Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—World leader visits, China’s poor manufacturing, lethal selfies

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What to watch for today

Xi Jinping talks tech. The Chinese president will attend a round table hosted by the Paulson Institute in Seattle, alongside Alibaba boss Jack Ma, China’s internet regulator Lu Wei, and US tech executives. Expect cybersecurity to come up.

Pope Francis visits the White House. Yesterday, the pontifex landed in Washington, DC and met president Barack Obama. Today, he’s due for a chat in the Oval Office before greeting a diverse (and somewhat contentious) group of dignitaries.

India’s leader goes to Ireland, Turkey’s goes to Moscow. Narendra Modi will meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on his way to the United States, in the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Ireland in 60 years. Meanwhile, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the opening of a new mosque in Moscow, along with Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas; they are expected to talk about the war in Syria with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Fashion Week moves from London to Milan. Six days of spring 2016 womenswear shows kick off in the Italian city, beginning with Gucci. The label’s new creative director, Alessandro Michele, has already given Gucci a new romantic, androgynous look and a kangaroo fur-lined loafer that is this season’s “it” shoe.

South Africa releases August inflation data. Consumer prices are expected to have risen by slightly less than the 5% increase seen in July, from a year earlier.

While you were sleeping

China’s manufacturing unexpectedly hit a six-year low. The Caixin/Markit preliminary purchasing managers’ index for September fell to 47 from 47.3 in August—the lowest since 2009 and well below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. That sent shares in Asia tumbling.

Australia’s job market grew. Vacancies for skilled jobs rose by 0.2% in August (paywall), after a 0.1% rise in July, showing a turnaround from four consecutive months of declines earlier. A weak Australian dollar and easing of monetary policy has helped soften the blow of the mining boom ending.

Xi Jinping said China will work with the US on cybercrime. The Chinese president said that China is willing to establish a mechanism to tackle both commercial and governmental cybercrime, adding that China was a victim and not an instigator in hacking attacks. Xi was speaking at a dinner attended by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, on the first day of his US trip.

French natural gas firm Total was accused of price manipulation. The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accused the company of making “uneconomic” losing trades in the natural gas market in order to influence index prices between 2009 and 2012. A spokesperson for Total denied any wrongdoing.

Quartz obsession interlude

Max Nisen on why no one can stop US drug companies from jacking up prices. “Allowing the government to use its massive purchasing power to negotiate with drug makers—one of the most potentially effective parts of Clinton’s proposal—has been a longtime favorite of Democrats. But it has proved pretty much impossible to make law because of the strength of the pharmaceutical lobby, which spends more to influence lawmakers than any other industry, and due to Republican opposition.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Gender-neutral pronouns are here to stay. Using “they” to stand in for the singular “he” or “she” is no grammatical crime.

No carmaker can rule the market for very long. There’s a Pyrrhic quality to the auto world—once companies get on top, they get dumb.

Wi-Fi, not LTE, will be the future of mobile internet in Africa. Wi-Fi isn’t subject to notoriously fiddly government regulations.

Stop treating Pope Francis like a politician. He’s not a progressive or a liberal, he’s a priest.

Any cyber deal between China and the US will be vague and useless. But it’s still worth pursuing.

Surprising discoveries

More people have died from taking selfies than shark attacks this year. So far, no one has fatally combined the two.

You can now print your own pound of human flesh. The $10,000 BioBot 3D printer could shorten transplant waiting lists.

A Bayern Munich player scored five goals in nine minutes. Robert Lewandowski’s first three were in four minutes.

A Polish town fooled the Nazis with a fake typhus epidemic. Doctors in Rozwadów produced hundreds of false tests to scare the Germans away.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, shark selfies, and tips on gender-neutral writing to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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