Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Air France terror scare, Jindal drops out, cuddly spiders

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What to watch for today

A developing story on more shootings in Paris. Local media report that “heavy gunfire” has been heard from the northern suburb of St. Denis, during a police operation. It is believed that the operation was linked to a potential ninth man involved in last week’s terror attack.

Germany launches a China trading platform. The China Europe International Exchange, a Sino-German joint venture, is the first dedicated trading platform to offer yuan-denominated financial products outside of China.

News on the US economy. The Federal Reserve’s minutes from its October meeting are expected to reaffirm its inclination to raise interest rates before the year ends. Separately, the Commerce Department will announce housing data for October, which analysts expect to be lower than September’s spike.

Republican governors meet in Las Vegas. One of the hot topics: a recent push to block Syrian refugees from coming to the United States.

Earnings: Sina, Keurig, L Brands, Target, Staples, and Lowe’s report quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Russia stepped up its attacks on Syria. The ISIL stronghold of Raqqa was among the targets bombed by the Russian navy and air force, in retaliation for the terror group’s downing of a Russian airline in Egypt. Russia and France are not officially coordinating attacks, but their militaries are in contact in the region.

Security threats grounded two Air France flights. The planes, en route from the US to Paris, were diverted after anonymous bomb threats were made; passengers were evacuated in the US and Canada. In Europe, a soccer match was cancelled in Germany following several security tip-offs; no explosives have been discovered yet.

Bobby Jindal dropped out of the US presidential race. The Louisiana governor said that “this is not my time” as he became the third candidate to bow out; he had tried to appeal to evangelical Christians and a hardline right wing, but failed to gain traction. There are now 14 Republican candidates left.

Rich countries dealt a major blow to coal. Members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development agreed to restrict subsidies for technology used to build coal power plants, according to Bloomberg. The cuts, aimed at encouraging cleaner energy, are expected to hit 85% of planned coal plants.

Walmart beat expectations… The world’s largest retailer reported a $3.3 billion third-quarter net profit, down from a year earlier but significantly better than expected. Its share price rose by as much as 4%.

…And so did Home Depot. The building supplies retailer posted better-than-expected profit and revenue figures, due in part to a recent US housing boom. Its shares rose 3.9%.

Quartz markets haiku

Red herrings still swim

The next minutes are freighted

Building to better?

Quartz obsession interlude

Bobby Ghosh on why the world cares more about attacks in Paris than Beirut. “Multinational corporations like Facebook may feel obliged to affirm—and indeed, may be required to demonstrate—symmetrical sympathy with people all over the world, but that is an impossible standard for human beings. We do not ‘care for all people equally.’ We can’t.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Fingerprints make terrible passwords. They’re easily lifted, and you can’t change them.

Winning in China’s e-commerce market is tougher than it looks. Those Singles’ Day billions are hard to come by.

Bobby Jindal failed because he tried to please two camps at once. Republicans ought to appeal to one faction only.

Surprising discoveries

Goldman Sachs reckons China’s annual GDP growth is 5%. That’s significantly lower than the official 6.9%.

Researchers are relocating forests northward. Otherwise the trees may not survive climate change.

The London Zoo has a spider-cuddling program. It helps visitors overcome arachnophobia; hypnosis and counseling are also available.

Security at the G20 failed to account for cats. Several stray felines invaded the stage where world leaders were set to appear.

The iconic Coca-Cola bottle design came out of a $500 competition. The winners were inspired by the shape of a cocoa pod.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, failed Coca-Cola bottle designs, and cuddly spiders to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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