Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Volcker rule, GM’s female boss, Mandela’s memorial service, Madoff’s investment tips

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

India rules on gay rights. India’s Supreme Court is set to deliver its verdict today on the legality of homosexual practices, after religious groups challenged a High Court ruling that the 19th century prohibition against gay sex should not apply to consenting adults.

Uruguay legalizes pot. The senate is due shortly to vote on a bill that would make it the first country to fully legalize the growth and sale of marijuana, in a bid to suffocate the black market and free up police for more serious crime. Only the government, though, will be able to deal the drug.

Subscriptions close for Moncler’s IPO. Today is the last day for investors to put in their orders for Moncler stock before the skiwear company’s shares list in Milan next week. Europe’s biggest luxury goods IPO in years is expected to raise $1.07 billion and is already oversubscribed by a factor of 12.

India’s version of Cyber Monday. The second annual “Great Online Shopping Festival,” a project of Google India, will present about 20 million online shoppers in India with deals from some 240 e-commerce companies.

While you were sleeping

Things got tougher for big banks. US regulators voted in favor of the Volcker rule (paywall)—a contentious part of the post-crisis “too big to fail” Dodd-Frank reforms—which prevents banks from gambling with their own accounts to bag a profit.

General Motors appointed its first female boss. Mary Barra, 51, will be the first woman to run a major US car company when she replaces Dan Akerson on Jan. 15. Currently senior vice-president for global product development, Barra started out young—as the daughter of a tool-and-die maker.

The world set a chilling new record. A record low temperature was recorded in Antarctica, according to NASA satellite data, reaching -135.8 °F, or -93.2 °C. That’s about 50 °F colder than it ever gets in Alaska or Siberia.

A farewell to Nelson Mandela. What is thought to be the largest gathering of world leaders in recent history took place in a rain-sodden Johannesburg soccer stadium to honor South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero. Barack Obama called Mandela “a giant of history,” but faced criticism for taking a selfie with David Cameron.

Quartz obsession interlude

Adam Pasick on Xiaomi’s daring expansion plans. “Ever since Xiaomi poached Hugo Barra from Google, the world has been waiting for the Chinese smartphone maker to sell its inexpensive, highly customized Android handsets beyond the confines of greater China. Xiaomi finally dropped the first hints about its plans this weekend in Taiwan, and they’re exactly in line with company’s reputation as a brazen challenger to established giants like Samsung and Apple. Specifically, Xiaomi will launch next year in Singapore and Malaysia, which also happen to be two of the most saturated smartphone markets in the world.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There is no solution to the standoff in Kiev. The realistic plans won’t fix anything, and the plans that would are unrealistic.

Graduating into a recession isn’t all bad. Lower job level and salary expectations lead to less disappointment and more gratitude.

Nintendo shouldn’t give up on hardware. Its Wii is losing to the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox, but the 3DS is a market winner, and Nintendo has enough cash to keep it going.

Surprising discoveries

The patent capital of the world. Per capita, Holland’s Eindhoven submits more patent applications than any other city.

An Ikea toy has become a protest symbol. The stuffed wolf sold out due to demand from Hong Kong demonstrators.

Bernie Madoff is popular in prison. Fellow inmates and prison guards are asking the jailed fraudster for investing tips.

Real life invisibility cloaks. Chinese scientists say they’re getting closer to disappearing technology.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, stuffed toys and dubious investing tips to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.