking reelection on the basis of his economic policies, but with the opposition in disarray Abe looks likely to remain in power until 2018.

Syria accused Israel of conducting air raids near Damascus. The Syrian army claims the targets were near the capital’s main airport and a nearby town. No casualties have been reported, and an Israeli army spokesman declined to comment.

A UN climate group mulled an end to oil and gas by 2050. Negotiators in Lima discussed phasing out the use of fossil fuels entirely, or restricting their use to countries with zero net emissions (paywall). Ministers are meeting ahead of a summit of world leaders next year in Paris.

An ex-Apple exec was imprisoned for stealing iPhone secrets. Paul Devine, Apple’s global supply manager between 2005 and 2010, was convicted of selling inside information to iPhone suppliers. Devine was also ordered to repay Apple $4.5 million.

North Korea suggested its sympathizers hacked Sony. The country praised the theft and distribution of previously unreleased Sony Pictures movies as a “righteous deed,” and warned that hackers loyal to North Korea are to be found worldwide. Pyongyang denied having a direct role in the attack.

A US raid in Yemen ended tragically. The US led a raid on a site in southern Yemen in which it says it killed nine al-Qaeda fighters. Eight civilians were also killed in the attack and two hostages—American photojournalist Luke Somers and South African teacher Pierre Korkie—were killed by their kidnappers.

An Uber driver was arrested for rape in India. Police said the suspect was arrested after a 27-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and beaten after booking an Uber ride on Friday night. Authorities said they would also take legal action against the controversial car service company for failing to run a background check on the driver.

Bird flu spreads in Canada. A fifth poultry farm in British Columbia has been quarantined (paywall) after testing indicated the H5 strain of the deadly virus. Some 80,000 birds in the first four farms are being culled; this latest farm has 60,000 birds. The US and other nations have already banned any imports from the province.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on the underdogs trying to convince Americans of the charms of snooker. “Quartz visited the National Snooker Championship, the most prestigious event in US snooker, which took place in the Top 147 Snooker Club, behind an unmarked door in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The players were dressed in the standard outfit for the sport of snooker—a shirt, waistcoat and bow tie.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

God will never die. We turn to religion because science can never satisfy our thirst for knowledge.

Detoxing is bullshit. Your body already detoxifies all the time, and there’s no known way to improve on that.

We should trust our future robot overlords. It’s safer than trusting humans alone.

More than half of web ads are useless. Google says they’re unseen by human eyes.

The Eiffel Tower was once considered “useless and monstrous.” Maybe history will be as kind to One World Trade Center.

Surprising discoveries

Your smartphone is more powerful than Orion’s processors. NASA has a habit of using decade-old technology.

Russian prison guards are told to tell more jokes. “You can’t base relations on fear and submission alone,” says one researcher.

Paris wants to ban diesel cars by 2020. And only allow essential cars on the weekend.

Old laptop batteries could light the slums. IBM says your laptop leftovers could power cheap LED lights.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, snooker cues, and leftover laptop batteries to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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