Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Earnings galore, Obama’s web glitches, US Navy corruption scandal, Mexican clown assassin

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What to watch for today

Obama addresses website glitches. The president will outline steps to fix the technical issues hampering signups at the new US health insurance portal. Had it been a commercial startup, here’s how would have looked.

Big data’s return. The newly reopened US government begins to clear a backlog of economic data this week. It’s also the peak of third-quarter earnings; amid sluggish sales so far, all eyes will be on companies’ revenue growth. McDonald’s, Netflix, Manpower, Halliburton and Texas Instruments are all reporting today.

Best Frenemies Forever. Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh travels to Russia and China for one of his last major foreign visits before India’s elections. In a meeting with Vladmir Putin, Singh is expected to ask about arms purchases. Meanwhile, diplomats are hoping to finalize an agreement between India and China over longstanding border tensions.

Political sidestep. The US state of New Jersey begins performing same-sex marriages. Governor Chris Christie says he disagrees with the policy but will not stand in its way—a stumbling block as the prominent Republican eyes re-election and perhaps even the White House.

San Francisco’s public transit strike continues. Commuters in the chronically traffic-jammed city will likely still be without BART trains after failed negotiations over workers’ contracts.

While you were sleeping

The US Navy is embroiled in a bribery scandal. Several uniformed commanders have been arrested for taking kickbacks from a Singapore-based defense contractor that frequently overcharged for services like fuel and tug boats.

Mexico and France condemned US snooping.  Documents leaked by Edward Snowden claim the US accessed former Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s email, which Mexico said was “unacceptable” and “illegitimate.” In France, the US ambassador was summoned to answer for alleged NSA spying against tens of thousands of French citizens.

Japanese exports slowed. September data showed exports increased 11.5% from a year earlier, which was less than expected. A weaker yen may not be be enough to make up for decreased emerging market demand.

JPMorgan’s civil suit. The bank is set to pay the US government a record $13 billion to settle a civil probe into its mortgage-bonds business, but a criminal inquiry remains unresolved.

Is BofA next? The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, wants Bank of America to pay more than $6 billion for alleged securities law violations, the Financial Times reports.

Quartz obsession interlude

Todd Woody on how you shouldn’t write Big Solar off yet. “There are currently 36,794 MW worth of projects under development in the US. SNL expects a building boom over the next two years with more than half of that solar coming online to qualify for a 30% federal tax credit that is set to fall to 10% by the end of 2016.” Read more here 

Matters of debate

Shame on football reporters. A retired sportswriter regrets that he too often penned NFL puff pieces that downplayed the sport’s brutality.

Don’t forget India’s good men. Stories of male violence in the news, but the vast majority of men in India are “committed, concerned, cautious,” and family-focused.

Stop calling the Tea Party stupid. It will only embolden them.

“Lean In” is lazy. Susan Faludi asks: What is the movement really confronting?

Surprising discoveries

Craft-brewed scents. Forget exotic plants—scientists are creating fragrances out of genetically modified yeast.

An assassin dressed like a clown, complete with a red nose and wig, killed a Mexican drug lord at a family gathering by the sea.

A “mobile” wallet to deter shopaholics. A Japanese company’s “living wallet” has wheels and propels itself away from owners’ grasping hands.

The US fired 6 billion bullets in Iraq between 2002 and 2005. That’s about 300,000 for every person killed.

Japan’s celibacy syndrome. Another reason for the country’s population bust: young people have stopped having sex.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fleeing wallets, and small-batch fragrances to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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