Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Paris attack mastermind, Obama in Manila, world’s longest half-marathon

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Barack Obama meets with Asian leaders in Manila. The US president and nearly a dozen other leaders are flying straight from the G20 Summit in Turkey to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the Philippines, and police are on high alert in the wake of the Paris attacks. Discussions will center on security partnerships, the trans-Pacific trade pact, climate change, and the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

Catalonia charges ahead secession plans. Days after a resolution for independence was blocked by Spain’s constitutional court, lawmakers are meeting in Barcelona to start the process anyway. The regional parliament has given itself 30 days to write a new constitution.

Apple Pay launches in Canada. Apple has been slow to roll out its mobile wallet internationally, and Canada will only be the third country, after the US and UK, to see it activated. The launch is taking place without cooperation from major Canadian banks or credit card companies, limiting access to American Express cardholders.

Wal-Mart reports earnings. A month after warning of dismal results, the American retail giant is expected to post a 1% drop in quarterly revenue, to a mere $118 billion. Shares are near a three-year low.

While you were sleeping

France identified the mastermind of the Paris attacks. Belgium-born Abdelhamid Abaaoud went to Syria to join the Islamic State in 2014, and has since been linked to a number of terror plots; he also recruited his 13-year-old brother to join the extremist group. Meanwhile, president Francois Hollande declared that France was “at war,” and called on the United States and Russia to join forces to defeat ISIL.

Marriott bought Starwood to become the world’s largest hotel company. Marriott agreed to pay $12.2 billion in cash and stock for the owner of the Westin, Sheraton, and the W brands, giving the combined company an estimated 1.1 million rooms. Shares of both firms dropped after the deal was announced.

US states closed their doors to Syrians. At least a dozen states, including Michigan, Alabama, and Texas, refused to accept refugees from the war-torn country in the wake of the Paris attacks, although no Syrians have been identified among the Paris attackers. President Obama rejected any religious test of refugees, calling the idea “shameful.”

Hasbro may disappoint Star Wars fans. CEO Brian Goldner said inventory is running low after better-than-expected September sales of merchandise related to the franchise’s upcoming sequel. The toymaker is working to catch up ahead of the Dec. 18 release date of “The Force Awakens.”

VW scandal affected petrol, not just diesel, vehicles. The automaker confirmed that more petrol engine vehicles have been affected by emissions-cheating crisis than previously disclosed. A statement released by the company lists some 24 petrol engine vehicles, including certain Jetta and Passat models, with elevated CO2 levels.

Quartz markets haiku

Calm after a storm

A surge against darkened tides

Normal trading hours

Quartz obsession interlude

Kevin Delaney on an app that pays its users for every message: CEO Nathan Eagle, speaking on the sidelines of Quartz’s The Next Billion event in New York, says that Jana is is giving data credits for messaging in the expectation that it spurs other activities within mCent. “People like free stuff, particularly in these markets,” says Eagle. “These are very cost-sensitive consumers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Uber is not a disruptive innovator. Clayton Christensen says “throwing the taxi industry into disarray” is not enough.

ISIL wants the world to hate refugees. A warm welcome for Muslims who come Europe would undercut the Islamic State’s legitimacy.

Beirut and Paris are proof of an empathy gap. People take notice when they racially resemble the victims of terrorism.

Surprising discoveries

Bangkok set a new world record for the longest half-marathon. An erroneous U-turn made the race 17 miles (27 km) long.

Scientists found a lost island in the Aegean Sea. The ancient city of Kane was the site of a famous battle in 406 BC.

2,000-year-old bread tastes surprisingly good. The British Museum had a chef recreate a loaf found in the ruins near Mount Vesuvius.

Colombia wants to become a legal marijuana exporter. What would Pablo Escobar have said about that?

“The Diary of Anne Frank” has a new co-author. And it’s keeping the Holocaust memoir out of the public domain.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Yes, we are trying out a new poetry-based markets feature. Please tell us whether you like it, and send along any news, comments, missing islands, and mistaken marathon routes, in an email to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.