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Dear Chetan Bhagat: I quit my job and became a writer because of you

The BriefYour world right now

6 hours ago

A denial from North Korea.

  It didn’t hack Sony, and it can prove it. So says North Korea’s foreign ministry, which wants the US to partake in a join investigation. Oh, and if the White House declines, state news agency KCNA warns there will be “grave consequences,” according to a report in Sky News.
5 hours ago

A key Taliban commander is killed in Peshawar.

  A day after killing 32 militants in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistani security forces said they killed the commander and at least four other militants in the province’s capital of Peshawar, where scores of schoolchildren were murdered by Taliban gunman earlier this week.  
5 hours ago

The US government is seeking hefty fines against BP.

  The $18 billion it wants a judge to approve—for BP’s role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil well accident in the Gulf of Mexico—would handily eclipse the $3.51 billion that BP had set aside as of Oct. 28 to cover its liabilities under the Clean Water Act, Bloomberg reports.
6 hours ago

Four Afghans held at Guantanamo are released.

  The men were sent home to Kabul overnight on a US military plane, bringing the number of prisoners at the US military facility in Cuba—which the Obama administration advocates closing—down to 132. It marked the first return of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Afghanistan since 2009.
December 19, 2014

Staples was hacked—as many as 1.16 million cards are affected.

  The office-supplies chain says 115 point-of-sales systems were infected with malware between July and September. Details on which stores were impacted haven’t come out yet, but the breach appears to have been relatively contained next to the ones that struck Target (40 million cards affected) and Home Depot (56 million cards).
5 hours ago
Chart of the Moment

Students at US universities are surprisingly old-school.

December 19, 2014

Bumble Bee Tuna will be acquired for $1.51 billion.

  Thai Union Frozen Products calls the deal “the largest acquisition in the history of our company and one of the most exciting external growth propositions.” Its CEO says with the purchase, revenue will rise by 25% (paywall); the fate of San Diego, California-based Bumble Bee’s 1,300 employees is unknown.
December 20, 2014

Pay your bills, or we take the cat.

  Tax collectors in Russia have come up with an incredibly effective new tactic—threatening to seize people’s cats until they clear their debts. The Siberian region of Tomsk placed four pedigree Scottish Fold kittens “under arrest,” for example. And so, delinquents often find the money—and fast.

Top Stories on Quartz

bragging rights

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third gender

Photos: An intimate look inside the Indian community that defies gender labels

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$30 smartphones are here—and they’re getting better every day

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#SpecialDelivery

Finally, someone thanked the real heroes of India’s e-commerce boom

Bollywood has a new lucky charm—and her surname isn’t Khan

Between the Taliban and ghost schools, an entire generation in Pakistan is being lost

READING MATERIAL

The books Quartz read in 2014

These two charts capture the dramatic rise of terrorism in Pakistan

The Taliban needs to explain how murdering children is a good thing for Islam

December 16

To my fellow Pakistanis, we need to look in the mirror

Another Indian airline company looks poised for an emergency landing

One ring to rule them all

The dystopian creepiness of India’s national identity program, in one joke

one people

#IndiawithPakistan shows that solidarity trumps political disputes

Peshawar Attack

“Shoot the older students”—The Pakistani Taliban’s barbaric message

The coal scam is back to haunt Manmohan Singh—even in retirement

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on obesity, medical marijuana, vaccines—and, yes, guns

Two years since the Delhi gang rape, here’s what’s changed—and what hasn’t

UBER+PIKETTY=2014

The secret to the Uber economy is wealth inequality

Mistakes found in most Indian résumés—and how to fix them

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