Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Iran-UN talks, China’s selective unblocking, Kenya mall siege endgame, black hole fireworks

September 24, 2013
September 24, 2013

What to watch for today

UN General Assembly gets underway. Diplomats from the US, Russia, Britain, France and China will discuss the resolution on destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. US secretary of state John Kerry will meet his Iranian counterpart on Thursday; Iran hailed a “new era” on nuclear talks.

Diffident US consumers. Conference Board sentiment numbers are likely to dip to 80.0 in September from 81.5 last month, as consumers worry about rising mortgage rates. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for July is expected to post its biggest jump since 2006.

Canadians go shopping. July retail sales are expected to show a rebound after the year’s steepest decline in June.

While you were sleeping

China will unblock Facebook, Twitter and the New York Times, but only in its new Shanghai free trade zone.

China backed a North Korea weapons ban. Beijing, the DPRK’s only major ally, publicly endorsed sanctions outlawing the export of materials that Pyongyang could use to make missiles and other weapons.

South Korea’s $7.7 billion jet deal in limbo. Seoul voted down Boeing’s 60-plane F-15 Silent Eagle tender, even though it was the only firm to submit an eligible bid.

Germans grew more confident. The IFO business sentiment index for September improved for a fifth straight month in September, climbing to 107.7. While it fell short of the 108.2 consensus forecast, the uptick points to a European rebound.

The Kenya mall siege nears an end. Security forces are combing Nairobi’s Westgate mall for al-Shabaab militants, which Kenya’s foreign minister said includes “two or three” Americans and a British woman.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on how a new hedge fund advertising rule could reshape investing. “The new rules allow private companies to tell whoever they want that they’re looking for funds, but also bear the burden of  filing paperwork in a timely manner and making sure any would-be investors are really accredited. The upshot is that a lot more of the 8.5 million accredited investors (pdf) in the US would be able to invest in private companies.” Read more here.

Matters of debate 

Washington is in Wall Street’s pocket. Intense lobbying and the revolving door between the industry and the White House are hindering effective regulation.

Companies should chill out about health screenings. Too much of anything—even prevention—is a bad idea.

If your company’s customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworth’s. And other pearls of wisdom from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

“Co-sleeping” is no good for moms or kids. Those who believe in “attachment parenting” have got it all wrong.

Surprising discoveries

Chin bought 5% of Ukraine. Beijing inked a deal to farm up to three million hectares of Ukrainian land over the span of half a century.

South Korea’s cyber-security talent hunt. Winners of Seoul’s program to recruit new experts will share a prize of 80 million won ($74,000).

Fireworks at the center of the galaxy. The black hole at the core of the Milky Way is about to trigger a flare-up as bright as a million suns—though still too dim to see from Earth.

Don’t you forget about me. An average person forgets four key facts or events every day.

Winnebagos are all the rage in China. Consumers see the rides as deluxe, roomy status symbols, and foreign RV makers are expanding in the country.

How do you knit a chain-link fence? One link at a time (video).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unforgettable facts and Chinese Winnebagos to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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