Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Mandela’s death, US job figures, World Cup draw in Brazil, Christmas in a tin

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What to watch for today

Jordan’s UN seat. The United Nations votes today on whether to offer Jordan a two-year seat on the UN Security Council—the same seat that Saudi Arabia rejected last month because of the UN’s failure to resolve the Syria conflict.

US job figures… November non-farm payrolls are out, and the unemployment rate is set to fall slightly to 7.2% from 7.3% in its first reading since the government shutdown, which likely distorted October’s reading.

…and consumer sentiment. The US also gets consumer sentiment figures today, expected to jump to 76.2 or higher from October’s 75.1, and data on personal income and spending. Both are good indicators of how retailers can expect to fare this holiday shopping season.

Bidding on waste. Today is the deadline to make a first-round offer for Transpacific Industries Group, New Zealand’s waste-management company, which has been valued at NZ$900 million ($737.4 million). Bids are expected from private equity giants Blackstone and Carlyle Group, among others.

The World Cup draw. At a ceremony in Costa do Sauípe, Brazil, the 32 teams taking part in this summer’s World Cup will find out which groups they’ll be in, which could determine their likelihood of progressing past the first round.

While you were sleeping

Nelson Mandela died. The anti-apartheid leader and former South African president passed away at the age of 95  at 8:50pm local time on Dec. 5th, at his home in a Johannesburg suburb, after a long illness. He leaves a historic legacy and has inspired millions worldwide.

Russian diplomats were charged with US healthcare fraud. 49 current and former officials and their families lied about their income in order to receive some $1.5 million in Medicaid benefits, American prosecutors say.

Qantas was downgraded. Standard and Poor’s downgraded Australia’s biggest carrier’s credit rating to junk; yesterday Qantas posted steep losses and announced it was cutting 1,000 jobs.

Gap’s sales grew. The clothing chain said revenue at its stores that have been open at least a year increased 2% last month from a year earlier, beating expectations thanks to promotions.

Box confirmed it has raised $100 million. The Dropbox-like cloud storage company’s new funding means it’s valued at $2 billion. CEO Aaron Levie says he’ll use the money for international expansion.

Shell cancelled its Gulf Coast project. Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, said it won’t build a proposed $20 billion gas-to-liquids plant due to concerns over its cost.

A US lawmaker urged an F/A-18 rethink. A top member of the House Armed Services Committee wants Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to reconsider ending the production in 2016 of the Boeing fighter jet in lieu of Lockheed Martin’s F-35C, arguing that it threatens national security to rely on just one aircraft.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on why Samsung just launched the world’s largest floating vessel. “The answer has everything to do with our current rush to exploit ever more remote and hard-to-reach sources of fossil fuels. Some are tucked away under the ocean floor in places where extracting them with conventional ships simply isn’t economical. But the Prelude, with an estimated construction cost of $12 billion, changes those economics.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Leave Nigella alone. The tabloid frenzy over the celebrity cook’s having dabbled in narcotics is just the latest ridiculous drug panic.

Art could save Detroit. It’s controversial to sell public art, but it could solve 10% of the bankrupt city’s debt problem.

George Osborne’s improvements to UK living standards don’t go far enough. Despite sweeping growth forecasts, wages are dropping.

23andMe’s clash with US regulators was a good thing. The genomics company’s problems highlight creaky old laws that need updating.

Surprising discoveries

A monthly “sockscription.” A growing trend in the US: services that will send you a monthly delivery of socks.

Sometimes the old phones are best. Sir Philip Green, the British retail tycoon, uses a decade-old Nokia 6310 (paywall).

Girl talk for the GOP. Male Republican candidates in the US are being trained to talk to women without offending them.

Try a Christmas tinner. Cooking is overrated. Now you can get a full Christmas dinner in a can.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tips for talking to women and ancient cellphones to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.


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