Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Nobel Prize in economics, terror in Turkey, human superorganisms

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What to watch for today

The Nobel Prize in economics. This year’s winner is anybody’s guess. Take your pick from among these options, or just wait for the announcement from Stockholm at 1pm local time.

More hints at the Fed’s thinking. Dennis Lockhart, Charles Evans, and Lael Brainard, all governors of the US Federal Reserve, are scheduled to give speeches. They may indicate the likelihood of an interest rate hike before the end of the year.

Election results in Belarus. People headed to the polls on Oct. 11 in what international observers are calling a sham election. Sitting president Alexander Lukashenko has governed the former Soviet republic unopposed for more than two decades, and will likely be reelected.

Journalist sentenced in Iran. A court has apparently reached a verdict in the espionage trial of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, but the outcome is still unknown.

Columbus Day in the US. Markets will be open, but the country’s banks will be closed.

Over the weekend

Turkey was hit by the worst terror attack in its history. More than 100 people, many of them Kurds, were killed by suicide bombers in Ankara. The event rattled Turkey ahead of its national elections next month and sparked protests against the government, which said the Islamic State could be behind the attack.

Credit card spending stayed strong in Australia. It was at A$24.4 billion (US$17.9 billion) in August, compared to A$22.4 billion a year earlier, according to data (paywall) from the Reserve Bank of Australia. With the nation adjusting to low commodity prices and slower growth from China, the bank has cut interest rates twice this year.

China detained two more Japanese citizens. They were accused of spying, just like two other Japanese who were arrested last month. The move increased tension between Asia’s two largest economies.

Iran tested a new long-range ballistic missile. In doing so, it may have violated the nuclear agreement reached in Vienna with the United States and its allies in July.

Apple blocked its news app in China. It seems the tech giant has opted to block Apple News from the Chinese market rather than implement a system of censorship in-step with Beijing.

Quartz obsession interlude

Olivia Goldhill on the smoker’s paradise that is China. ”Cigarettes are an increasingly gendered health risk in China, according to a new study that reports 68% of Chinese men smoke, compared to just 3.2% of women… The authors conclude that smoking will cause roughly one in five adult male deaths in China during the current decade. And the fatality rate will rise steadily without preventative action.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Twitter just reinvented the newspaper. And the newly developed “moments” tab has the potential to be the best newspaper in the world.

The world economic order is collapsing. China’s banks are bust, the global financial system has gone rogue, and it seems there’s no way out from economic disorder.

Ben Carson is starting to sound crazy. His answer on how he would respond to a campus shooting brings to mind a showdown scene in Unforgiven.

The case for open borders is both economic and moral. Even relatively small increases in immigration flows would create economic benefits. Meanwhile, no moral framework would endorse the implications of closed borders.

Surprising discoveries

Indonesia’s fires have produced the equivalent of Germany’s annual carbon-dioxide emissions. And thanks to El Niño, the dry season is far from over.

The human body is a superorganism. A tangle of “selfish entities” that make up the body are constantly doing battle. Some of these foreign cells come from undeveloped twins: Around one in eight single-baby newborns began life as a twin and absorbed their sibling’s cells before anyone noticed.

Moldova is home to a black market in nuclear materials. And investigators don’t know whether suspects who fled arrest still have nuclear material and whether they sold any to terrorists.

Seniors in Singapore have robotic personal trainers. The “Robocoach” was unveiled at a government-sponsored tech exhibition for seniors and will be sent to 20 senior activity centers in the city to help elderly people stay fit and healthy.

Those ridiculous sexy Halloween costumes are all made by the same company. The chief executive behind sexy Cecil the lion and sexy pizza rat says he doesn’t think his costumes are insensitive. When critics get angry, it’s hilarious, he says.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, robotic personal trainers, and firefighting tips to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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