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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—London attack, French elections, emailed postal mail

  • Quartz
By Quartz

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Snapshot on the US economy. The Federal Reserve is expected to show that outstanding consumer credit fell in October to $20 billion. Meanwhile, the Fed’s St. Louis chairman James Bullard will deliver a speech about monetary policy, ahead of a potential rate rise this month.

Renault takes on the French government. The automaker begins rounding up boardroom support for a plan to reduce its stake in Nissan, a strategic partner. The government has pressured Renault to retain its stake in its Japanese counterpart.

Politicians try to craft a climate deal. Negotiators will take a draft text that has been four years in the making and attempt to forge a final deal by Friday. Developing countries are expected to argue against terms that limit economic growth.

U2 performs in Paris. The rock band had called off concerts scheduled for the weekend of the terrorist attacks last month, and now returns for two appearances concluding tonight.

Over the weekend

France’s National Front party gained ground in regional elections. The far-right party led by Marine Le Pen won the round, with over 30% of the votes. It appeared to capitalize on security and immigration concerns, and could soon be vying for the presidency.

Suicide bombs killed around 30 people in Chad. Three female attackers targeted three separate markets on an island in Lake Chad on Saturday, injuring dozens more. Boko Haram, which has recently increased its attacks in Chad, was blamed for the killing.

Three people were hurt in an apparent London terror attack. One man was seriously injured and two others received light injuries after a man with a knife attacked passengers on the subway. Social media celebrated a witness who yelled at the alleged attacker, “You ain’t no Muslim bruv.”

Barack Obama delivered an address on terrorism. The US president told citizens that terror tactics are changing to become less complex and harder to detect, citing the San Bernardino shooting as an example. But Obama warned against blaming Islam, arguing that this is what groups like ISIL want.

China and Africa concluded a major summit. China and 48 African nations vowed to find solutions to the continent’s security issues. That marks a change from years past, when such talks focused more on trade and economics.

Wal-Mart sued Puerto Rico over a tax hike. The retailer complained of a rise in the commonwealth’s import tax, to 6.5% from 2% earlier. The tax is only applicable to companies earning large revenues; Wal-Mart is the largest employer on the island.

Record rainfall flooded the UK. Tens of thousands of homes were without power amid storms, winds, and major flooding in northwest England, Ireland, and Scotland.

Quartz obsession interlude

Olivia Goldhill on Finland’s plans to give every adult citizen €800 monthly: “It may sound counterintuitive, but the proposal is meant to tackle unemployment. Finland’s unemployment rate is at a 15-year high, at 9.53%, and a basic income would allow people to take on low-paying jobs without personal cost. At the moment, a temporary job results in lower welfare benefits, which can lead to an overall drop in income.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The modern sports bubble is about to pop. ESPN’s subscriber losses are a sign that the internet is dismantling the economics of sports television and even sports leagues.

Southern Africa should fear 2016. A poor harvest is likely, and governments may struggle to import food instead.

Most people underestimate their own ability to generate ideas. And that’s in part because they lack perseverance.

Tech startups are waiting way too long to go public. Ultra-high private valuations means no room for growth on the stock market (paywall).

Using the term “radical Islam” is a disservice to peaceful Muslims. It also plays into ISIL’s efforts to stir up a clash of civilizations.

Surprising discoveries

The US Postal Service can email customers their mail. The post office will send images of envelopes to their recipients.

The BBC is making movies that adapt to the audience. Different scenes will be shown depending on the personality of the viewer.

“Hello Barbie” could allow hackers to eavesdrop on children. Researchers say the internet-connected doll has had major security flaws.

Running very long distances can make your brain shrink. Ultra-marathoners’ brains shrunk as much as 6% by the end of a race.

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