Quartz Daily Brief – Americas Edition – China’s new leaders, euro zone back in recession, BP, Nutella

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Hand wringing in Europe as euro zone slips back into recession. The economy of the 17-nation bloc shrank 0.1% between July and September, after shrinking 0.2% in the previous three months, according to Eurostat. The bloc’s last recession happened in 2009. Germany and France’s economies grew in the third quarter of this year, but only by 0.2% each. The Europeans who took to the streets yesterday to protest that austerity measures are not working may have a point.

BP moves closer to Gulf of Mexico compensation deal. The London-based oil producer said it was close to striking a settlement deal with the US government to resolve criminal claims resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The deal would not stop BP being liable for civil claims. BP has so far sold assets worth $35 billion to meet compensation costs.

Why MF Global collapsed: the truth at last? A Republican-led Congressional panel that investigated the collapse of the brokerage firm is set to release a report today said to be highly critical of Jon Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs executive and Democratic Governor of New Jersey, who presided over the firm’s implosion.

Continued focus on Petreaeus. The email controversy continues to make waves in Washington as questions have started to be asked about the timing of the revelations of the former CIA chief’s extramarital affair. Some suspect the scandal was conveniently released at a time when Petreaus was about to answer tough questions on the Obama administration’s handling of a jihadist attack in Libya that killed four Americans.

While you were sleeping

China unveiled new leaders. China’s new top leaders, who are chosen by a small circle of elite Communist Party members, were anointed today. Xi Jinping, who hails from Communist royalty and is thought to favor state-owned enterprises and social controls over economic and political reforms, got the top job. Notably absent from the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, the supreme ruling council, were Liu Yandong, who had been tipped to become the first woman on the committee, and Wang Yang, a reformer who wants to make Chinese people happier. Wang Qishan, an economic liberal popular with Western policy makers, won a junior role.

Political ripples in Japan. Yoshihiko Noda, whose popularity has slumped to an all time low, has announced that he will dissolve parliament on Nov. 16 and called a snap December election. The yen fell sharply on the news, because the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, who look likely to win, have called for unlimited currency printing to stimulate the economy. An LDP win could augur even worse relations between Japan and China. The opposition has taken a deeply nationalist stance on the ongoing spat with China over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea called the Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

Vietnam’s prime minister under fire. In a rare show of dissent for the Communist, one-party state, a member of parliament has called for Vietnamese leader Nguyen Tan Dung to step down over his mismanagement of the economy. As we recently reported, Vietnam may be heading towards a banking crisis.

Quartz obsession interlude

Naomi Rovnick and Lily Kuo on China’s new leaders. “The world’s most populous country has just unveiled its seven new leaders. They marched into Beijing’s Great Hall of the People wearing identical black suits and red ties. Early signs suggest that the line-up does not augur especially well for anyone hoping for greater access for foreign businesses, for a gradual move toward democracy or for greater personal freedoms for the Chinese. Among others, a woman and a reformer who wanted to bring more happiness to China did not make it.”

Matters of debate

The US must broker a power-sharing deal in Syria between warring factions, otherwise “the Middle East erupts in one giant sound and light show of civil wars, states collapsing and refugee dislocations, as the keystone of the entire region — Syria — gets pulled asunder and the disorder spills across the neighborhood,” Thomas Friedman predicts (paywall).

Do China’s new leaders face an economic turning point? Specifically, the Lewis turning point, when the migration of workers from farms to factories, which has been feeding the country’s industrial boom, runs out.

Obama is not, repeat is not, going to crack down on Wall Street.

Surprising discoveries

France is taxing Nutella, and other foods tied to palm and vegetable oil.

The Seattle police have issued a guide to legal pot smokingAdvice on a police-run pot blog includes gems such as: “you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property).”

A man in a giraffe suit is hitchhiking around Scotland doing good deeds.

Pepsi is selling a “fat-blocking” soda in Japan.

The Romans built their empire on one meal a day. And it was not breakfast, which is often said to be the most important.

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