Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Mandela’s memorial, Volcker vote, Ukraine riots, crazy cold temperatures

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What to watch for today

Voting on the Volcker rule. US regulators will decide whether to pass the Volcker rule, part of the Dodd-Frank “too big to fail” post-crisis reforms, and are expected to prohibit most trading done by banks for their own profit.

The EU moves to calm Ukrainian riots. Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, travels to Ukraine in an attempt to ease the crisis. Meanwhile, some 2,000 anti-government demonstrators are continuing their rally.

Sweden’s biggest IPO in seven years. Shares in Sanitec, a bath and toilet maker, list on Stockholm’s stock exchange. The final offer price is 61 crowns (around $9.33 per share), valuing the heavily subscribed flotation at $933 million and making it Sweden’s biggest IPO since 2006.

A possible US budget deal. Talks to avert a potential government shutdown on January 15 may move forward in Congress, as Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Representative Paul Ryan, their parties’ respective budget chieftains, aim to finalize a deal.

Mandela’s memorial. World leaders began gathering in Johannesburg, South Africa and will join massive crowds of mourners at a soccer stadium for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service. In addition to Mandela’s family members, Barack Obama, Cuba’s Raul Castro, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon are due to speak.

While you were sleeping

Lululemon’s founder resigned. Chip Wilson stepped down as the chairman of the yoga gear company, which has struggled following the recall of its popular yoga pants. Wilson didn’t help matters with recent comments that the pants “don’t work for some women’s bodies” because of “rubbing through the thighs.”

Turkey’s growth slowed slightly. Gross domestic product expanded 4.4% in the third quarter compared to the same period a year earlier, a decline from a 4.5% gain in the second quarter.

Alitalia raised $412 million. The cash-strapped Italian airline got a capital increase of 300 million euros, including an injection of funds from the country’s state-owned postal service.

Thailand’s PM won’t quit. A misty-eyed Yingluck Shinawatra vowed to remain in her post ahead of new national elections set for February 2. Protesters are demanding that she resign immediately.

Breast implant mogul sentenced. Jean-Claude Mas, whose French firm PIP sold faulty breast implants that affected an estimated 300,000 women internationally, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Australian business confidence slipped. The National Australian Bank survey for November fell to 5 after hitting 6 in October and 12 in September as the country’s GDP growth slows.

Quartz obsession interlude

Roberto Ferdman on how fashionable stubble is hurting the shaving industry. “The male shaving sector has slowed down in both the US and Europe this year, and that’s at least in part due to the rising popularity of stubble, according to a recent report from Euromonitor. A move away from a culture of everyday shaving and towards one in which men embrace an artfully trimmed permanent two-day shadow—or, indeed, a full beard—has pinched some of the industry’s largest players.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Machiavellian isn’t an insult. The Renaissance-era book “The Prince” resounds even today, showing that leaders must still be at once powerful and clever.

Broke musicians shouldn’t blame Spotify. Consumers just aren’t that interested in paying much for music anymore.

The US and Canada should merge. The already-similar neighbors could benefit from a monetary and customs union (paywall) or simply eliminating their border.

Academic journals are killing science. The pressure to make headlines is causing researchers to cut corners, says this year’s winner of the medicine Nobel Prize.

Surprising discoveries

Television transmits PTSD. People who watch disturbing material on television may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The toughest-ever tongue twister. MIT researchers found that “pad kid poured curd pulled cod” is the most difficult of all verbal puzzles.

A new all-time coldest temperature. New satellite data from NASA showed temperatures in Antarctica have hit -135.8F (-94.7C), beating an older record.

Meet the “mass affluent.” Fully one fifth of US adults will be part of the “new rich” at some point in their lives, with household income of $250,000 or more.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tongue twisters, and ridiculously cold temperatures to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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