Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—China’s falling imports, Coke wants yogurt, Hollywood does VW

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What to watch for today

The first Democratic debate. At 8:30pm ET (2:30am Wednesday morning BST), CNN will broadcast the first direct confrontation between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the other aspiring presidential candidates for 2016. Clinton is leading in the polls, though her support is withering.

It’s third-quarter-earnings season! Chase and Citigroup, both expected to show growth compared to last year, will release their reports today. So will Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs, which are projected to show a decline.

Answers over Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The Dutch Safety Board will release the results of its investigation into the crash, in which 298 were killed in July 2014. While the board has no authority to accuse the culprits, its findings might lend substance to those who believe the aircraft was hit by Ukrainian rebels.

Indian pharmacists strike. As many as 850,000 pharmacies across India are expected to close today—and possibly indefinitely—to demand that the government halt plans to allow online purchases of drugs.

While you were sleeping

China hit a record trade surplus—which may not be good news. Exports in September fell by 1.1% over the year, but imports dropped by 17.7%, creating a trade surplus of 376 billion yuan ($59.4 billion). The drop in imports suggests problems in China’s transition from a manufacturing to a consumption-based economy.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi are getting into yogurt. The two soft drink giants are competing to invest in Chobani, a maker of Greek yogurt, according to Reuters. A deal could value the 10-year-old company at $3 billion—and would be another hedge against deteriorating sales of carbonated drinks.

US regulators opened an antitrust probe of AB InBev. The Department of Justice is investigating allegations that the maker of Budweiser is making it hard for smaller competitors to distribute their beer.

European investors demanded answers on auto emissions. Nineteen investment managers controlling almost $1 trillion wrote separate letters to 11 major automakers, asking for details of their lobbying around emissions rules.

Investors rushed in to buy Sharp. The troubled Japanese electronics maker’s share price jumped as much as 10% in morning trading after reports that a government-backed investment company might invest 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion). Sharp’s LCD display unit is struggling to fend off competition, and is expected to report a fiscal first-half loss.

Quartz obsession interlude

Ana Campoy on the costs of a hypothetical fence between the US and Mexico. “The price tag to seal the rest of the border would be between $2.2 billion and $8.3 billion—although the final tab could be much higher because some of the areas that remain unfenced are remote and inhospitable, and presumably would be more expensive to build on.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China’s model of capitalism is popular in Africa, and America’s isn’t. That’s because democratic capitalism hasn’t worked on the continent.

The case against foreign aid. Newly minted Nobel laureate Angus Deaton says it undermines governments in developing economies.

It’s a Michael Bierut world. The master graphic designer’s logos populate a vast swath of global brands and institutions.

Don’t worry about China dumping US debt. Who else will buy it? Almost everyone.

Does every creative genius need a bitter rival? “The shadow is the seat of creativity, as far as Jung was concerned.

Surprising discoveries

After 62 years, Playboy will no longer feature pictures of naked women. With enough of those already on the internet, the magazine will focus on its articles.

Many New Yorkers would like to live in a bar bathroom. A prank want ad exposes the city’s insane real estate market.

The internet has its own patron saint. Isidore of Seville tried to record everything ever known.

The most tasteless business plan ever? The residence where Oscar Pistorious murdered Reeva Steenkamp will be turned into a party house.

Leonardo DiCaprio is making a movie about the Volkswagen scandal. Nothing says blockbuster like environmental scientists versus one of the world’s biggest car companies with the fate of the planet on the line.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Playboy articles, and photos of dive bar bathrooms to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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