Quartz Daily Brief—Twitter’s IPO, Taliban’s new leader, US economic growth, Lady Gaga’s space gig

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

A nuclear deal with Iran. Two-day talks in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear facilities draw to a close. The six world powers are expected to have offered Iran some relief from sanctions if the country agrees to stop developing its nuclear program.

A sluggish US jobs market. The US is expected to add around 120,000 paid jobs, its weakest growth since March—but could take an even bigger hit from the recent government shutdown. The unemployment rate is expected to rise a notch. Consumer confidence data, key to the holiday shopping season, come out too.

Is Telefónica ripe for takeover? Even though the Spanish telco’s stock has climbed about 20% since August, analysts expect earnings per share to fall 26% from last year on 10.5% lower revenues. Investors will be watching for hints of a potential takeover by AT&T, though that’s starting to look less likely.

Super Typhoon Haiyan hits land. Having already maxed out the scale that measures storm strength, Haiyan is expected to hit the Philippines today. Evacuations have been ordered across the country’s east coast in preparation for what could be the strongest storm ever witnessed.

While you were sleeping

Twitter went public. The seven-year-old company started trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $45.10 per share—73% above the price of $26 set the previous day and valuing the company at $31.34 billion. But investors who bought at the opening price had lost a little money by day’s end.

The Pakistani Taliban named a hardline leader. Mullah Fazlullah will take over after Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike last week. Fazlullah, who ordered the shooting of schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, is said to have already rejected peace talks from the Pakistani government.

The US economy surprised everyone. GDP grew 2.8% in the third quarter, the fastest pace in a year, comfortably beating expectations. However, it was boosted by businesses stocking up on inventory, which could mean the rise is just a blip—unless holiday shoppers buy it all.

The ECB surprised everyone too. Despite expectations that it would hold steady for at least another month, the European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low of 0.25%, after inflation in the euro zone fell to an almost-four-year low in October.

Europe welcomed gay refugees. Europe’s highest court ruled that gay refugees from countries that jail people for homosexuality are eligible for asylum in all of the EU. The ruling concerned three men from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal who had sought asylum in Holland.

A crackdown on fatty foods. The US Food and Drug Administration took its first step toward banning unhealthy trans fats from the food supply, saying that partially hydrogenated oils—a major source of trans fats—are no longer general recognized as safe.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on Spain’s housing bust and the staggering losses that come with it. “This is a painful process of recognizing an ugly real estate reality: There are far more houses than buyers. The result? Sales of repossessed properties were on average done at prices 71.5% lower than where the houses were originally valued. That means the average price for a house that was originally sold for €100,000 in say, 2006, repossessed and then sold during the first half of 2013, would have brought a price of €28,500.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Male phone designers are neglecting female users. Large smartphones, designed to be held overhead for photo-taking or used with one hand, don’t work for women.

Small stores will take bitcoin before major retailers do. It’s simpler and cheaper than accepting credit cards, and faster than PayPal.

Computers are making society less equal. Smart software requires training and a certain cognitive ability and training, which widen the digital divide.

A hard line is the only way to bargain with Iran. The only solution is a complete reversal of the Iranian nuclear program, and the world powers should not relax sanctions for anything else.

Central bankers’ language is too confusing. The more they try to explain their thinking, the more confused the markets get.

Surprising discoveries

How not to get arrested. Rule number one: if police can’t see you, they can’t arrest you.

The blockbuster of Blockbusters. San Antonio has more video rental stores than 40 states put together.

World domination: achieved. Lady Gaga will become the first artist to perform in space, scheduled for 2015.

Religion is about sex, not morals. People’s views on sex are more likely to affect their religiosity than their views about lying, cheating and stealing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, old Blockbuster cards and tips for avoiding cops to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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