Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Yellen gets the nod, US debt wrangling, menswear M&A, the cheater’s high

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What to watch for today

Obama will pick Janet Yellen… The president will reportedly nominate the 67-year-old as the first-ever chairwoman of the Federal Reserve.

And Fed minutes are released, shedding light on a tense internal debate about when to wind down the stimulus.

Progress on a US debt deal. Maybe. President Barack Obama said he would negotiate with Republican lawmakers on budget issues, but only after they agree to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.

An HP turn-around. Maybe. Investors will be looking for signs that CEO Meg Whitman is finally turning the tech company around, especially its enterprise division selling hardware, software and services to large businesses.

The US will cut military aid to Egypt. Following last year’s crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and ongoing violence in the country, the Obama administration plans to suspend deliveries of jets, helicopters, and tanks.

Peak Brazilian interest rates. Brazil’s central bank is expected to raise the country’s base interest rate—already at 9.0%—by half a percentage point, drawing perilously near to politically unpalatable double-digit rates.

Summits and meetings. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting continues in Washington. Meanwhile, the ASEAN regional bloc holds a summit in Brunei on the heels of APEC’s just-finished gathering.

While you were sleeping

UK factory output unexpectedly fell. Industrial production in August declined 1.1% from July, throwing Britain’s third-quarter rebound into question, although it may simply represent month-to-month volatility.

Menswear M&A. Jos A. Bank offered to buy struggling discount seller Men’s Wearhouse for $2.3 billion.

Wal-Mart is going it alone in India. The retailer, which has been unable to boost growth in the country, will assume its Indian partner’s 50% stake in their Bharti Wal-Mart joint venture.

Bo Xilai’s appeal granted. A court has will consider an appeal from the disgraced politician, who was jailed for life last month in a high-profile corruption case.

Obama said China profited from the shutdown as his absence from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit aided China’s engagement with the region: “I should have been there.”

Iran will offer nuclear limits… The country’s leaders are set to propose halting their production of nuclear fuel in exchange for the easing of US and European sanctions, the Wall Street Journal reported.

…While North Korea restarted its main nuclear reactor. Pyongyang fired up its Yongbyon plant that has been mothballed since 2007, according to a South Korean lawmaker

Apple is preparing to unveil new iPads. AllThingsD reports the firm will release an updated iPad and iPad mini on Oct. 22. No word on whether Fox News-style giant tablets are also in the works.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on market fears of a US default. “The yield on some very-short-term Treasury-bills, normally the safest thing you can possibly own, has been shooting higher. The spike is mostly concentrated around Treasury bills that mature later this month and in early November, just as the US Treasury department will be running low on cash if the debt ceiling isn’t raised… The bond markets are sending a very bad signal about the prospects for any near-term solution to the US debt ceiling fight, and they may even be bracing for a worst-case outcome, such as a default.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Ditch the old phone networks... Few people use the old copper wire technology, and maintenance costs telecom firms $13.5 billion a year.

And build a new Internet. Edward Snowden’s revelations show the need to open up the physical infrastructure underlying our networks.

McDonald’s is in a bind. The fast-food giant wants to provide healthier fare, but its customers are afraid of change.

The US needs a stock market crash. A total loss of confidence from Wall Street could spur conservative Republicans to action.

Surprising discoveries

Joseph Stalin was a great editor. The tyrant used his blue pencil to fine-tune tactics and ideology.

Chinese men identify with Jay Gatsby. The young urban strivers are frustrated in life and love.

The peanut butter test for Alzheimer’s. Changes in the ability to smell are one of the first symptoms of cognitive decline.

Hooked on cheating. Unethical behavior gives us a neurological thrill.

Loud aircraft noise may be bad for your heart. People who live close to airports may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Stalinist edits and spare copper wire to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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