Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—A beer giant rises, Barclays’ new CEO, the “Wolf of Wolfsburg”

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What to watch for today

The first US Democratic candidate debate. At 8:30pm ET, 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! And banks are roaring to reveal their results. JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup are both expected to show growth compared to last year (paywall), but Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs 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 during the conflict last year.

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

AB Inbev agreed a $106-billion price tag for SABMiller. The Budweiser maker upped its offer to £69 billion, or a 50% premium on the company’s Sept. 14 closing share price when Anheuser Busch first made its offer. Once the deal is formalized, the new company will produce one in three beers sold globally; analysts believe its pre-tax earnings could reach $25 billion next year.

Barclays decided on its next CEO. The UK bank’s board approved the appointment of James “Jes” Staley to the top job, according to various media reports. Barclays is expected to formally announce the decision to hire Staley, who headed JP Morgan Chase’s investment bank, in the next couple of weeks.

Iran’s government approved its nuclear deal. The nation’s parliament voted overwhelmingly to begin rolling back its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions, in a big domestic win for president Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who negotiated the deal with the West. Iran is expected to begin removing centrifuges at the end of this week.

UK inflation surprisingly turned negative again. Consumer prices fell 0.1% in September from a year earlier; they were expected to stay flat. The second drop in over 50 years, following one in April, was caused by lower gas and clothing prices, and will likely mean interest rates staying at a record low of 0.5% for some months yet.

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.

One person was killed and over a dozen injured in Israeli attacks. Two attackers who opened fire and stabbed 18 bus passengers in Jerusalem were “shot and neutralized” by Israeli police; elsewhere two other attacks left four more people injured. The attacks represent an escalation in violence in the last month, fuelled by tensions over a holy site in Jerusalem.

Uber agreed to suspend its Brussels operation. The app-based ride hailing company will close down its UberPop offering tonight after a court ruled that it could not continue the service (paywall). It was initially unclear whether Uber would adhere to the court’s ruling; it can still operate UberX, which is staffed by professional drivers.

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.

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. A Wolf of Wall Street for our times—the Wolf of Wolfsburg?

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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