Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Starbucks’ EU tax woes, FIFA names names, let your kids fail

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What to watch for today

FIFA names corruption suspects. In an attempt to improve transparency, soccer’s embattled global governing body will publicly announce which of its officials are under internal investigation for corruption, with Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa chief Michel Platini under fire before Blatter leaves in February 2016. The officials themselves were given a one-day heads-up.

Ferrari goes public. The supercar manufacturer will start selling a 10% stake on the New York Stock Exchange, using the ticker RACE. Shares are priced at $52 a piece, which values the company at $893 million.

EBay publishes its first post-PayPal results. The firm’s like-for-like revenues are expected to decline slightly amid intense competition from the likes of Amazon and Walmart. After spinning off PayPal, eBay’s new leaders are faced with the daunting task of figuring out how to retool an e-commerce pioneer.

More earnings, and a couple of interest-rate decisions. Other companies opening their books include Coca Cola, Boeing, Amex, GM, and Texas Instruments. Meanwhile, Canada’s central bankers are likely to maintain the benchmark interest rate at 0.5% as the economy reels from low oil prices while their Brazilian counterparts will probably keep their 14.25% rate unchanged.

It’s “Back to the Future” Day. Oct. 21, 2015 is the famous “destination time” in the classic time-travel movie trilogy, which envisioned the future as having wearable technology (check), drones (check), and hoverboards (check, sort of) but still no flying cars. Sorry, Biff.

While you were sleeping

Europe ruled Starbucks’ and Fiat’s tax deals illegal. The European Union’s antitrust commissioner ordered the Dutch and Luxembourg governments to recover around €30 million ($34 million) from the respective companies, which had shopped for tax relief within the EU. Similar penalties could be on their way for Apple and other US companies there (paywall).

Bashar al-Assad made a surprise visit to Moscow. The Syrian president talked with Vladimir Putin in his first overseas trip since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, a Kremlin spokesman confirmed. That likely reaffirms the Russian leader’s intentions to make Assad a part of any political solution (paywall) to the Syrian conflict—something the West disagrees with.

Credit Suisse outlined a strategy overhaul. The bank first reported a bigger-than-expected 24% drop in third-quarter net profit to 779 million Swiss francs ($815.4 million). It then followed up with plans to raise 6.1 billion Swiss francs in a partial IPO, as well as cost cutting measures and an emerging market strategy. But its share price fell by more than 4%.

Pearson’s share price went into free-fall  The British education group lost as much as 13.5% of its value after it warned full-year profits would be at the lower end of a recently downgraded range. The former owner of The Economist and the Financial Times blamed lower college enrolment rates for the move.

Japan’s exports grew the slowest in over a year. The value of shipments rose by just 0.6% in September from a year earlier, well below an expected 3.8% increase. Exports to China declined by 3.5% but demand in Europe and the US jumped; the results could encourage the central bank to introduce more stimulus measures later this month.

Toyota announced a 6.5-million car recall. The Japanese auto maker said the power window switch can short circuit, which could potentially cause a fire. No crashes have been reported so far, but one customer has reported being burned by the switch.

Quartz obsession interlude

Nikhil Sonnad on the secret to creating perfect—and unforgettable—passwords. “A pair of computational linguists at the University of Southern California have a possible answer to your easy-to-hack habits. They set out to automatically generate unique passwords that are both easy for humans to remember and very difficult for computers to crack. They found inspiration from, of all things, poetry.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Payday loan companies get a bad rap. Stricter regulations may do more harm than good.

Silicon Valley’s diversity gap isn’t just about race and gender. Age bias is widespread and overlooked.

We need a new way to think about free will. If IQ measures intelligence, we also need FQ to measure our freedom.

Note to the Fed: Don’t trust the Phillips curve. The inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment doesn’t apply right now.

Parents should let children fail. Kids’ happiness should not be valued above competence and autonomy.

Surprising discoveries

Facial recognition can detect depression. Depressed people use different muscles to smile.

High-tech brooms are changing the sport of curling. But some top Canadian players refuse to use them.

Borders bookstores still exist. The US chain went bankrupt in 2011 but its foreign franchisees live on.

Indonesia’s palm oil fires emit more greenhouse gases than the US. Those responsible are still rarely punished.

Australians are petitioning to call their currency “dollarydoos.” The word was coined in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, classic curling brooms, and spare dollarydoos to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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