Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Nintendo’s gold coins, Virginia rocket explosion, Fed ends QE, NY street harassment

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Bye bye, bond purchases. The US Federal Reserve will likely announce the end of its quantitative easing asset-purchase program. The Fed warned in July (paywall) that it would terminate the program this month, and few expect it to waver despite gloomy global data.

Scotland tries to move on. Nicola Sturgeon, who is set to replace Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond (no fish jokes, please), will tell a rally that nationalists must respect the vote against Scottish independence. SNP membership has more than tripled since the referendum last month.

Black gold update. The US government issues its weekly update on America’s stockpile of crude oil, which a Bloomberg survey suggests will be at its highest since July as prices have plummeted.

Earnings and more earnings. Quarterly results are due from DreamWorks Animation, Fiat Chrysler Hyatt Hotels, Kraft Foods, SodaStream, and Visa.

While you were sleeping

Nintendo’s high score. The video game company recorded third-quarter net income of 24.2 billion yen ($224 million), well above expectations of 5.7 billion yen and up from a loss of 8 billion yen a year earlier. Increased demand for Wii U games (including a new version of Mario Kart that got rave reviews) and a weaker yen boosted the game maker’s profit.

A commercial rocket exploded at takeoff in Virginia. An Antares rocket built by Orbital Sciences suffered a “catastrophic failure” shortly after launching at 6:22 p.m. local time on the east coast of the United States, resulting in an enormous fireball; no one was reported injured. It was the first failure of a commercial space mission since NASA began hiring private space firms to carry supplies to the International Space Station.

Sanofi fired its CEO. The French drug maker’s directors ousted Christopher Viehbacher due to dissatisfaction with his “management style and relationship with the company’s board.” Rumors of Viehbacher’s impending exit—which he discounted just yesterday (paywall)—have been circulating since he moved to the US in June, taking Sanofi away from its French roots.

Japanese industrial output rose the most since January. Production rose 2.7% in September from a year earlier, higher than a predicted 2.2%. The new data arrive as prime minister Shinzo Abe tries to decide whether Japan can stomach another sales tax rise.

The Iraqi peshmerga started its first Syrian mission. One hundred and fifty Kurdish fighters received permission to travel through Turkey to join the fight against Islamic State militants in the Syrian border town of Kobani. Turkey reiterated it will not send ground troops to support the Syrian Kurds, nor will it allow Kurds from Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to fight.

Zambia’s president died in London. Michael Sata, 77, was receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness. Defense minister Edgar Lungu was named acting president while Sata was away but it is not clear who will replace him on a permanent basis.

Quartz obsession interlude

Heather Timmons on China’s uneasiness with mobile payments. “Alipay’s growth is being closely watched. Earlier this year, China’s central bank banned the use of ‘QR’ codes and barcode scans to make payments—exactly the system that many of Alipay’s 100 million mobile payment customers rely on. Apple has its own problems with the government, including a suspected government-backed hacking attack on iCloud users and a Beijing-imposed delay of the iPhone 6 launch.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Hong Kong can’t afford to lose the Umbrella Movement generation. The rapidly aging city needs young people to survive.

Mindlessness is underrated. Zoning out helps creativity, and who wants to be mindful all the time, anyway?

Strong religious beliefs don’t turn people into terrorists. If they did, the US would be at war with Saudi Arabia.

Hungary’s internet tax isn’t that crazy. Every country taxes consumption; what’s so different about the web?

The US should have a national typeface. Sweden does.

Surprising discoveries

Sexual harassment is endemic in New York City. A woman filmed herself getting more than 100 catcalls in 10 hours of walking.

Russian health authorities don’t like selfies. They “spread head lice.”

This could end badly. Scientists infected plants with an ancient virus found in 700-year-old caribou feces.

The US national anthem ends with a question mark. It expresses “a sense of fear and anxiety” to reflect its wartime origins.

A new app for tweeting. Warblr hopes to identify birds by their distinctive calls.

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, frozen caribou feces, and US typeface nominations (no Comic Sans) to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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