What to watch for today
A potential surprise from the Bank of Japan. The central bank has held interest rates near zero and is purchasing assets at the rate of 80 trillion yen ($660 billion) per year, but a weakening economy could spur even more quantitative easing.
Volkswagen tries to right its wrongs. The automaker has pledged to introduce a “technical solution” for the millions of cars affected by its scheme to cheat on emissions tests. But critics say the company won’t be able to make the diesel cars compliant without degrading fuel economy and performance.
A joint French-German address to the EU. German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande will talk about the pressing refugee crisis and ways to deepen integration in a speech before the European Parliament—the first such event in 25 years.
And the chemistry Nobel goes to… The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the latest Nobel prize, following recent announcements for medicine and physics. Leading chemistry contenders include discoveries related to genetics and batteries.
Alexis Tsipras faces a confidence vote. The newly re-elected prime minister will wrap up a three-day parliamentary debate with a mandatory vote. Tsipras is trying to strike a balance between the demands of international creditors and his pledge to ease the pain of austerity measures.
While you were sleeping
Autoworkers walked out of talks with Fiat Chrysler. The UAW union gave notice that its 40,000 members will go on strike at 11:59 pm on Oct. 7 unless their demands are met. Last week, the UAW rank and file overwhelmingly voted to reject a labor contract crafted by Fiat and union leaders.
SABMiller reportedly turned down AB InBev’s informal takeover offer. The $100 billion bid was considered too low, anonymous sources told Bloomberg. Rumors of a mega-merger that would control a third of the world’s beer have been brewing for months; AB InBev has until Oct. 14 to submit a formal takeover offer, according to UK rules.
Scientists from Japan and Canada won the Nobel Prize in physics. Arthur McDonald of Queen’s University in Ontario and Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo shared the honor for discovering that neutrinos, the world’s most elusive particles, have mass.
Turkey tussled with Russian fighter jets near the Syrian border. Russian planes conducting strikes against the enemies of the Syrian regime—including allies of the US and Turkey—crossed the border to harass Turkish planes and lock onto them with targeting radar. Moscow blamed the incursions on “adverse weather conditions.”
The EU invalidated a major data treaty with the United States. The European Union’s highest court ruled that a 15-year-old “Safe Harbor” agreement does not adequately protect EU citizens from snooping. Data transfers by companies like Facebook may be blocked until new remedies are in place—including the potential requirement to remove Europeans’ personal data from foreign servers.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on America’s lobster boom. “A scientist who tracks baby lobsters reports that in the last few years their numbers have abruptly plummeted, up and down Maine’s coast. With the number of breeding lobsters at an all-time high, it’s unclear why the baby lobster population would be cratering—let alone what it portends. It could reflect a benign shift in baby lobster habitats. Or it could be that the two-decade boom is already on its way to a bust.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Britain is the best place to die. It ranks near the top in palliative care, affordability, and other key measures.
China’s new credit scoring system is an Orwellian nightmare. Run in part by Alibaba, it measures the ability to repay debt along with political compliance.
Turkey is in serious trouble. Take political unrest and a slowing economy, and add Russian activity in its backyard.
Clean energy will be this generation’s version of landing a man on the moon. It can be done, if the world is motivated enough.
Properly cooking pasta requires more than one pot. Don’t settle for a single-pan shortcut just because Martha Stewart does.
Humans are worse for wildlife than nuclear disasters. Wildlife is thriving at the site of the Chernobyl disaster, which is devoid of human habitation.
Nike wants you to print your shoes at home. A top executive said 3D-printed footwear is “not that far away.”
Gluten-free Cheerios had one job, and it failed. Some 2 million boxes were accidentally made with wheat, and are being recalled.
The CIA once paid spies from the Sears catalogs. Twenty days in the field were worth one boys’ red velvet blazer.
The cure for scurvy was quickly forgotten. Twentieth-century South Pole explorers paid the price (PS: It’s Vitamin C).