Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Twitter’s opening bell, Arafat poisoning probe, Abenomics under fire, Xi Jinping’s fashion statement

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What to watch for today

The US economy is still hurting. GDP growth is expected to slow to 2% in the third quarter, compared with 2.5%  in the quarter before. On Friday, jobs data are also expected to show an uptick in unemployment, which could lead the US Federal Reserve to delay its “tapering” of loose monetary policy.

The ECB chooses optimism. Economists expect the European Central Bank to keep interest rates unchanged as Europe shows flickers of recovery. But falling inflation could spur the bank to use one of its last remaining rate cuts in December.

Twitter’s first day of trading. The hottest Internet offering since Facebook priced its IPO  at $26 per share, valuing the firm at $14.2 billion, and will begin trading on the NYSE on Thursday morning.

Typhoon Haiyan hits the Philippines, packing steady winds of up to 135 knots (250km per hour), which would make it the strongest storm of 2013.

While you were sleeping

Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned. High levels of the  radioactive element polonium-210 were found in the late Palestinian leader’s exhumed body. Arafat had many enemies in the Arab world and among fellow Palestinians, but suspicion quickly fell on Israel.

Attacking Abenomics. Internet billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani criticized the Japanese prime minister for moving too slowly (paywall) on reforms, as his cabinet unveiled plans to slash rice subsidies but also backed away from a pledge to liberalize online pharmaceutical sales.

Australian labor market remains softUnemployment was stable at 5.7% in October as the economy adjusted to a new era of non-mining driven growth.

World oil prices may be rigged. Former oil traders have brought a lawsuit with the most detailed allegations yet of price-fixing for Brent crude, and the EU is reportedly preparing to fine six banks at least €1.5 billion ($2.03 billion) for manipulating the yen Libor. Is any international benchmark free of manipulation these days?

Internet killed the video store. Blockbuster is closing the last of its US stores—here’s a brief, illustrated history of its demise.

Bitcoin hits a new high. The digital currency has rebounded from the closure of the illicit Silk Road market and is up more than 20-fold this year, thanks largely to growth in China.

H7N9 resurfaces in ChinaFour cases of the dangerous avian influenza have been reported in the last three weeks as flu season gets underway.  

A peace deal came closer in Colombia. The government and FARC rebels reached an agreement on allowing former rebels to enter politics, a keystone of any deal to end the five-decade-long conflict.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on the risks in Twitter’s IPO that no one seems to care about. “In the run up to Twitter’s much-anticipated IPO, the company has done its utmost to distance itself from the troubles that beset Facebook when it went public. But one risk Wall Street may be overlooking is how the supply of Twitter shares will be made available for sale. The supply of Twitter shares is set to increase dramatically in the months following the company’s IPO.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Stop subsidizing climate change. A UN meeting in Warsaw next week should agree to end subsidies to fossil-fuel industries instead of prioritizing renewable energy and carbon markets.

China is good for Africa. The common view of China as an exploitative imperialist power doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. 

Let your sales and marketing teams fight a little bit. A bit of creative tension between their differing conceptions of the customer can be productive.

Edward Snowden faces a sad and lonely future. Like Philip Agee, an early CIA whistleblower, he can never return home; unlike Agee, he can’t do much else with his life.

3D printing is the end of Walmart as we know it. Personalized manufacturing won’t just disrupt big manufacturers, but also big retailers.

Surprising discoveries

The sartorial stylings of Xi Jinping. A new blog chronicles the extremely high waistline of China’s president.

Advances in fluid dynamics. “Whiz kids” at BYU use high-speed cameras to solve the vexing problem of urinal splashback.

Welcome to Waterworld. Cairo, Alexandria, and all of Bangladesh will be submerged if all the world’s ice melts.

Beijing has more billionaires than Los Angeles. But their numbers may be peaking and could soon fall.

Video games make your brain bigger. Playing Mario 64 increases gray matter—brain tissue for muscle control, memory, and sensory perception.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Googoosha hits, and global maps for 7013 to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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