Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Volkswagen testimony, Deutsche Bank’s loss, SF’s last gun store

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What to watch for today

Volkswagen’s top US executive testifies before Congress. Michael Horn, CEO of VW America, will answer “initial questions” about the automaker’s emissions cheating scandal and probably admit he knew of the rigging as early as spring 2014. The Senate finance committee is also investigating whether the company’s clean energy tax credits were granted under false pretenses.

Central banks are keeping rates steady. The Bank of England is expected to keep the interest rate at 0.5%, as inflation remains weak. Separately, the US Federal Reserve is publishing the minutes from its September meeting, when it decided to keep US interest rates steady for now.

The US House of Representatives chooses its next speaker. Republicans vote to pick the successor to John Boehner, who announced his resignation last month. Hard-line conservative lawmakers who pushed for Boehner’s ouster doubt that frontrunner Kevin McCarthy will be any more effective.

NATO discusses Russia. Defense ministers meet in Brussels to talk about Russia’s aggressive military moves, including its engagement in Syria and incursions into Turkish airspace. Baltic NATO members are also asking for more support to fend off a resurgent Russian military.

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund meet in Peru. The groups’ joint annual meetings are taking place in Lima, as the IMF warns of a triple threat to the world’s economy and the World Bank issues a dire warning about mass migration. (Spoiler alert: Europe’s migrant crisis is just the beginning.)

While you were sleeping

Deutsche Bank warned of a record loss. The German lender said it forecasts a third-quarter pre-tax loss of €6 billion ($6.7 billion), after accepting write-downs on its investment arm and two other units it plans to shed. New CEO John Cryan announced the figure in an open letter, amid a cost-cutting program that will include reducing staff levels by a quarter.

Chrysler avoided a major strike. A tentative deal was struck between the United Auto Workers union and Fiat Chrysler just ahead of a midnight deadline last night, after which 40,000 workers were set to down tools. The UAW, which will discuss the agreement on Friday, said only that it secures “significant gains” for its members.

Dell began merger talks with a data storage company. The PC maker is discussing either a partial or total tie-up with EMC, which has seen its share price fall by as much as a quarter this year. No deal is certain at this stage, but the tie-up could expand Dell’s capabilities in cloud data storage, a fast-growing segment.

The UK’s opposition leader missed a date with the queen. Jeremy Corbyn, the new leftist leader of the Labour Party, skipped out on a meeting of the Privy Council after much speculation on whether the lifelong republican would kneel before the monarch to be sworn in. The meetings—this would have been Corbyn’s first—are where senior politicians get classified information from the security services.

Uniqlo’s parent missed its own profit forecast. Fast Retailing, which also owns J Brands, reported a fiscal full-year operating profit of 164.5 billion yen ($1.4 billion), compared with a forecasted 200-billion-yen profit. The disappointing figure comes after it expanded rapidly in the US, despite not having a strong brand in the country.

Germany began to feel the global slowdown. Exports fell by 5.2% in August, far worse than an expected 0.9% drop, marking the sharpest decline in foreign sales since 2009. August exports weren’t affected by the Volkswagen scandal, which might have a negative effect on September’s sales; an emerging-market slowdown was the likely cause for August’s dip.

Quartz obsession interlude

Keith Collins on the slowly revealed magnitude of a typical data breach. “When a company or government agency suffers a data breach, the number of records they say were lost are often preliminary estimates, whether they say so or not. Typically, the investigation has only just begun.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Forget cage-free eggs, we should demand prison-labor-free products. Many common household goods are made by low-paid inmates.

Vladimir Putin is repeating Cold War blunders in Syria. Similar meddling failed spectacularly in the past.

Hillary Clinton’s “likability problem” is really America’s. Too many people still find female ambition distasteful.

Poverty is decreasing, but the poor are still getting screwed. People in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, are falling even further behind.

Renoir does not “suck at painting.” Protestors in the US who criticised the French artist’s work are wrong.

Surprising discoveries

London’s Tube is using recycled power. The subway system reuses the wasted energy of braking trains.

The last gun store in San Francisco is closing for good. One saddened gun enthusiast likened lawmakers to “Nazis.”

A German forestry minister accidentally started a forest fire. He should have known better than to dump ashes in a thicket.

The placebo effect is getting stronger. Researchers think prescription drug advertisements may be to blame.

NASA and ESA are forming a super team to prevent armageddon. They’re launching probes to study potentially calamitous near-Earth asteroids.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pre-Impressionist paintings, and asteroid-busting strategies to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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