Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—UN General Assembly, BlackBerry buyout, Chrysler IPO, black hole fireworks

September 24, 2013
September 24, 2013

What to watch for today

UN General Assembly gets underway. Diplomats from the US, Russia, Britain, France and China will discuss the resolution on destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. US secretary of state John Kerry will meet his Iranian counterpart on Thursday, and the US and Iranian presidents might meet informally.

Diffident US consumers… Conference Board sentiment numbers are likely to dip to 80.0 in September from 81.5 last month, as consumers worry about rising mortgage rates. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for July is expected to post its biggest jump since 2006.

…While Germans grow more confident. The IFO business sentiment index for September is likely to improve to 108 from the 16-month high of 107.5 hit in August.

A aerial dogfight over South Korea. The defense ministry will pick the winner of a three-way contest between Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Eurofighter to build 60 fighter jets for $7.6 billion.

While you were sleeping

BlackBerry sold itself for $4.7 billion. The struggling smartphone maker struck a deal for a buyout led by its biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, for $9 per share—just 6% of its peak share price in 2008. While its handset business is worthless, buyers could make a profit by flipping BlackBerry’s other assets, like patents.

Chrysler called a bluff, filed for an IPO. Majority owner Fiat couldn’t agree on a price to buy the remainder of the firm from a union retirement trust, so it filed to take the company public, which could bring the United Autoworkers back to the bargaining table.

The Kenya mall siege appears to be over. Security forces have taken complete control of the Westgate mall in Nairobi and freed all of the hostages, according to officials. At least 62 people have been killed since Somali militant group al-Shabaab stormed the upscale mall on Saturday.

A former FBI agent will plead guilty to leaking to the AP. Donald Sachtleben shared classified information with the Associated Press about a thwarted bomb plot in Yemen last year.

Bank of America lost a racial bias case. The bank was ordered to pay $2.2 million to 1,113 black job applicants who were rejected for clerical and teller positions dating back to 1993.

Mexico’s opposition party will support the president’s energy bill—for a price. The conservative National Action Party (PAN) said that it wants electoral reform before supporting President Enrique Pena Nieto’s bill to open the oil industry.

A US federal judge seemed to favor Google’s digital book project, by asking questions about how scanning more than 20 million books since 2004 might benefit society.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on how a new hedge fund advertising rule could reshape investing. “The new rules allow private companies to tell whoever they want that they’re looking for funds, but also bear the burden of  filing paperwork in a timely manner and making sure any would-be investors are really accredited. The upshot is that a lot more of the 8.5 million accredited investors (pdf) in the US would be able to invest in private companies.” Read more here.

Matters of debate 

Kenya’s economic progress is another casualty in the Nairobi mall siege. Expatriates and affluent Kenyans who were targeted in the attack may see the attack as a reason to invest elsewhere.

Washington is in Wall Street’s pocket. Intense lobbying and the revolving door between the industry and the White House are hindering effective regulation.

The euro zone’s one-size-fits-all monetary policy is inherently risky. Low interest rates could trigger unsustainable booms in countries like Germany.

Companies should chill out about health screenings. Too much of anything—even prevention—is a bad idea.

Surprising discoveries

China just bought 5% of the land in Ukraine. Beijing inked a deal to farm up to three million hectares of Ukrainian land over the span of half a century.

South Korea launches a cyber-security talent hunt. Winners of Seoul’s program to recruit cyber-security experts will get to share a prize of 80 million won ($74,000).

Fireworks at the center of the galaxy. The black hole at the core of the Milky Way is about to trigger a flare-up as bright as a million suns—though still too dim to see from Earth.

Don’t you forget about me. An average person forgets four key facts or events every day.

Winnebagos are all the rage in China. Consumers see the rides as deluxe, roomy status symbols, and foreign RV makers are expanding in the country.

How do you knit a chain-link fence? One link at a time (video).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unforgettable facts and Chinese Winnebagos to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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