Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Brazil’s Rousseff re-elected, Ebola quarantine loosened, Twitter results, scary clowns unfunny

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What to watch for today

Samantha Power visits West Africa. The US ambassador to the United Nations arrived in Guinea this weekend and is set to visit Sierra Leone and Liberia on an Ebola outbreak fact-finding mission.

#Earnings. Twitter reports third quarter results after its previous results were helped by the World Cup, which increased social media participation. Ultimately, a significant increase in its active user base and better monetization will be required to justify its current share price.

Merck gets a once-over. Competition from generics is expected to hurt the global drug maker’s third quarter results, but investors will be looking for good news surrounding its immuno-oncology medicines.

Over the weekend

Dilma Rousseff won Brazil’s closest presidential election in decades. The incumbent Brazilian president narrowly triumphed over pro-business challenger Aécio Neves. The election was largely seen as a referendum on Rousseff’s leftist Worker’s Party, which has ruled the country since 2003 and lifted millions out of poverty, but has recently struggled to boost the country’s flagging economy.

New York and New Jersey loosened their Ebola quarantine a bit. New York governor Andrew Cuomo and his New Jersey counterpart Chris Christie said health workers returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa could be quarantined in their own homes. A stricter policy prompted intense criticism after a nurse returning from Sierra Leone was confined to a hastily-erected tent in New Jersey.

A busy day for democracy… In addition to Brazil, many voters around the world cast their ballots on Sunday. Exit polls in Ukraine suggested that over 75% of voters chose staunchly pro-Western parties (paywall) in parliamentary elections, though elections were not held in Crimea or in areas with high numbers of pro-Russian separatists. Uruguay’s presidential election went to a run-off, and votes are still being tallied in Tunisia’s crowded election, which will test its new, post-Arab Spring democracy.

…But not in Hong Kong. Leaders of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement abruptly canceled a poll that asked the public about how to proceed with pro-democracy protests, citing “different opinions” within the movement and raising questions about demonstrators’ unity and ultimate endgame. Meanwhile, an anti-Occupy rally turned violent on Saturday, earning condemnation from Hong Kong’s chief executive, who called the assaults on journalists and students “a savage act.”

Thousands protested an internet tax in Hungary. Activists hurled computer parts at the economy ministry after the government proposed a levy of 140 forints ($0.60) per gigabyte of data traffic. The government said it would cap charges at 700 forints.

Some European banks need more capital. Twenty-five banks failed the European Central Bank’s latest stress tests—the fourth time euro zone authorities have assessed the health of financial institutions since 2009. Banks in Italy need to raise the most capital to bring their balance sheets up to scratch.

Retailers blocked Apple Pay. Wal-Mart, CVS, and Best Buy are among the retailers that have disabled contact-less payments from companies like Apple and Wallet. CVS and Rite Aid, which also shut down its mobile payment system, have their own e-payments app on the way next year.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on Europe stress-testing its banks. Again. “Embarrassed by three previous tests that proved far too tame, European banking regulators, for the better part of a year, have been poring over balance sheets, loan portfolios, and business plans in unprecedented detail. This time, banks that are judged too optimistic in valuing their assets or too complacent in building buffers to shield themselves from future turmoil will not escape the regulators’ wrath.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

More cities should dig canals to deal with rising tides. Boston may be the first to follow Venice’s example.

Haters have been hating for a long time. Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard advised how to deal with them nearly 200 years ago.

Sexual preferences are a human right. An ex-CBC radio host argues that his interest in BDSM shouldn’t have cost him his job.

Female diplomats are ascendant. One of the last bastions of official sexism is beginning to crumble.

Education is the civil rights movement of our era. Without universal access, the escalator to opportunity is broken.

Surprising discoveries

US customs are still on alert for fake Pac-Mans. Trademarks never go out of date, no matter how irrelevant the brand.

Polar bears can ruin Halloween. Outdoor trick-or-treating has been banned in the Canadian town of Arviat, which lies on the bears’ migration route

Birds would vanquish zombies. Vultures and other carrion eaters are perfectly suited to pick the undead’s bones clean.

Steve Ballmer’s NBA ownership is a tax windfall. The ex-Microsoft CEO could deduct half the $2 billion purchase price (paywall).

Scary clowns are no laughing matter. A clown trade group calls a return to “good, clean, wholesome, family-friendly, cheerful comedy.”

Reminder: Get a 50% discount on our Next Billion conference in New York on Nov. 5 using the code QZBRIEF.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, stress test results, and avian anti-zombie strategies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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