Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Tunisian talks, Twitter’s price, Dr Marten’s, manfluencers™

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What to watch for today

Talks in Tunisia. Negotiations to end a worsening conflict between the Islamist Ennahda party, which was elected to power after the Arab Spring revolt, and the secular opposition will take place today, having been delayed after protestors took to the streets of Tunis earlier this week.

Further signs of a British recovery. Analysts expect that third-quarter GDP will show 0.8% growth. Those hopes yesterday boosted the pound sterling, which had already hit a three-week high in the previous session.

Czechs choose a new government. The left is expected to win a general election after a spying and bribery scandal brought down the center-right government earlier this summer. Support for the coalition government was also dragged down by the country’s 18-month long recession.

Samsung posts record earnings. The South Korean tech giant is expected to announce revenue of $55.5 billion and operating profit of $9.5 billion on the back of solid smartphone sales and a strong chip division. Also posting today are UPS, Kia Motors, Weyerhauser and Petrobras.

While you were sleeping

Twitter priced its public offering. Twitter set a preliminary price range of $17 to $20 per share for its IPO, which could raise as much as $1.4 billion for the seven-year-old company. That implies a valuation of around $11 billion, lower than expected. Twitter is expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange in the first week of November.

The NSA’s eavesdropping knows no bounds. The US National Security Agency monitored phone conversations of 35 world leaders, according to files leaked by Edward Snowden. The news in the Guardian came the day after Germany’s Angela Merkel called Barack Obama to complain about the NSA tapping her phone.

Carl Icahn launched himself as a fighter for democracy. The hedge fund manager and activist investor used his new online platform, named Shareholders’ Square Table, to urge Apple CEO Tim Cook to return more cash to shareholders.

Permira went shoe shopping. The London-based private equity firm agreed to buy R Griggs, the maker of punk-popular boot maker Dr. Martens, for $486 million. Permira is buying the 91.5% stake that the Griggs family unsuccessfully tried to sell last year.

Brazil doesn’t want to pay for the World Cup. Federal prosecutors in Brazil have sought an injunction to block the use of public funds to pay for soccer stadia for next year’s FIFA World Cup—a move they say could save up to $546 million of public money.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on how marketers invented the “manfluencer™”—a man who does most of the household shopping and cooking. ”Already, marketers are rolling out packaged goods designed to appeal to the newly-empowered manfluencer. These include everything from frozen yogurt for men, which comes in black packaging and was immediately christened “brogurt”, to cold-brew coffee (also black). As is the case with a great deal of marketing, many of those who are being persuaded don’t realize what’s happening.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The age of bullshit investments is back. Five years after the Lehman Brothers crash, bizarre investments are on the rise, from virtual currencies to NFL players.

High heels are the glass ceiling of technology. Dressing well in the tech industry isn’t the done thing, and that could be holding women back.

Clean air rules are a waste of time. President Obama’s proposed regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants will accomplish almost nothing.

Cleaning up Beijing’s air will devastate western China. Converting coal to synthetic natural gas will use vast amounts of water from the already desiccated western provinces.

JP Morgan’s mammoth fine isn’t fair. The US legal system is supposed to hold people accountable for specific violations of specific rules, but this judgment rests on sweeping assertions and novel interpretations of obscure laws.

Surprising discoveries

Get emails from your dog. Now you can keep tabs on your furry friends with this dog collar attachment that emails you about where your pooch is and what it’s doing.

Why boiling kettles whistle. Amazingly, it took scientists 100 years to figure it out, but now the knowledge could help prevent other irritating noises.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was wearing a high-visibility jacket, made especially for poultry pedestrians and a snip at £12 ($20).

Goldman Sachs has now spawned two rap careers. Both rappers have since left the bank. Neither seems to have given up his day job, though.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, bizarre investment opportunities and talking or walking pets to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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