Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Tesla’s SUV, China’s UN pledge, glowing sea turtle

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

The UN General Assembly continues. US president Barack Obama and Cuban president Raúl Castro are scheduled to talk on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders in New York. Obama will also meet with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, and will host an anti-ISIL summit.

Nepal feuds with India. Nepal is accusing its neighbor and largest trading partner of a material blockade in a dispute over its new constitution, and Nepal’s cable federation plans to block all Indian television channels in retaliation. India insists it is not intentionally blocking trucks full of fuel, food, and building materials that are waiting to cross the Nepali border.

Tesla unveils its all-electric SUV. Elon Musk’s company is finally rolling out its Model X luxury sport utility vehicle, which has been pre-ordered by more than 20,000 customers since it was announced in 2012. The crossover is supposed to show that the automaker isn’t “just a one-trick pony.”

Indonesia reports another economic policy package. President Joko Widodo will unveil the second of three major policy changes aimed at bringing in greater foreign direct investment and creating jobs. The first of three announcements, on Sept. 9, was also aimed at deregulating business in Indonesia.

US lawmakers discuss Puerto Rico’s cash problems. The Senate finance committee is holding hearings about establishing a federal financial control board  or allowing bankruptcy for the US territory, which has $71 billion of outstanding debt.

Costco reports earnings. The wholesale retailer’s sales have hit a rough patch recently, and analysts expect fiscal fourth-quarter revenue to disappoint. But Costco’s business model, with its membership fees and low costs, keeps its earnings somewhat insulated (paywall).

While you were sleeping

China offered the UN $1 billion and troops. President Xi Jinping used his address to the organization to announce that China will contribute 8,000 troops to peacekeeping forces and create a 10-year $1 billion peace and development fund. That advances China’s growing ties with the UN; Xi also announced funding for African Union troops.

Yahoo said it will spin off its Alibaba stake this year. The tech giant announced plans to move its 384 million shares, worth $22 billion, into a separate entity in the fourth quarter. That is despite the move potentially attracting a $9 billion tax bill; CEO Marissa Mayer had previously promised investors the company wouldn’t have to pay tax on the investment.

Vietnam’s GDP growth beat emerging Asia’s gloom. The Southeast Asian nation’s economy grew by 6.5% (paywall) in the first nine months of the year, ahead of expectations of 6.4% growth. Third-quarter growth also accelerated from 6.1% a year earlier to 6.8%, preliminary figures show. That helps further the notion that the Vietnamese economy is bucking a general slowdown in emerging Asia growth.

Japan Tobacco neared a $5 billion US purchase. The Japanese company is aiming to buy out Santa Fe Natural Tobacco from Reynolds American this week, according to Nikkei. The purchase would give it the rights to Natural American Spirit, a cigarette brand that markets its products as additive-free.

Glencore saw no respite in Asia. Shares in the Swiss mining giant, which lost almost 30% of their value in London yesterday, opened 27% lower in Hong Kong today, where they have a second listing. The shares stayed relatively flat in morning trading, following an Investec report questioning Glencore’s valuation should spot metals prices not rise in the near future.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve Levine on why the US should give Russia a free rein in Syria. “As long as US strategic interests are met, Washington probably shouldn’t care if Russian actions—or those of China or Iran—help, or even are primary, in achieving American objectives. If the aim is to stabilize Syria and, if possible, Iraq, it shouldn’t matter that Putin has swooped in at the last minute to prop up Assad, and bolster his regime against ISIL.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Tech unicorns are the worst. They are emblematic of a Silicon Valley culture that relies on short cuts instead of persistence.

District attorneys are to blame for the US prison problem. They are sentencing more people to jail time, despite overall crime rates falling.

If you’re under fire in the media, don’t fire back. Pharmaceutical investor Martin Shkreli should have responded with action and transparency.

Why does nobody talk about Iran’s human rights scandal? President Hassan Rouhani’s silence furthers abuse against the Baha’i religious minority.

China has no grounds to criticize the US for Syria’s civil war. Beijing played a leading role in arming Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Surprising discoveries

26 lbs of marijuana dropped from the sky in Arizona. It was probably from a plane or drone, though a catapult isn’t out of the question.

Netflix invented a “Netflix and chill” button. One click dims the lights, silences your phone, and orders takeaway food.

Gender inequality costs the world $28 trillion. That’s the difference between the percentage of women in the world and their underrepresentation in the global GDP.

Norway’s doctors still use floppy disks. They’re more secure than modern alternatives.

Scientists spotted a glowing sea turtle in the wild. It’s the first known reptile capable of biofluorescence.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, glowing reptiles, and secure floppy disks 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.