Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Singles’ Day sales, net neutrality, Moscow’s bad smells, Korean divorce

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What to watch for today

Alibaba’s shopping bonanza. Forget Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas. China’s Singles’ Day is the world’s biggest online shopping day, and all eyes are on Alibaba, which largely invented Singles’ Day and is now celebrating the first one since its IPO. It made $1.8 billion in just the first hour of sales.

A big debut in Riyadh. Alibaba had the world’s biggest IPO this year, but the second-biggest—and the Middle East’s biggest ever—was for Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank, which raised $6 billion last week and was heavily oversubscribed. Today it starts trading on the Saudi stock exchange.

Tense talks in Oman. Negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 countries will sit down in another attempt to reach a deal that would let Iran keep its nuclear program without making weapons, as a Nov. 24 deadline nears. Two days of talks between Iran, the US and the EU ended on Monday with no evident progress.

The future of data transmission? The Fraunhofer Institute—which developed the mp3—is showing off a light-based networking technology, called Li-Fi, in Munich that it says can move data as fast as the fastest Wi-Fi network using 85% less power. (Only small hitch: You need to be in the router’s line of sight.)

Judgment day in South Korea. Fifteen crew members from the Sewol ferry that sank in April, killing over 300 people, will be sentenced for homicide or negligence. The captain of the ship, 68 year-old Lee Joon-seok, may receive the death penalty, which Korea hasn’t used since 1997.

California nurses stay home. Approximately 18,000 registered nurses begin a two-day strike over concerns that they’re not getting enough training—nor the right equipment—to deal with Ebola. The strike will affect 21 hospitals and 65 clinics owned by Kaiser Permanente.

While you were sleeping

Obama threw his weight behind net neutrality. The White House endorsed a plan to treat the internet as a public good like power, water, or telephone services. Internet-freedom advocates and some tech firms will embrace the move, but big internet service providers bitterly oppose restrictions on their business practices.

Google threw money at Ebola. For every $1 you donate to fight Ebola, Google will add $2, until $7.5 million has been raised. Google and CEO Larry Page’s family foundation will give another $25 million to nonprofits. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg previously committed a combined $75 million.

China and the US had some good news… The two countries will start giving each others’ citizens 10-year visas (previously, only one-year visas were available). The new rules are quite a breakthrough given the tensions between Washington and Beijing

…and some bad news. US officials told the Washington Post they suspect Chinese government hackers of breaching the US postal system’s networks, stealing information about 800,000 employees.

Moscow residents were told to stay home. The smell of rotten eggs in parts of the city was said to be the result of a cloud of hydrogen sulfide. Officials from the Emergencies Ministry blamed a nearby sulfur dioxide processing facility.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on the ruble’s curious position. “The Russian president spoke out about the exchange rate today, supporting the central bank’s somewhat muddled policy statements. He decried ‘speculators’ pushing down the ruble’s value and said that the central bank stood ready to defend the currency if need be. He doesn’t often sound off on such matters, so the comments were seen as an important endorsement of the country’s beleaguered monetary authority.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Jean-Claude Juncker needs to resign. He managed his country poorly, and now he’s in charge of Europe.

Capitalism isn’t winning. It isn’t dead, but socialism is looking better and better.

It’s not enough to wipe out Ebola. We need to spend billions to make sure nothing like it happens again.

Social mobility is a problem in Britain. It exists, but mostly downward.

“Mom” should be a name your child calls you. It shouldn’t be a lifestyle or an identity.

Surprising discoveries

Korean couples love flying to Nevada. It makes the divorce process a lot quicker.

No two look alike. Testicles have more than three times as many unique proteins as the human brain.

The “taste map” on your tongue is a myth. Any of its taste buds can pick up any flavor; the brain has specialist neurons for telling them apart.

Denmark solved childhood obesity. Who knew telling kids to stop eating garbage and go outside works?

Protecting a rare species is easy. Pretend it doesn’t even exist.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, postcards from Nevada, and children’s workouts to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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