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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—SpaceX makes history, Burundi’s showdown, runway turtles

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

China tries to woo South Korea. The two nations will discuss the disputed Yellow Sea in negotiations they agreed to last year. China is expected to go easy on South Korea, and use that as leverage in their larger fight over the South China Sea.

Burundi faces the African Union. The AU gave the country, which has seen a surge in violent protests since the summer, until today to allow its peace-keeping troops in. Burundi has said it will treat foreign troops as an “invasion.”

Mexico goes digital. More than 3 million households will have to buy a digital TV or be left with static on the tube as the nation switches from analog to digital broadcasting—which creates a great business opportunity for pay-TV providers like Dish Network and Televisa.

Turkey may raise rates, too. The central bank, meeting for the final time this year, has already signaled that it may follow the US Federal Reserve’s lead in hiking interest rates. Mexico, Chile, and Colombia have already done the same.

While you were sleeping

SpaceX successfully landed a reusable rocket. The Elon Musk-led company delivered 11 communications satellites into orbit and then landed its reusable Falcon 9, making history in the process. That’s a great boost for SpaceX; perfecting the reusable rocket is key to profitability.

Chinese rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang avoided jail. A Beijing court handed the high-profile human rights activist a three-year suspended jail sentence for tweeting criticism of the government. The light touch (many expected up to eight years in jail) may signal the government’s eagerness to avoid further bad press.

A Taliban attack in Afghanistan killed six US soldiers. A suicide bomber drove a motorcycle into a NATO-Afghan patrol in Bagram, in the north of the country. The attack occurred amid reports the Taliban is gaining territory in the southern Helmand province.

Matteo Renzi criticized the EU’s austerity measures. The Italian prime minister blamed the European Union’s insistence on austerity for pushing voters to dangerous, populist parties. Renzi, speaking to the Financial Times (paywall), warned that the EU must allow for greater flexibility between members.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Pasick on the magic of Spotify’s curated playlists. “The quality of Discover Weekly’s picks is so consistently good, it’s a bit uncanny. After I received several excellent playlists in a row, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Spotify had figured me out, along with 75 million other people. Answering that question led me down the rabbit hole of how the system works in the first place—and how an algorithm can delve into the deeply subjective realm of music to predict the songs that will make my pulse race and my head nod.” Read more here.

Market haiku

A lot of bouncing
Everyone’s avoiding
Oil on the way down

Matters of debate

Family planning will help reign in climate change. Having fewer children will protect the planet’s natural resources.

The US Democratic party is out of touch with young black voters. Its candidates will need more than outdated rhetoric to court them (paywall).

Preschool is crushing American kids. “School readiness” isn’t helping young children succeed in the long run.

Surprising discoveries

Planes hit more turtles than drones. Maybe the US Federal Aviation Administration should be banning turtles instead?

Pollution isn’t just bad for your health. Childhood exposure to air pollution is also linked to lower salaries later on.

Nutella will personalize a jar with your name. Unless your name is Isis.

An insurance company is selling cyberbullying insurance. It will cover court costs and, should you need it, relocation fees.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, personalized Nutella jars, and preschool survival tips to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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