Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Big Oil suffers, Taiwan’s GDP drop, spider sex

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What to watch for today and over the weekend

China, Japan, and South Korea try to make nice. Their leaders will meet together for the first time since 2012 in Seoul on Sunday, in a sign that tensions may be easing over Japanese war crimes.

Europe reports its inflation and unemployment data. Euro zone consumer prices are expected to remain unchanged after falling 0.1% in September, while analysts will be hoping the long-term unemployment problem doesn’t appear to be permanent.

Big Oil suffers. Exxon Mobil and Chevron are expected to report lower third-quarter profits due to the drop in crude oil prices. Standard & Poor’s warned this week that doubts about the companies’ future cashflow could endanger their credit ratings.

More results: Anheuser-Busch, CVS, Moody’s, and MoneyGram all report quarterly earnings.

While you were sleeping

The Philippines won the right to sue over China’s sea claims. An international court ruled that it can decide whether China is violating the UN Law of the Sea by claiming a large area of the South China Sea. The Philippines sought arbitration after China began building man-made islands in disputed waters.

Starbucks’ holiday forecast disappointed. The coffee chain’s fiscal fourth-quarter net income rose 11% to $652.5 million, matching estimates, on higher US same-store sales. But its Asia sales missed expectations (paywall), and the company forecast lower-than-expected Christmas earnings, sending its share price down.

The Bank of Japan held off on extra stimulus. The central bank bet that its current measures will be enough to meet its 2% inflation target, once the effects of low oil prices are discounted. New data showed consumer prices—excluding energy and food—rose 0.9% in the year to September (paywall).

Iran detained the first US citizen since the nuclear deal. Siamak Namazi, an advocate for diplomacy between the two countries, was jailed on Oct. 15, according to the New York Times (paywall). That suggests Iran is returning to strong anti-US sentiment following a nuclear deal designed to reduce sanctions against it, negotiated in part with the US.

LinkedIn raised its full-year forecast. The professional social networking site predicted an annual revenue of nearly $3 billion after posting $779.6 million in third-quarter revenue. But despite solid growth its advertising and recruitment businesses, LinkedIn reported a $41-million net loss.

Tanzania elected its next president. John Pombe Magufuli, a former chemistry teacher and minister in the current administration, won the presidency with 58% of the vote, the lowest vote of any ruling party candidate.

Taiwan’s economy contracted. Third-quarter GDP shrunk by 1% compared to a year earlier, marking the first such drop since precisely six years ago. Weak demand from China has been hitting the export-dependent economy; last month its unemployment rate hit a 2015 high.

EU lawmakers backed Edward Snowden. Legislators urged member states to drop criminal charges against the NSA whistleblower and to block his extradition to the United States. Snowden, currently living in Russia and wanted in the US on espionage charges, called the vote a “game-changer.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Jenny Anderson on the secret to learning math by failing productively. “The approach is both utterly intuitive—we learn from mistakes—and completely counter-intuitive: letting kids flail around with unfamiliar math concepts seems both inefficient and potentially damaging to their confidence.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The Australian accent was spiked by alcohol. The slurring of inebriated forefathers has been passed down to the present day.

James Bond would make a horrible real-life spy. He lacks the emotional intelligence that MI6 now looks for in recruits.

We’re facing the end of craft beer. The industry is growing so fast it’s becoming unrecognizable.

Witches are feminist icons. They both reflect and challenge patriarchal narratives about female power.

Billionaires concerned about climate change should buy coal. And then keep it in the ground.

Surprising discoveries

South Korea is mocking Seoul’s new slogan. ”I.Seoul.U” doesn’t make sense in any language.

Singing in a choir is good for your health. It strengthens social bonds, improves breathing and posture, and prevents dementia.

A Canadian scientist is live-tweeting the sex lives of spiders. They like to take their time.

Almost everyone will catch herpes. The World Health Organization has confirmed it.

A US cop defused a tense situation with a dance-off. President Barack Obama commended the positive policing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, slogan disasters, and dance-off tips to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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