Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Ebola cruise fears, Jimmy Choo’s IPO, Apple’s disruptive SIM, middle-aged hip-hop

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What to watch for today

Ebola risk on a cruise ship. A Dallas health care worker who handled lab specimens of an Ebola patient is on a Caribbean cruise where she has quarantined herself. The US government is exploring ways to extract the woman, who has shown no signs of the disease 19 days after exposure.

German hostages in the Philippines. Islamist Abu Sayyaf militants have threatened to execute one of two captive Germans unless their government pays 250 million Philippine pesos ($5.56 million) and stops supporting US-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. The group’s deadline passed this morning without any word on the hostages’ fate.

The US raises the roof. A report from the US commerce department is expected to show that the country’s new housing construction climbed in September, after several months of decline; US mortgage rates remain historically low.

Trump gets trumped. Trump Entertainment may close its Taj Mahal casino in New Jersey over a fight with unionized workers about health care and pensions. The decision hangs on a bankruptcy judge’s ruling.

Janet Yellen offers her insights. The chair of the Federal Reserve is expected to clarify her stance on when to raise interest rates. A downturn in the euro zone may push back an expected 2015 rate increase.

While you were sleeping

Starvation fears are complicating the fight against Ebola. Some patients are leaving West African quarantine zones because of a lack of basic food supplies, according to a report in the Independent. The disease has left farms unattended and disrupted supply chains; as many as 750,000 people are at risk of a famine.

Hong Kong lawmakers planned to “occupy” the government. Pro-democracy legislators may start blocking spending bills if the government does not agree to universal suffrage reforms, one legislator told Quartz. Separately, Hong Kong police largely dismantled another Occupy site, removing barricades, tents, and umbrellas that were blocking a major thoroughfare.

Jimmy Choo got a mildly positive reception. Shares of the British luxury shoemaker rose by about 7% in their market debut. Investors are watching the stock closely to gauge interest in IPOs amid European market turmoil.

Rolls-Royce became the latest bearer of economic gloom. The bellwether engine-maker said its underlying revenue for 2014 would be 3.5%-4% lower than in 2013; it had previously forecast flat growth. Sanctions against Russia and a deteriorating economic climate will also make 2015 more challenging, it said.

Tiger Airways sold its Australian unit for a dollar. Virgin Australia bought the 40% of the budget carrier’s local unit it didn’t already own for A$1 ($0.88), and said it plans to make the unit profitable within two years by exploiting economies of scale. Separately, Singapore Airlines will raise its stake in the remainder of Tiger Airlines, making it a 55%-owned subsidiary.

Quartz obsession interlude

Daniel Medina on the economic perils of more extreme weather. “The polar vortex brought record-low temperatures and high snow totals to large swaths of the US last winter and had a chilling effect on the economy too, stagnating growth. The US economy’s real GDP fell to an annualized pace of -2% in the first quarter in February just as the polar vortex was in full swing, and economists largely attributed the drop to the extreme weather.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Freezing eggs isn’t draconian, it’s progressive. It suits the 21st century’s family values.

The future of robotics is either R2D2 or C-3PO. And humanity better hope that R2 wins out.

A little panic is a good thing. Maybe it’s time we stopped being so nonchalant about Ebola.

The nuclear deal with Iran is more important than ISIL. If the world can only pick one battle, it should be Iran’s nuclear program.

Pakistan has Pakistan to thank for its problems. Neither India nor foreign extremists are the root cause.

Surprising discoveries

Israel is building vertical cemeteries. Pioneered in Asia, the concept has now been deemed kosher.

Apple slipped a disruptive SIM card into its iPad unveiling. It lets users easily switch between mobile carriers.

Scientists made a one-atom thick electrical generator. It could make clothes a new power source.

Rap is joining rock in middle age. A radio station in Houston is switching to a classic hip-hop format.

Stomach bacteria can get jetlag, too. Long distance flights increase microbes that are linked to obesity, so skip that business class ice cream sundae.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, classic hip-hop, and high-rise burial plots to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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