Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Paris climate summit, EU-Turkey refugee deal, endangered words

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What to watch for today

The Paris climate conference kicks off. The COP21 summit, involving nearly 200 nations, is intended to produce a global agreement to reduce carbon emissions and limit temperature change. The meeting will run through Dec. 11.

Pope Francis addresses Christian and Muslim violence. The pontiff will speak at a mosque in Bangui, the Central African Republic’s capital, to encourage dialogue between followers of the two religions. The mosque is in a part of the city well known for sectarian violence.

The Chinese yuan gets a nod. The International Monetary Fund is expected to approve the inclusion of the currency in its Special Drawing Rights currency basket. It’s the first major addition to the benchmark since the euro, and represents a symbolic victory for China, even if the yuan is still a long way from becoming a true global reserve currency.

The future of the Fed’s emergency lending authority. The Federal Reserve Board holds an open meeting to discuss its ability to enact emergency measures to prop up the financial system. Critics accused the Fed of overreaching during the global financial crisis of 2008.

Over the weekend

Russia hit Turkey with sanctions… The new rules forbid the extension of work contracts for Turks in Russia past Jan. 1, and ban trade in some goods. The decree is retaliation for Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet. It also called to end chartered flights between the two countries.

…As Europe reached a migrant deal. The European Union will give Turkey $3 billion and revive talks about its succession to the economic bloc, in return for it keeping Syrian and other migrants from entering Europe.

AB InBev mulled the sale of Peroni and Grolsch. The brewer is considering selling the two European beer brands in an effort to win regulatory approval for its buyout of SABMiller, according to the Sunday Times (paywall). The brands, currently owned by SABMiller, could fetch billions of dollars.

Bill Gates and friends formed a climate group. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is formed of around two dozen influential billionaires, and will invest an unspecified amount into climate change and clean energy technology. It aims to accelerate technological development as well as earn a profit.

Tens of thousands marched for climate change worldwide. Some 50,000 people marched in London and 20,000 took to the streets in Madrid and in Rome ahead of the Paris climate talks. Hundreds were arrested for rioting in Paris, while 10,000 others donated shoes for a street installation.

Burkina Faso went to the polls. Around 5 million people were eligible to vote in the first election since Blaise Compaore stepped down after 30 years of rule. Results are not expected for several days, but observers say Sunday’s vote went off without incident.

Wladimir Klitschko ended his nine-and-a-half-year reign as heavyweight boxing champion. He was beaten by Tyson Fury, who has won multiple heavyweight champion titles and who handed Klitschko his first defeat in 11 years.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jenna Gottlieb on the gross downside to Iceland’s rising popularity with tourists. “In order to manage Iceland’s newfound popularity, some suggest the country may need to either cap the number of tourists allowed into its most popular destinations or else find a way to pay for better infrastructure and upkeep.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

India’s government does not understand democracy. Its ministers aren’t even comfortable with the values in India’s own constitution.

We should feel sympathy for ISIL supporters in the West. They are humanity’s saddest failures.

We should rename the moons of Mars. Their current names, “Phobos” (fear) and “Deimos” (terror), give off the wrong message.

Our fear of death makes us ill-equipped to pass right-to-die laws. The debate requires that people on both sides stop denying their mortality.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists can score your ability to pay attention. This might help identify children in need of personalized learning.

A suicide bomb instructor accidentally blew up his class. He killed himself and 21 ISIL trainees in Iraq (paywall).

We are losing our words for describing nature. Like the Cornish word “zawn,” which is a chasm cut by waves into a sea cliff.

A forger is claiming a “Leonardo da Vinci” painting as his own. La Bella Principessa is actually a painting of a supermarket checkout girl named Sally, he says.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, currency baskets, and da Vinci fakes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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