Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Philippines GDP hit, Berlusconi’s booting, Indian incubators, pecan pie shortages

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What to watch for today

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, Lithuania. After Armenia and—just last week—Ukraine announced they’re joining a Russian-led customs union, only Georgia and Moldova plan to sign free-trade agreements with the EU.

Thanksgiving in the US. American markets are closed today for Thanksgiving, and the traditional Macy’s Parade in New York City could be hit if its giant helium balloons are grounded in the face of 40 mph winds.

While you were sleeping

Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines’ economy. Gross domestic product increased 7% in the three months through September compared to a year earlier, down from 7.6% growth the previous quarter. It’s the slowest rate of expansion in over a year.

Retail sales rose in Japan, gaining 2.3% in October year-on-year, with automobile sales leading the way. That’s a good sign for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who’s trying to boost consumer spending.

Thailand’s PM survived a no-confidence vote. Yingluck Shinawatra’s ruling party voted down a measure brought by the opposition, but protests continue. Demonstrators have now cut electricity to the country’s equivalent of the FBI.

Vale is paying part of its back-tax bill. The Brazilian miner will shell out 22.325 billion reais ($9.61 billion) it owes the government for profits on its operations abroad.

Barclays must pay an ex-trader $2.1 million. The US’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ordered the company to pay a New York-based derivatives trader it fired in connection with alleged Libor rigging.

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

The turkey pardon is stupid. Obama spared a 38-pound bird named Popcorn from its fate on a Thanksgiving table yesterday, but the silly practice is not even a real “tradition.”

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

First-person shooter games provide “flow.” One reason the likes of Half-Life 2 are so popular is that those who play them can enter a state of sublime happiness.

There will be fewer pecan pies this Thanksgiving. Chinese demand is up for the nuts and a drought has limited US production, meaning prices in American supermarkets have skyrocketed.

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.

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

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

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