Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Philippines GDP hit, Japan flies over disputed islands, Indian incubators, pecan pie shortages

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What to watch for today

The state of Britain. 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

Japan and South Korea flew through China’s no-fly zone. Following US B-52s buzzing the airspace above disputed islands that China has called a no-go zone, Tokyo said it has also conducted routine flights through the area. “We are not going to change this” activity “out of consideration to China,” said an official. South Korea also said it flew a military plane through the zone.

German unemployment rose in November for the fourth month, with the number of jobless increasing a seasonally adjusted 10,000 to 2.985 million. The unemployment rate remained at 6.9%.

Burberry appealed to China over its tartan. The maker of luxury goods wants China’s Trademark Office to reconsider its decision to to cancel trademark protection for Burberry’s well-known tan, black, and red tartan pattern.

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.

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

It’s not the Beastie Boys’s fault. GoldieBlox claims it’s fighting sexism, but the toy company simply doesn’t have the right to use the band’s classic song “Girls” in ads for its products.

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.

Surprising discoveries

An audio map of American accents. Here’s a visual representation, with audio, of people using regionally specific words for everyday items like carbonated beverages and sandwiches.

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.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tales of video game rapture, and spare pecans to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.


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