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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Volkswagen’s big loss, Ivory Coast elections, contraband caviar

By Quartz

What to watch for today 

Angela Merkel kicks off her visit to China. During the German chancellor’s eighth visit to the mainland since 2005, she is looking to outdo the UK’s recent business deals with China, which totaled £40 billion ($61 billion). Merkel will lead a business delegation—including new Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller—to the city of Hefei.

Republican candidates debate the economy. A two-hour debate entitled “Your Money, Your Vote” will probe 2016 presidential hopefuls on the economy. Ten big names will debate at 8pm ET; four others will get screen time at 6pm.

Mark Zuckerberg takes questions in India. The Facebook CEO will host a town hall-style Q&A at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. His visit comes after Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visited the Facebook offices last month and discussed the growing partnership between Silicon Valley and India.

Earnings: PayPal and Hilton report earnings, as do Booz Allen Hamilton, Fiat Chrysler, Garmin, GlaxoSmithKline, GoPro, Hershey, and Yelp.

While you were sleeping

Volkswagen reported its first loss in 15 years. The German auto maker posted a worse-than-expected third-quarter operating loss of €3.5billion ($3.9 billion), after it booked a hefty charge for recalling up to 11 million vehicles worldwide. VW also lowered its full-year forecast and warned that earnings before tax would drop “significantly” in the quarters to come.

Nintendo maintained its forecast despite a profit drop. The Japanese gaming company reported a fiscal second-quarter operating profit of 7.8 billion yen ($68.4 million), a 16% fall from a year earlier and lower than analyst expectations. But new CEO Tatsumi Kimishima said Nintendo’s entry into smartphone games should keep the company on track.

America and Europe drove Heineken’s beer sales. The world’s third-largest brewery posted €5.5 billion ($6.1 billion) in third-quarter revenue, which it says was boosted by warm weather that encouraged beer drinking. Growth in both revenue and beer volumes exceeded market expectations in the quarter; the company reiterated plans to expand its profit margins.

Ivory Coast re-elected Alassane Ouattara. The president will take the reins for a second term after winning almost 84% of the vote; turnout was a little over 50%, but several opposition politicians pulled out of the race, complaining elections were not free and fair. Controversy over the last general election, in 2010, led to a civil war that left 3,000 people dead.

Mixed signals for China’s economy. The Minxin purchasing manager’s index—an alternative to the recently scrapped Markit/Caixin preliminary index—put China’s manufacturing sector at 43.3 in October, up from 43 last month but well below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. Consumer sentiment also fell to a record low in October (paywall).

Japan’s retail sales looked a little brighter. Third-quarter sales rose by 1.8%, marking a return to strength after growing a feeble 0.2% in the second quarter. Analysts believe rising wages are finally convincing consumers to open their wallets, and that the central bank may not increase its stimulus measures later this week.

Quartz obsession interlude

Corinne Purtill on how airlines handle sexual assault between passengers. “If a person is subjected to unwanted touching or other crime on board an aircraft, they should tell a flight attendant as soon as possible, Hughes said… He also suggested that women traveling alone avoid alcohol, sleep-inducing drugs, and sleep itself to guard against attacks on long flights.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

In the race for Africa, India and China aren’t all that different… India is struggling to differentiate itself from China.

…But India can get ahead by being what China isn’t. That is, open and free.

Taylor Swift was wrong about Spotify. It isn’t undercutting the music industry, but it’s also not making artists any better off.

Texting at your wedding is perfectly acceptable. This is how millennials socialize, so just deal with it.

Poland’s shift to the right is bad news for its economy. Newly empowered conservatives could squander recent gains.

Surprising discoveries

Fifty-three years ago today, the US ordered the launch of 32 nuclear warheads. Not all of them were aimed at Russia.

Russian police discovered half a metric ton of contraband caviar in a hearse. It was pulled over for speeding.

About one American per year is shot by a dog. Four of the 10 shootings since 2004 happened in Florida.

Earth needs more poop. As large species die off, the environment is losing a crucial source of phosphorus.

Walmart is selling an Israeli soldier Halloween costume. It comes with a toy machine gun; parents are not impressed.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, objectionable Halloween costumes, and wedding selfies to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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