Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—BlackBerry bids, SAC guilty plea, Ryanair profit warning, making broccoli happen

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What to watch for today

Airline merger conditions. US regulators want the parent companies of American Airlines and US Airways to sell off landing slots at crowded airports before approving the creation of the world’s biggest carrier.

Syrian peace talk conditions. The Syrian opposition rejects any Iranian participation and says it won’t attend talks in Geneva unless there’s a clear timeframe for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

BlackBerry bids. Today’s the deadline to trump Fairfax Financial Holdings’ tentative $4.7 billion takeover deal. Cerberus Capital Management is considering a joint bid (paywall) with Qualcomm and BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, and there is even a rumor that Facebook could weigh in.

SAC’s guilty plea. The $15 billion hedge fund run by Steve Cohen is expected to plead guilty to securities fraud (paywall) and pay more than $1 billion in fines to settle an ongoing federal investigation.

Over the weekend

Ryanair cuts profit outlook, again. The discount carrier, Europe’s largest by passengers, said intense competition will reduce fares by 10%, leading to its first drop in profits in five years.

European PMI day. France’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slipped to 49.1, one of only two European economies to contract in October, below the 50 mark that separates contraction from expansion. Ireland surged to 54.1, Spanish PMI increased to 50.9, and Germany rose to 51.7 from 51.1.

HSBC quarterly profits. Europe’s biggest bank posted a 10% increase in quarterly profits, in line with analyst expectations as it benefited from cost cuts, and confirmed it’s cooperating with an investigation into currency market manipulation.

UK growth forecast lifted. The Confederation of British Industry expects the economy to grow 1.4% thistle year and 2.4% percent in 2014, up from 1.2% and 2.3%, respectively.

European car sales are up. French new car registrations increased in October for the second consecutive month of gains, and sales in Germany, the continent’s biggest market, also climbed.

Strike in Bangladesh. At least one person was reported killed in clashes as the opposition party kicked off a three-day nationwide protest. It’s the latest move in a campaign to force prime minister Sheikh Hasina to install a neutral caretaker government before upcoming elections.

China’s non-manufacturing sector accelerated. The service purchasing manager’s index (PMI) rose to 56.3 in October from 55.4 in September, the highest level this year.

JP Morgan hiring probe widened. The bank, which is already being investigated for hiring family members of prominent Chinese officials, is now under scrutiny in South Korea, Singapore and India, as well.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on Brazil’s fears of becoming a de facto Chinese colony. “Some of the outrage probably stems from the fact that Chinese investment hasn’t resulted in deeper trade ties that boost Brazilian manufacturing, as Brazilians had hoped. On first glance, it might appear that Brazil is ahead, since the country runs a trade surplus with China. But some 80% of Brazil’s China exports still come from three commodities: iron ore, oil and soy. China, meanwhile, has expanded the range of products and services it exports to Brazil.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Scandinavian women have it all. Countries like Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden have realized that everyone benefits when men and women share power.

Snowden did Obama a favor. The NSA leaker showed that the lessons of Sept. 11 have yet to be addressed (paywall).

Capital punishment should be done by guillotine. It’s quicker and less painful than lethal injection, and leaves organs usable for medical needs.

It’s, like, totally ok to say “like.” It allows people to dramatize their speech and gives anecdotes some oomph.

Surprising discoveries

Herbal supplements are full of lies. DNA tests reveal many popular pills are diluted or replaced entirely by ground-up rice, wheat, and soybeans.

Amazon for inmates. ships soft drinks, cigarettes, canned food and cassette tapes in packages that meet stringent prison guidelines.

In-utero name that tune. Babies who heard a lullaby during the third trimester recognized the song months after birth.

An ad agency is trying to make broccoli happen. Hey, it worked for kale.   

Tesco goes Minority Report. Cameras above cash registers at Tesco gas stations will scan your eyeballs to identify your gender, age and how long you look at ads.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, retinal scans and favorite lullabies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.


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