Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Congress mulls bitcoin, China housing climbs, Iran nuke talks, Russian plane crash

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What to watch for today

A high-profile insider trading trial. Michael Steinberg, the most senior SAC Capital employee charged so far, goes on trial in Manhattan. He faces charges of securities fraud and conspiracy for allegedly trading Dell shares on the basis of insider tips.

Politicians try to understand bitcoin. A US Senate committee considers the “potential promises and risks” of the virtual currency.

Ready, set, think. A World Economic Forum summit kicks off in Abu Dhabi. Social and political issues in the Middle East top the agenda, alongside climate change, youth unemployment, and disruptive technology.

Krispy Kreme’s sugar high. Krispy Kreme releases earnings and is expected to post third-quarter sales growth of 8.5%. The donut company’s stock price hit a nine-year high earlier this month, thanks in part to planned South America expansion.

Latin American barometer. Chile’s growth domestic product for the third quarter is expected to grow 1% in a sign of progress amid presidential elections; left-leaning former president Michelle Bachelet win the most votes this weekend ahead of a December 15 runoff. Venezuelan GDP and Argentina’s unemployment rate are also released today.

Over the weekend

New home prices in China rose in the country’s four major cities, adding further to concerns about a possible bubble. Guangzhou led the way with a 21% gain in October from a year earlier. Prices increased 20% in Shenzhen, 18% in Shanghai, and 16% in Beijing.

Floods and landslides hit central Vietnam. At least 28 people have died and 80,000 are homeless following heavy rains from a tropical depression.

Apple reportedly bought Israel’s PrimeSense. The tech titan will pay $345 million for the company behind the XBox Kinect’s 3D motion-sensing computer chip, according to the Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist.

France’s richest man reportedly under investigation. Brussels prosecutors are looking into a 2.9 billion euro ($3.9 billion) capital increase at a Belgian company owned by LVMH CEO Bernard Arnout, according to the Belgian daily De Tijd.

Tensions mounted ahead of Iran’s nuclear talks. Israel repeated warnings (paywall) that it has the power to strike the country and is willing to do so without international backing, amid a report that it may even be planning an attack alongside Saudi Arabia if nuclear negotiations fail. French president François Hollande is also maintaining a hardline stance against compromising with Iran.

The PS4 flew off shelves. Sony said it sold more than a million PlayStation 4 consoles in North America in 24 hours, the strongest-ever opening for the games platform. The PS4, which faces competition from Microsoft’s Xbox One, to be released later this week, is expected to be Sony’s last console.

A plane crash killed 50 in Russia. A Boeing 737 on its way from Moscow burst into flames after trying to abort its landing Kazan, Russia. An intelligence officer and the son of the president of the province of Tatarstan are among the dead.

Doris Lessing died. The convention-shattering novelist who won the 2007 Nobel Prize died at her home in London at the age of 94.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how acid oceans could cost the world a fortune. “One estimate of the cost to mollusc fisheries alone is $130 billion. Reductions in coral reefs, the heart of complex ocean ecosystems, are also strongly indicated, and while the economic impact is hard to specify, it could cost as much as $1 trillion within the century.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Kids aren’t good predictors of technology. If young people gravitate to a certain technology like Snapchat, it doesn’t mean the rest of us will.

The rein of the 1% threatens New York City’s artistic genius. Inequality means creative types are having a harder and harder time getting a foothold, says David Bryne.

It’s okay if your kid isn’t fluent in Mandarin. China’s growth can’t possibly last, according to Larry Summers’ latest research.

Qatar should never have been given the World Cup. Its labor laws are equivalent to modern-day slavery.

Surprising discoveries

The US is alone in refrigerating chicken eggs. The reason: the country’s unique and misguided egg-washing system.

Indian women are leaning out. The percentage of women in India who work has dropped to 22.5% over the last decade.

The sweet addiction of Candy Crush Saga. One out of every 23 Facebook users is a fan of the game.

A Mexican drug cartel built its own radio network. The Zetas kidnapped 36 engineers and technicians to build antennas and other transmission gear, including at least one IBM employee.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ancient dog tricks and Candy Crush high scores to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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