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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Beijing smog alert, Japan’s rebound, “night milk”

  • Quartz
By Quartz

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

France pushes for more information sharing. French finance minister Michel Sapin will try to persuade his EU counterparts to increase cross-border data sharing, among other measures, to make it more difficult for individuals to fund terror operations.

Malaysia’s ruling party meets amid political turmoil. A five-day gathering of the ruling United Malays National Organization starts in Kuala Lumpur. Prime minister Najib Razak is embroiled in a massive corruption scandal, and some party members are calling for his resignation.

Home Depot lays out its future. The world’s biggest home improvement retailer will explain its three-year strategic plan (paywall) to investors and analysts, after its third-quarter results suggested American consumers are spending again.

While you were sleeping

A US airstrike reportedly killed dozens of Syrian civilians. Among the victims—26 at least—were children, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A US spokesman said an investigation will follow if the information proves “credible.”

Beijing raised its first red alert for smog. Schools and factories were closed and traffic restrictions were put in place from 7am local time (11pm Monday GMT), and the measures are expected to last until midday Thursday (Nov. 10). Air in the capital had only barely cleared up following a particularly heavy dose of smog.

Airbus is mulling a services unit selloff. The European aerospace group is considering selling its Vector unit, which services and maintains airplanes, according to Reuters. The deal could fetch $800 million, and would allow the group to focus more on its satellite, defense, and missile businesses.

Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the US. The Republican presidential candidate pushed for a “total and complete” end to Muslims—including tourists—entering the country, in reaction to a shooting in California. Fellow Republican candidate Jeb Bush called Trump “unhinged.

A Staples-Office Depot merger isn’t happening just yet. The US Federal Trade Commission challenged Staples’ $6.3 billion bid for its rival, citing concerns that the takeover would reduce competition. Both companies plan to contest the FTC’s decision.

Good news from Japan. It turns out that the Japanese economy wasn’t in recession in the third quarter after all; instead, GDP rose by an annualized 1% in the period. That figure was revised up from a preliminary reading of -0.8%, following a contraction in the second quarter.

Even Christmas couldn’t boost China’s exports. Shipments fell by 3.7% in November from a year earlier, while imports were down by 5.6%, marking their record 13th consecutive monthly decline. Both are bad news for China, which ought to be seeing a rise in demand ahead of Christmas.

Quartz obsession interlude

Nikhil Sonnad on ISIL’s new recruitment song. “If the goal of this song is recruitment, the choice to perform it in Mandarin is puzzling… It seems more likely that doing the song in Mandarin is simply a way to direct a warning at all of China. The song is sure to annoy the Chinese Communist Party, as ISIL has been doing more often of late.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Kids shouldn’t be allowed to play American football. Minors under the age of consent shouldn’t participate in a dangerous game.

Apple waited too long to enter the streaming music wars. The company isn’t providing any incentive to switch from established rivals.

The West should strike a deal with Assad and Putin. Better the devils we know, argues London mayor Boris Johnson.

Surprising discoveries

A Chinese newswire accidentally wrote that Xi Jinping had resigned. Journalists were suspended after a vocabulary mixup.

“Night milk” is better at curing insomnia. Milk collected from cows at night has “enhanced sedative effects.”

Technology could save us from the dentist’s drill. Several methods out there could treat cavities before they occur.

Germany took in more refugees this year than the US has in the past 10. More than half are from Syria.

“Britain’s loneliest schoolboy” is about to get a lot of mail. Reddit users organized a holiday card campaign for the 10-year-old living on a remote Scottish island.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, night milk, and vocabulary mixups to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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