Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—China’s Singles Day, Putin’s APEC flirting, Musk’s satellite plans, Pope Francis the bouncer

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What to watch for today

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 looms. 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, which 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 strike over Ebola. Approximately 18,000 registered nurses begin a two-day strike over concerns that they’re not getting enough training or equipment to deal with the disease. Separately, Dr. Craig Spencer, who contracted the disease after treating patients in Guinea, is due to be released from a New York City hospital.

While you were sleeping

Chinese shoppers spent billions on Singles Day. Alibaba says it recorded nearly $2 billion in sales within the first hour of the shopping holiday, which is make-or-break for Chinese online retailers. Last year the company booked $5.75 billion in sales during the entire day.

Putin’s flirtatious APEC move. The Russian president draped his jacket over the shoulders of Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan—a questionably chivalrous maneuver that was quickly scrubbed by Chinese censors. Beijing also limited access to pollution data showing sub-par air quality in the capital, despite herculean efforts to clear the air ahead of the summit.

Elon Musk pre-announced a new space race. The SpaceX CEO confirmed reports that his company is developing “micro-satellites operating in large formations,” that could provide internet access from above. More details are due in a few months.

A US divorce settlement worth nearly $1 billion. Harold Hamm, CEO of energy giant Continental Resources, must pay his ex-wife $322.7 million by the end of the year and at least $7 million a month after that, in a settlement worth $995.4 million in total. Hamm is—or at least was—estimated to be worth $14 billion.

Two Rothko paintings sold for $76.5 million. They belonged to the late Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, heir to the Listerine fortune and wife of philanthropist Paul Mellon. Paintings from the estate collectively fetched $158.7 million at auction (paywall).

Obama argued that the internet should be a public utility. The White House endorsed a plan to treat the internet like electric power, water and telephone services. The US president’s stance was hailed by internet-freedom advocates and some tech firms; Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called it “Obamacare for the internet.”

Mixed signals for business in Australia. National Australia Bank says business conditions for October were at six-year high, but businesses are reporting confidence levels at their lowest since August last year. House prices rose in the third quarter by 9.1% from a year earlier (paywall), down from a 10.1% rise in the second quarter.

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

Capitalism has not triumphed. The world could transition in to another form of economy at any time.

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

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

Social mobility is a problem in Britain. It exists, but mostly in the wrong direction.

Surprising discoveries

The pope used to work as a nightclub bouncer. His other odd jobs included running tests in a chemical lab.

One in four self-made US billionaires dropped out of college. Though most of the world’s richest men finished their degrees.

Koreans are flying to Nevada for quickie divorces. It’s easier than enduring court-ordered counseling and a three-month waiting period.

The “taste map” on your tongue is a myth. The brain, not the tongue, tells tastes apart.

How to solve childhood obesity the Danish way. Tell kids to stop eating junk food and go outside—who knew?

Protecting a rare plant 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 Russian smartphones to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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