Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—France bombs ISIL, G20 leaders meet, prehistoric beekeepers

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What to watch for today

Will France continue increased air strikes in Syria? President François Hollande made the decision to attack Raqqa, the Syrian city and self-proclaimed capital of the so-called Islamic State, on Sunday. But some analysts warn this kind of reaction will be self-defeating.

G20 leaders wrap up a two-day meeting. The terror attacks in Paris will be discussed, in addition to the migrant crisis in Europe, and economic interests such as global tax rules.

The EU foreign council talks Syria. The council is expected to discuss the large number of refugees continuing to travel to the EU, and concerns that Russia’s airstrikes are aiding Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, rather than combating the Islamic State.

A Frenchman is due in court after he was discovered with an air rifle at a UK airport. His gun toting shut down Gatwick airport, the second largest in the UK, for six hours on Saturday morning in what was labeled a major security alert.

Results roll in for Ukraine’s municipal elections. Exit polls suggest president Petro Poroshenko’s party maintained control in the center and west of the country; but voters in the south and east appeared to vote for the pro-Russian opposition.

Over the weekend

France reacted to Friday night’s attacks… Eight gunmen and suicide bombers launched multiple attacks in Paris on Friday night, killing at least 128 people. Several of the attackers were French nationals, while dozens of the victims were foreigners. A manhunt is now under way for suspects, and France has stepped up its attacks on ISIL in Syria.

…As did the rest of the world. The UK increased border security but maintained its threat level, which already suggests a terrorist attack is “highly likely.” Separately, the US reaffirmed its commitment to taking in Syrian refugees, and German chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her “open-door” stance. Asian stock markets dipped in early trading.

Japan returned to recession. The economy shrank by an annualized 0.8% in the third quarter, a much deeper contraction than the 0.2% expected and worse than a 0.7% dip in the second quarter. China’s slowdown and low oil prices could prompt more stimulus

Hillary Clinton teetered in the second Democratic debate. The former US secretary of state was expected to show off her command of foreign policy after the Paris killings placed global affairs at the center of the stage. Instead, she found herself on the defensive over questions about Libya and ISIL, and her Wall Street connections.

Thailand posted stronger-than-expected economic growth. Third-quarter growth hit an annualized 2.9%, beating expectations of a 2.5% increase (paywall) despite fears that an August terror attack would dent tourism.

Quartz obsession interlude

Omar Mohammed on why Barack Obama’s love of basketball is part of the president’s legacy. “Basketball is so central to the president’s political life that he apparently plays pick-up every election day. The tradition acquired superstitious significance after the one time he sat out a game during the New Hampshire primary in 2008—and lost the race to Hillary Clinton.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Passwords can no longer protect you. Even a strong one is useless in the face of a good hacker.

Is it OK to listen to R. Kelly? He is a musical genius, but also accused of some awful things.

Stop pretending Victoria’s Secret shows aren’t sexist. If they were really about athletic prowess, then far fewer men would show up.

The Paris attacks will change France’s foreign policy. The Islamic State, not Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, must now be enemy number one.

Surprising discoveries

In 3000 BC, the Sahara was full of water and vegetation. It could be again within the next 15,000 years.

Our humble moon could count as a planet. According to a new definition.

Our great-grandchildren will speak a wildly different English. Get ready for “interlanguages,” such as Spanglish.

Prehistoric farmers were beekeepers. Humans have been enjoying the fruits of honeybees’ labor for around 9,000 years, according to new archeological research.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, beekeeping tips, and Spanglish phrases to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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