Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Super Typhoon Haiyan, Iran nuclear talks, China summit nears, bulletproof suits

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What to watch for today

Kerry joins Iran nuclear talks. Secretary of state John Kerry is on his way to Geneva to join discussions over Iran’s nuclear facilities. The six world powers are expected to offer 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 jobs, its weakest growth since March—but could take an even bigger hit from the recent government shutdown. Consumer confidence data, key to the holiday shopping season, come out too.

China’s policy summit nears. The country’s top officials will gather in Beijing from tomorrow through Tuesday to map out the country’s economic plan for the next decade. Here are some of the reasons why the meeting is important.

Global currency probe moves to the US. Global regulators are investigating possible manipulations of the foreign exchange market, with banks such as Barclays, Deutsche Bank, UBS, JPMorgan and more confirming their cooperation. Now Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have become involved, as well (paywall).

While you were sleeping

Super Typhoon Haiyan pummeled the Philippines. Having already maxed out the scale that measures storm strength, Haiyan has been battering the central Philippines with winds of up to 146 mph. At least three people have died and millions are seeking shelter.

Germany’s trade surplus hit a record high. September’s exports rose 1.7% to 92.8 billion euros ($124 billion) from August, while imports fell 1.9% to 73.9 billion euros. The US says Germany’s surplus hurts euro zone neighbors.

France’s credit was downgraded. Standard & Poor’s cut the country’s sovereign credit rating to AA from AA+, saying president Francois Hollande’s economic reforms won’t improve the country’s growth prospects.

Telefonica’s margins improved. Last quarter’s revenues for Spain’s biggest phone company fell 12% to 3.2 billion euros ($4.3 billion), but profit margins grew by 2.8% to 50.2% compared to a year earlier. The company’s net debt also fell.

Chinese police arrested a Shanxi blast suspect. Police say the 41-year-old man confessed his involvement in Wednesday’s explosions outside a Communist Party office that killed one person and hurt eight.

China’s exports rebounded, rising 5.6% last month from a year earlier, while imports increased 7.6%. Both numbers beat market expectations after exports surprisingly fell in September.

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

The death of traffic is coming. New transportation technologies and—mostly—a shorter work week will mean reduced traffic congestion in the years ahead.

The US should tell us everything Snowden knows. Obama’s administration must know what revelations are likely still to come from the leaker, and should simply level with the public.

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.

Surprising discoveries

A bulletproof three-piece suit. A tailor has created a vest, suit jacket, and trousers lined with sheets of carbon nanotubes that render knives and bullets harmless.

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

Burger King’s newest Big Mac clone. The “new” Big King sandwich is the company’s latest attempt to copy McDonald’s’ signature sandwich.

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

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