Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Alibaba’s billions, Ford’s aluminum trucks, Spotify’s Swift response, electric tigers

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What to watch for today

Touchdown, space rock. Europe’s Rosetta satellite will deploy the Philae probe it’s been holding in its belly for 10 years and billions of miles. Confirmation of the comet landing—on a piece of floating debris affectionally known as 67P—will come at around 4pm GMT (midnight HKT).

China and the US talk war. As in how to avoid it from ever happening between the two superpowers (paywall). The agreement will include things such as advanced notice of military exercises and what to do in case of an encounter in the air or at sea. Earlier this week the two countries made a deal on visas.

The next Pumpkin Spice. Starbucks has been working on a drink for the past three years that it calls the Chestnut Praline Latte. It’ll be the first new holiday drink the company has launched in five years. Today it’ll finally go on sale. Early reviews say it’s “extremely sweet—overwhelmingly so.”

America drags its feet. Republicans will take control of the Senate in January, so when Congress reports for work today after the mid-term elections, not much is expected to get done. A bill that would have made online retailers collect sales tax is already the first victim (paywall) of this lame-duck Congress.

Numbers, numbers, numbers. The Bank of England publishes its inflation report and unemployment figures, America shares its September wholesale inventories data, Poland predicts the next 18 months for its economy, and Canada provides an update on its finances. As for earnings: Chase, Cisco, J C Penney, Macy’s, and Telefonica.

While you were sleeping

Alibaba recorded $9.3 billion of sales in one day. The final numbers are in: a monumental increase from the $5.8 billion on last year’s Singles’ Day. Nearly all the 30,000 merchants on the internet retailer’s platform offered discounts, which explains the 278.5 million packages now in transit through China.

Ford started making aluminum pickup trucks. The switch from steel to aluminum, which makes the vehicle more fuel-efficient, is important because Ford’s F-series have been the top-selling vehicles for in the US for 37 years—Ford made one F-150 every 49 seconds last year.

Russia signed a nuclear deal with Iran. It will build eight new reactors, four of them at an existing site owned by Russia’s state nuclear company, Rosatom. It’s a rather brazen move given that Russia is also one of the countries trying to negotiate a nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s nuclear powers by Nov. 24.

Spotify got defensive. After Taylor Swift decided to pull her collection from the Swedish music streaming service, Spotify’s CEO penned a letter announcing that it’s now given artists and labels over $2 billion since its founding. Also, it now has 12.5 million paying users.

Quentin Tarantino announced retirement plans. The 51-year old director—famous for films such as Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill—said that after he makes his 10th film, he’ll leave the director’s chair for good. His latest project, The Hateful Eight, is his eighth film and will premier next year.

Someone spent a lot of money on a watch. A mystery buyer paid 23.2 million Swiss francs ($24 million) at auction for the Henry Graves Supercomplication, a Patek Philippe custom job with 24 special functions. It’s a new record for a timepiece, shattering the $11 million set by the same watch when it changed hands in 1999.

Quartz obsession interlude

Bobby Ghosh on why America shouldn’t rely on Iran’s help. “Obama is hardly the first person to suggest the US and Iran have a common interest in defeating ISIL. Commentators … have argued that Washington and Tehran can and should work together against the legions of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled ‘caliph’ of the Islamic State. Their arguments rest on the premise that Baghdadi’s Sunni-extremist hordes threaten Shia Iran as much as—and possibly more than—they do the US and more generally, the West. Surely the old adage about my-enemy’s-enemy is reason enough to join forces?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Germany can handle an impending recession just fine. It knows how to live within its means.

Regulating the internet is a good idea. We regulate everything else that our lives depend on.

Low oil prices won’t put pressure on Iran and Russia. China’s growing thirst for energy will save them.

Myanmar needs a different economic model. In a country with almost no infrastructure, the free market alone won’t bring prosperity.

Hillary Clinton needs to run for president. She’s pretty much the voice and face of the US Democratic party.

Surprising discoveries

Jack Ma is unhappy. Being a gazillionaire is such a strain.

Canadian cops are handing out “doing-good” tickets to kids. Teenage model citizens can cash them in for burgers.

Be careful how you ask people to turn off their phones. You might get mace in the face.

Beware the “electric tiger”. A drunk power-station manager plunged half a Chinese county into darkness.

Atheists too suffer religious discrimination. And it tends to reinforce their atheism 

There’s a way to switch genes on and off just using your brain. The legal and ethical ramifications are terrifying.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, alternative therapy techniques, and returned Alibaba gifts to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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