Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—the Pope addresses Congress, Modi in New York, Japan’s centenarian sprinter

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Clues on China from Nike. The sportswear giant is on an earnings hot streak thanks to a turnaround in China, its second-largest market, and to the US “athleisure” fashion trend. Revenue is expected to climb 2.5% to $8.2 billion, but investors will be looking for clues about China’s slowing economy.

Pope Francis addresses US lawmakers. At around 9am ET (2pm BST), he will become the first pontiff to address a joint session of Congress. The pope then travels to New York City to lead evening prayers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

Narendra Modi lands in New York. After a day in Ireland, India’s prime minister is headed to a series of meetings at the United Nations to discuss sustainable development goals for 2015 and security council reforms, and to attend a peacekeeping summit hosted by US president Barack Obama.

Colombia’s president makes a surprise trip to Cuba. Juan Manuel Santos will negotiate a deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after receiving encouragement from Pope Francis, who said the country has a historic chance at peace. One sticking point: how to punish rebel commanders for human rights abuses.

While you were sleeping

Russia plans unilateral airstrikes against ISIL. Russian forces will carry out strikes against the Islamic State terror group whether or not the US accepts Russia’s proposal to join forces, according to Bloomberg. Russia prefers to work with the US, Iran, and the Syrian army, the report states, but the US has so far avoided a tie-up.

The EU pledged more funds for refugees. European Union leaders pledged an additional $1.1 billion to programs to aid countries neighboring Syria and offer help to Syrian refugees in the Middle East, greater assistance for Balkan states, and more funding for border security. But leaders failed to agree on the crucial issue of how the EU’s borders should be controlled.

Japan’s manufacturing sector slowed. The Nikkei/Markit preliminary purchasing managers’ index for September showed a slowdown in growth to 50.9, from 51.7 in August. Any number above 50 signifies expansion. Exports showed the biggest contraction since early 2013, due in large part to lower manufacturing in China.

Wal-Mart demanded supplier discounts. The US retailer has contacted more than 10,000 suppliers that have manufacturing plants in China to request that wholesale prices fall by between 2% and 6%. The demand comes after the Chinese yuan dropped in value; the savings from which, the retailer says, should be passed on to Wal-Mart.

Brazil’s currency hit an all-time low. The Brazilian real fell as low as 4.14 to the US dollar. It has lost more than a third of its value this year, due largely to its reliance on selling commodities to feed a slowing Chinese economy.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how draconian US copyright rules made it easier for Volkswagen to cheat. “A controversial US law governing digital copyright prevents tinkerers from examining or modifying the computer code that controls everything from the engine’s throttle to the brakes, and even the steering … incidents like the hacking of a Jeep’s control system or problems that led some Toyotas to accelerate out of control might have been nipped in the bud if the auto hackers could have seen the code.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It may be too late for Syria. A bombed country can be rebuilt, but an abandoned one can not.

Religious freedom has no place in hospitals. Catholic hospitals that refuse treatment on religious grounds are breaking the Hippocratic oath.

“Dieselgate” is the worst scandal since Enron. Volkswagen’s deception produced 1 million additional tonnes (1.1 million tons) of air pollutants every year.

Leaving the EU would make Britain’s border problems worse. Losing the cooperation of France would increase the flow of asylum seekers.

Twitter needs to get over Jack Dorsey’s dual roles. Yes, he’s CEO of Square as well, but he’s exactly what Twitter needs.

Surprising discoveries

Japan is home to a 105-year-old sprinter. He hopes to race Usain Bolt one day.

Mechanical gears appear in nature. Some insects have joints with intermeshing teeth to synchronize their legs during jumps.

You really only need about three apps. That’s where Americans spend 80% of their smartphone time.

PETA wants a monkey to own his selfie. The group is suing a photographer, who left his camera unattended, for the copyright.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, monkey selfies, and centenarian sprinting records to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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