Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Bitcoin’s surge, Berlusconi’s booting, Indian incubators, uncaring cats

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Haiyan’s hit to the Philippines’ economy. Typhoon Haiyan could have sliced up to 0.8% off the Philippines’ GDP growth this quarter, after the country beat China last quarter to rank as Asia’s fastest-growing economy.

The state of England. The Bank of England releases its semiannual financial stability report today. The bank raised its growth forecasts earlier this month after unemployment fell, so investors will be looking out for any signs of weakness.

A subdued EU celebration. The “Eastern Partnership Summit” opens in Vilnius. After Armenia and, last week, Ukraine announced that they’re joining a Russian-led customs union, only Georgia and Moldova plan to sign free-trade agreements with the EU. But hey, Ukraine will sign a Common Aviation Area Agreement.

Thanksgiving in the US. American markets are closed today for Thanksgiving, and the traditional Macy’s Parade could suffer a similar fate if its giant helium balloons fail to fly in the face of 40 mph gusts of wind.

While you were sleeping

The American Airlines-US Airways merger was cleared. A judge approved the deal, which will help pull American out of its two-year bankruptcy and return more than $13 billion to its shareholders. The merged airline will surrender rights at seven key airports to appease antitrust concerns. Consumer groups might still appeal, though.

Bitcoin hit a record high. Bitcoin broke above the $1,000 mark, reaching $1,073 at one point—78 times its price at the start of this year—only to crash back to $930 by the day’s end, in a sign that the digital currency is becoming ever more of a bubble.

The ECB warned of financial risks. Despite a strengthening economy, the euro zone’s markets are more susceptible to risks from outside the currency bloc than they were six months ago, the European Central Bank warned (paywall)—mostly due to expectations that the US Federal Reserve will dial back its economic stimulus.

Tragedy at a Brazilian World Cup site. Three workers were killed at Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians when a crane collapsed at the venue set to host the opening match of the 2014 soccer World Cup. The Brazilian government also announced that building plans for the tournament will be $421 million over budget.

Silvio Berlusconi was booted from the senate. The former prime minister of Italy, recently sentenced to jail for tax fraud, was expelled from the senate by his colleagues. Berlusconi called it “a day of mourning for democracy.” News agency photographers will mourn too.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on why Target and Coca Cola are setting up tech incubators in India. “Why is a sugared-drinks maker trying to create the next Twitter? The answer is simple: There is no such thing as a tech company any more. But the corollary to that is that every company is a tech company—or it better be if it wants to survive. Target, Coke and most other firms are looking to tech start-ups to help keep their core business—whether that is selling beverages or t-shirts—moving with the times. But why do it in India? Well, why not?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Should cities get bailouts? It doesn’t seem fair that US taxpayers stepped in to help a bankrupt Detroit, but not a Hurricane Sandy-ravaged New York.

Crying “Munich” is meaningless. Comparing the Iran deal to Chamberlain’s cowardice against Hitler is absurd.

Don’t mistake Pope Francis for a liberal. His views on economics and wealth may seem like something from Occupy Wall Street, but on women and gays, he’s with the Tea Party.

Surprising discoveries

Turkey doesn’t put you to sleep. The tryptophan in turkeys, commonly blamed for post-Thanksgiving snoozes, wouldn’t knock you out were it not for all the carbs and booze you consume along with it.

Presidential pardons. Obama has pardoned almost as many turkeys as criminal drug offenders.

DIY cell phones. Feel like a new phone this holiday season? Make your own.

Your cat does recognize your voice. It just doesn’t care very much.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, DIY phone blueprints and Thanksgiving dinner leftovers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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