Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—China’s Singles Day, Google’s airport, Musk’s satellite plans, the pope’s velvet rope

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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, as a Nov. 24 deadline looms. Two days of talks between Iran, the US, and the EU ended on Monday with no evident progress.

D.R. Horton tries to put its house in order. America’s biggest home builder releases its fiscal fourth-quarter results. The company is building cheaper houses in response to rising mortgage rates and higher home prices, which have dampened buyer demand.

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.)

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

Alibaba smashed its Singles Day record. The online retailer sold $6 billion of goods by 1:30pm local time, topping last year’s total sales value for the day with more than 10 hours of trading left. The Nov. 11 shopping holiday, invented by Alibaba, can make or break Chinese online retailers.

Vodafone raised its full-year outlook. The world’s second-biggest mobile operator expects full-year core earnings of up to £11.9 billion ($18.9 billion), due to improving demand in Europe and a smaller decline in revenues. Shares in the company rose 4%, leading the FTSE 100 to a 6-week high.

Google landed its own airport. The search giant rented out 1,000 acres of Moffett Federal Airfield—which includes several large hangars, two runways, and a golf course—in a deal that will pay NASA $1.16 billion over 60 years.

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.

Eight Indian women died after a mass sterilization. Five more are in a critical condition and 63 others have been hospitalized after the women died from septic shock. The state of Chhattisgarh was holding a one-day sterilization drive—common in India—and doctors had carried out 83 surgeries in about six hours.

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).

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

Xi Jinping needs to offer love, not just money. Otherwise nobody will be swayed by his ”Asia Dream” rhetoric.

Asia’s economy has peaked. Leveraged corporations, low exports, and credit-fueled growth are only some of the symptoms.

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

Color is determined by our brains, not just physics. Apples are red because of our subjective perceptions.

Surprising discoveries

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

North Korea is sponsoring schools in Japan. Eight thousand students at 70 schools are taught to obey Kim Jong Un.

A new dyslexic-friendly font may make reading easier. Dutch designer Christian Boer made it free for download.

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

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

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, papal CVs, and childhood obesity cures to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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