Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—California shooting, UK bombs Syria, Japanese buzzwords

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What to watch for today

The ECB tries—again—to jumpstart inflation. The European Central Bank is expected to lower its interest rate, which is already below zero, and expand its bond-buying program. The ECB has injected €445 billion ($470 billion) into the economy by buying up public-sector debt.

Vladimir Putin addresses the nation. No details of the Russian president’s annual address have been released yet, and a spokesperson for the Kremlin denied that the talk will focus on the downing of a Russian jet last month.

The US, Japan, and South Korea meet. The chief nuclear envoys of each will meet in Washington to discuss how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program.

John Kerry visits Cyprus. The US secretary of state travels to the divided nation, which split along ethnic lines in 1974, to encourage Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to continue in UN settlement talks.

FIFA faces the public. Reform committee chairman François Carrard will outline proposals to revamp the troubled football governing body at about 1pm GMT.

While you were sleeping

The UK bombed Syria. Four Tornado jets took off from an RAF air force base in Cyrus, and bombed unspecified targets in Syria. Late last night parliament voted 397 to 223 in favor of prime minister David Cameron’s plan to hit so-called Islamic State targets.

A mass shooting in California. Fourteen people were killed and 17 wounded after at least two heavily armed suspects entered a social services center and attacked a party. Police later shot dead two suspects in a highway shootout.

Brazil started impeachment proceedings. President Dilma Rousseff will now face an investigation into whether she illegally financed her reelection. Ousting Rousseff could bring some much-needed calm to Brazil’s economy, which has gone from crisis to crisis.

Cameroon’s army freed 900 Boko Haram hostages. A three-day operation led to the capture of Aladji Gana, a regional chief in the Islamist terror group, and the deaths of 100 militants. Cameroon’s forces contribute to an anti-Boko Haram coalition, alongside Chad and Niger.

Bidders lined up for Yahoo. Verizon, IAC, News Corp., and Time Inc. may all be interested in buying Yahoo’s core internet business, after news that the company is considering selling itself for scrap. Yahoo’s core business is now essentially worthless, based on its stock market valuation.

Janet Yellen is itching for a rate hike. The chair of the US Federal Reserve told the Economic Club of Washington that she is “looking forward” to a rise in the cost of borrowing.

Quartz markets haiku

A wise woman speaks

Oil falls to forty bucks

Rough day on Wall Street

Quartz obsession interlude

Alison Griswold on Uber’s new car-rental program for its drivers. “Essentially, the company is looking at the Enterprise option as a gateway vehicle. Buying a car, after all, is a big investment… But what if drivers don’t make enough to cover their rental charges?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Today’s Muslim-Americans are yesterday’s German-Americans. History has taught the United States nothing about stigmatizing its “hyphenated” citizens.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are the same as any new parent. They just want to make the world a better place.

The idea that bombing Syria will make the UK safer is wrong. Sure, the UK is already under threat, but airstrikes will only raise danger levels in the short term.

Surprising discoveries

Japan has a word for an “explosive shopping spree by the Chinese.” Bakugai is the buzzword of the year.

Nearly three-quarters of Estonia’s doctors are female. Eastern Europe has the highest proportion of women physicians.

There are multiple species of blue tarantulas. Scientists can’t explain the evolutionary rationale behind the unusual color.

Cracking knuckles makes carbon dioxide bubbles explode. Researchers saw  “a brilliant hyperechoic flash” when they watched via sonogram.

There’s a mathematical model to predict how funny a word is. One factor is how many “improbable letters” it contains.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, blue arachnids, and mathematically sound hilarity to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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