What to watch for today
Ongoing Thailand protests. Demonstrators trying to derail upcoming elections and oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra clashed violently with police in Bangkok, and plan to rally at her home later today.
Narendra Modi receives a verdict on 2002. A court in New Delhi will most likely clear the prime ministerial candidate of involvement in the 2002 riots that killed at least 1,000 Muslims.
UK power is out. Some 24,000 properties in England are without electricity following storms and floods, and some customers may not have their power reinstated for days.
While you were sleeping
Softbank in talks to buy T-Mobile. Japan’s SoftBank Corp could acquire the US wireless carrier in a reported $20 billion deal that would merge Deutsche Telekom’s US unit with Softbank’s recently acquired Sprint Corp.
UPS made the naughty list. The shipping and logistics company was overwhelmed by a high volume of packages and bad weather, causing a delay in the delivery of Christmas presents around the world.
Abe visited a World War II shrine. In a move likely to worsen tensions with China and South Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni memorial, where he acknowledged the presence of war criminals buried there and vowed to “renew the pledge that Japan must never wage a war again.”
Ongoing fighting in South Sudan. President Salva Kiir urged an end to ethnic violence amid continued reports of killings, rapes, and beatings. The UN, which is doubling the number of peacekeepers in the newly formed nation, says some 92,000 people have fled their homes and thousands may have died.
Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. Authorities accuse the Brotherhood of orchestrating a suicide bombing that killed 16 people earlier this week, although a different group claimed responsibility.
Anger over a Ukrainian journalist’s beating. Opposition leaders expressed their outrage after unidentified men attacked journalist and activist Tetyana Chornovol, who has investigated top officials’ business dealings.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz imagines what management consultants might say to the Pope. “Might the church find synergies with the Santa Claus enterprise? Claus already seems to be leveraging your brand equity to publicize his just-in-time gift delivery model, although we are still confused about the prospects of monetization. Amazing supply-chain (though we note with concern the potential impact of recent labor legislation on elf wage costs), and a top candidate for potential M&A activity. Win-win acqui-hire?” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Gendered spirits reinforce stereotypes. Cinnabon-flavored vodka for the ladies and dude-centric “aggressive” whiskey brands play on outmoded gender ideals.
Jesus was “brown.” That’s the best way to skirt the increasingly charged debate about his ethnicity.
The PC isn’t going anywhere. A billion people will still use old-fashioned, immobile computers to get things done in 2014.
Fukushima still haunts Japan’s fishing industry. Two years after the nuclear disaster, the industry is struggling due to fears about radiation.
A panda baby boom. Captive breeding programs seem to be working: 49 cubs were born around the world this year, and 42 survived—an all-time record.
When CEOs need advice, they go to Bill Campbell. The chairman of Intuit is also an adviser to everybody from Larry Page to Jeff Bezos.
Mikhail Kalashnikov designed a lawnmower. The late inventor of the AK-47 rifle wished he’d been able to focus on farm tools instead.