Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Red meat warning, Pakistani earthquake, yakuza cancels Halloween

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What to watch for today

A dangerous new label for red meat. The World Health Organization is expected to announce that beef, lamb, and other darker meats will join its list of carcinogenic substances. The decision follows consultations with scientists from 10 nations, and could lead to new dietary guidelines.

A new conservative government in Poland… The conservative party Law and Justice is ahead in the polls and expected to win the national election, despite the fact that leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski was criticized for suggesting that refugees could bring disease to Poland.

…and more of the same in the Ivory Coast. Polls have closed on the first election since the country’s 2011 civil war and votes are being counted; current president Alassane Ouattara is expected to retain power, after successfully growing the country’s economy.

FIFA presidential candidates throw their hat in the ring. Anyone seeking to replace Sepp Blatter as the head of soccer’s corruption-challenged global governing body must submit their candidacy today. Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein has already declared his interest.

Barack Obama welcomes Indonesia’s president. Joko Widodo will meet the US president at the White House to talk about issues ranging from trade to security.

Over the weekend

A magnitude-7.7 earthquake hit Pakistan. It struck the country’s north at around 2pm local time (5am ET), with tremors being reported from as far away as India and Afghanistan. This is a developing story.

Europe came up with only short-term migrant solutions. Leaders from 11 countries agreed to find space for 100,000 migrants and implement an improved registration system after meeting in Brussels. But no decision was made about a long-term strategy to house up to a million migrants that are expected to arrive by the end of the year.

General Motors avoided a strike. The US auto maker agreed a tentative deal with labor union United Auto Workers that is expected to raise wages for all workers. No details were divulged in GM’s announcing the deal, but a similar agreement with Fiat recently brought some workers’ wages up to $29 an hour, from $19 earlier.

The US voiced concerns over a potential Russian internet attack. Russia has sent several spy ships and submarines to near the underwater cables that carry nearly all the world’s internet communications, according to the New York Times (paywall). The US military fears that ships could be researching where they could cut the cables to inflict maximum damage.

Sony neared a buyout of Toshiba’s image sensor unit. The two companies entered talks over a potential 20-billion-yen ($165-million) deal for the business, according to Bloomberg. Sony, which already makes sensors for smartphone cameras, is planning to expand their use in the automotive business.

Argentina’s election went to a run-off. With most of the votes counted, Daniel Scioli, the candidate for the center-left ruling party, won 36.7% of the vote, marginally beating the center-right candidate. Neither won enough to win the election outright; the next vote will take place on Nov. 22.

Maldives’ vice president was charged in an assassination attempt. Police arrested Ahmed Ahdeeb for his alleged involvement in an attempt to kill president Abdulla Yameen by blowing up his speedboat. An explosion on the boat occurred last month, but caused no deaths.

The Catholic Church stood pat on divorce. Catholic bishops ended a three-week summit in Rome to consider the church’s stand on marriage, divorce, and homosexuality, with no major doctrinal changes. Pope Francis lectured the bishops on the need for more flexibility.

Quartz obsession interlude

Marc Bain on how little has changed in Bangladesh’s factories since the Rana Plaza tragedy. “More than two years later, however, many of the factories that produce clothing for Western retail stores remain deathtraps and tragedies waiting to happen, according to the organization tasked with overseeing those commitments.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Hindu radicalism risks derailing India’s growth. Prime minister Narendra Modi must ensure it is stamped out, quickly.

Everything you know about happiness is wrong. Happiness isn’t something that should be chased.

Should the Fed drop the interest rate below zero? It’s been done in Europe before, but its effect on the US economy is still a guess.

The world set to use more energy for cooling than heating. Which in itself will undermine lowering emissions.

Atheists shouldn’t feel superior to religious folk. Both ideologies require a leap of faith.

Surprising discoveries

Microsoft is home to the quietest place on Earth. A special studio has been certified by the Guinness Book of Records.

Scientists managed to “squeeze” light. That could lead to light-powered phones.

Japan’s yakuza cancelled Halloween. In past years, children were invited to the mafia’s headquarters to extort gangsters for candy.

Silly String’s recipe is top secret. Two crucial ingredients are not known by those outside of the manufacturer.

Sausages aren’t always what they claim to be. In the US, sausage meat does not match the label 14% of the time.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, squeezed light, and mystery sausages to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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