Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Bumper tech earnings, Malaysia’s budget, unholy Bible

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What to watch for today

Malaysia’s embattled prime minister rolls the dice. Najib Razak—who has yet to adequately explain how cash from a state development fund ended up in his personal bank accounts—is due to propose a 2016 budget to the country’s parliament. If lawmakers reject the plan, he will have to step down.

David Cameron keeps flattering China. The UK prime minister will try to attract Chinese investment to Manchester with tax breaks as he unveils a new real-estate development called the “China Zone.” The announcement coincides with his trip to northern England with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Ukraine talks business in Berlin. German chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at an economic conference. Merkel has said Germany is ready to invest in Ukraine, but only if the country weeds out corruption and reduces the influence of its powerful oligarchs.

Jacob Zuma meets with student protestors. The South African president will discuss a planned increase to tuition fees, following student demonstrations; some students briefly stormed parliament.

Earnings season continues: American Airlines, Procter & Gamble, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Thomson Reuters, Whirlpool, and Volvo all open their books.

While you were sleeping

Google made huge profits. Alphabet, the internet giant’s newly formed parent company, reported a third-quarter net income of $4 billion, up from $2.7 billion a year earlier, mainly due to higher YouTube and mobile ad sales. A surprise announcement that it would buy back over $5 billion in shares sent its stock even higher.

The cloud gave Microsoft a boost… The IT old-timer reported a third-quarter net income of $4.6 billion, up from $4.5 billion last year. Revenue from its cloud computing services performed well, which is crucial as PC sales slow globally.

…as it did Amazon. The online retailer posted a $79 million third-quarter net profit, more than double the expected figure. The profit, up from a loss a year ago, came after a strong performance from Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing unit that competes directly with Microsoft.

United Auto Workers approved a new contract with Fiat. It eliminates a two-tier salary system that divided factory workers by experience but was unpopular among staff. Workers will receive pay raises over the next eight years; attention is now on the US labor union to strike a similar deal with Ford and GM.

Twitter’s CEO gave away a third of his shares. Jack Dorsey donated roughly a 1% stake in the social media company to its employee equity pool, likely to try to boost morale. The roughly $200 million gift may help ease the pain of staff cuts made earlier this month.

China’s property market stabilized. House prices were down by just 0.9% in September from a year earlier (paywall), compared with around 2% and 4% in August and July respectively; monthly prices also rose for the fifth consecutive month. That suggests Chinese investors might be returning to the property market, following a volatile affair with stocks.

Quartz obsession interlude

Hanna Kozlowska on why Poland’s refugee crisis isn’t what it appears. “No one in Poland is struggling with an influx of people from the Middle East and Africa—but the country has a refugee problem. And the problem is a horrifying display of xenophobia and historical amnesia, demonstrated in the country’s parliament, at dinner parties, on the streets, and, overwhelmingly, on the internet.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Ad-blockers will be the death of clickbait and listicles. They might spell the end of media companies, too.

Young Americans are unhappy because they’re delusional. They think too highly of themselves and expect too much from others.

Amazon can’t lose on earnings day. Make a profit or not, investors just keep piling money into the business—but that can’t last forever.

The UK is too eager to please China. The cautious American approach is smarter.

The world should say “no” to Facebook’s Give the poor full access to the web, says the man who invented it.

Surprising discoveries

European astronomers have found two “kissing” stars. The “honeymoon period” is destined to end in catastrophe.

Your iPhone now has a taco emoji. In fact, iOS 9.1 contains every emoji in the Unicode Standard library.

The Benghazi hearing may have won Hillary Clinton voters. She emerged mostly unscathed from a marathon 11-hour grilling by a Congressional committee, and it could help her in 2016.

Syrian refugees are forging an unlikely path to Europe. Some are riding bicycles across the Arctic Circle.

A rare “wicked” Bible is up for auction. The 1631 edition contains an unholy misprint.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, kissing stars, and wicked Bibles to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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