Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Alibaba’s IPO supersizes, climate change protests, Apple phablet converts, hamster wheel desks

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What to watch for today

The United Nations confab continues in New York. The general assembly will tackle several pressing global issues, including climate change and a response to Africa’s Ebola epidemic. US representatives said several nations have expressed support for its plan to counter the Islamic State.

Hong Kong tycoons pay tribute to Xi Jinping. A delegation of business leaders will attend a summit organized by the Chinese government department that is pursuing anti-monopoly investigations against foreign businesses. The leaders have also publicly denounced Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement that is calling for more democracy and autonomy.

Will Ebola fears keep Nigeria’s schools closed? The government has ordered that schools be re-opened, but the Nigeria Union of Teachers has asked its members to shun the deadline and delay until the middle of October. Eight people have died of Ebola in Nigeria so far.

US economy data points. The latest monthly existing home sales are revealed, and two members of the Federal Reserve’s board speak in New York and Michigan, as investors look for more direction on interest rates now that quantitive easing is ending.

Over the weekend

Alibaba’s IPO became the biggest in history. Bankers working on the Chinese internet giant’s public offering exercised the “green shoe” option (paywall) to purchase additional shares, raising the total proceeds from $21.8 billion to $25 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The world stood up against climate change. More than 300,000 people marched in Manhattan to demand cuts to global carbon emissions in the run-up to Tuesday’s United Nations climate summit. Al Gore and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were among those present at the People’s Climate March, part of coordinated demonstrations that took place in about 160 countries.

Islamic State threatened the West. In a video message posted to Twitter, a spokesman for the group called on Muslims to kill “disbelievers” in the US and allied countries, including France and Canada. “You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms,” said Abu Muhammed al-Adnani.

Tesco made a $400 million accounting mistake. The UK’s largest grocer overstated expected profits by £250 million—the latest in a series of missteps that has resulted in five straight years of sales decline. Four executives including the company’s UK managing director have been suspended; Tesco shares dropped by as much as 12%.

Siemens bought into the US fracking boom. Europe’s largest engineering company is paying $7.6 billion for Dresser-Rand Group, a US manufacturer of oil and gas compressors and turbines. Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said the company was late to take advantage of the US shale gas boom, but is planning more acquisitions in the sector.

Afghanistan finalized a power-sharing deal. Ashraf Ghani, the certified winner of a disputed election earlier this year, will be president. His defeated rival, Abdullah Abdullah, will nominate a chief executive with powers similar to those of a prime minister.

Yemeni rebels seized the capital. Power-sharing negotiations are underway after a Shiite militia took control of government buildings and military bases in Sana’a. Sunni governments in the region believe the group, known as the Houthis, is backed by Iran.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on why Apple fans are converts to the appeal of bigger phones. “Demand for phablets is the fastest growing segment of mobile devices. So much so that Dan Frakes, the former senior editor of Macworld, decided to get the biggest iPhone ever made. ‘I think that in the past, we truly believed that the idea of a huge phone was silly,’ Frakes wrote. ‘But many of us, for a lack of better phrasing, have evolved—and so has the hardware.'” Read more here.

Matters of debate

India is wrong about Uber. An unaccountable regulator is holding the country back.

The GOP could benefit from gay marriage laws. Plenty of gay couples would vote Republican if it led to lower taxes.

Hong Kong has too much government. Housing is where the public sector is most involved, and that’s where the biggest problems are.

Everything is a “women’s issue.” Using feminism to talk about poverty could be Hillary Clinton’s biggest weapon. 

“Lost” changed the way the world watches TV. Its story gripped viewers at the beginning of the social media boom.

Surprising discoveries

Men have worse memories than women. It’s because of the way their parents spoke to them as children.

Forget the treadmill—get a hamster wheel desk. Embrace the rat race.

It’s difficult to rob a medieval weapons enthusiast. A Kansas burglar was hospitalized after a homeowner stabbed him with a spear.

Starbucks is testing beer-flavored lattes. They reportedly taste like Guinness.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, outré latte flavorings, and medieval home security techniques to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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