Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Pandora’s expansion, Obama in Manila, marathon fail

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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, to discuss security, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, climate change, and disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Catalonia charges ahead with 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.

Canada gets Apple Pay. It will be only the third country, after the US and UK, to see activation of the service, which Apple has been slow to roll out internationally. The launch is taking place without cooperation from major Canadian banks or credit card companies.

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

US states closed their doors to Syrians. At least a dozen states, including Michigan, Alabama, and Texas, said they would not accept refugees from the war-torn country in the wake of the Paris attacks, although no Syrians have been definitively identified among the Paris attackers. President Obama rejected the idea that refugees should face religious testing.

Greece cleared a major hurdle with its creditors. Finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos smoothed over disagreements with the Euro Working Group regarding protections for homeowners and certain pension issues, allowing Greece to access €12 billion ($12.8 billion) in aid. Most of that will be spent recapitalizing banks.

Liberty Global agreed to buy Cable & Wireless. The London-based telecom company will pay £3.5 billion ($5.3 billion) for its Americas-focused counterpart, in an effort to expand into Latin America.

Pandora bought into Rdio. The music streaming service agreed to pay $75 million for technology that would allow it to create a range of paid plans for an on-demand library of music. Pandora will not buy into Rdio’s operating business, but hopes the technology will help it battle Apple Music and Spotify.

Shareholders panned a takeover move by Urban Outfitters. The US clothing company announced it had acquired a stake in a chain of pizza restaurants, as part of a plan to reshape its retail strategy and offset its declining store sales. Investors were skeptical; its share price dropped 12% in after-hours trading.

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 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. It falls short of that specific definition, and that’s important for the taxi industry to remember.

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

ISIL wants Christians and Muslims to fight a war. And US Republicans appear to be taking the bait.

Surprising discoveries

Bangkok set a new world record for the longest half-marathon. An erroneous U-turn made the race 27 kilometers (17 miles) 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” is now officially co-authored by Anne’s father. Adding his name will delay the book’s entry into 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, rediscovered islands, and ancient bread recipes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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