Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—US budget deal, GM’s female CEO, Ukraine crackdown, Uruguay legalizes pot

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What to watch for today

India rules on gay rights. The Supreme Court is set to rule on the legality of sexual relations between gay couples, after religious groups challenged a High Court ruling that a 19th century prohibition should not apply to consenting adults.

Last call for a luxury skiwear IPO. Wednesday 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.

Cyber Monday, India style. 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.

Ukraine police crack down. Scores of police have torn down barricades and are moving against protesters in the country’s capital, Kiev, as president Viktor Yanukovich digs in his heels over strengthened ties with Russia.

While you were sleeping

The US reached a budget deal. Democrat and Republican budget chiefs from the House and Senate agreed to a bipartisan plan that includes modest spending cuts but gives both parties something to brag about.

Australians are feeling shaky. The Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment fell 4.8% to 105.0 points this month from November’s 110.3. That’s the lowest level since July, due in part to concerns about the country’s economic outlook.

Machine orders in Japan declined 4.6% in October from the previous month, suggesting investment is weak (pay wall) and confirming this week’s disappointing GDP revision.

Uruguay legalized it. The country became world’s first to legalize marijuana, with the senate approving a government-backed bill that regulates the plant’s growth, distribution, and consumption. The legislation is designed to undercut drug traffickers.

A coalition deal in the Czech Republic. The Social Democrats came to terms with the centrist ANO movement and Christian Democrats, meaning a center-left government is set to take control in Prague.

Mary Barra is General Motors’ new CEO. Mary Barra, 51, will be the first woman to run a major US car company when she replaces Dan Akerson on Jan. 15. She started out with GM thirty years ago as an intern and has since climbed every rung on the company’s corporate ladder.

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

Icahn is wrong on Apple. Forget share buybacks: The tech titan is better served over the long-term by investing its massive amounts of cash.

Employees must adapt to mechanized intelligence. To thrive in an increasingly computer-focused economy, workers needs skills that allow them to synthesize, humanize, and conceptualize data.

Ukraine’s protesters aren’t going to get their wayPresident Yanukovych needs cash, and he’ll make a deal with anyone who can deliver it.

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

Surprising discoveries

A robot who thinks she’s real. Despite all evidence to the contrary, “Samantha West” insists she’s not an automated telemarketer selling health insurance.

How to harvest Christmas trees with a helicopter: Start with a freakishly skilled pilot.

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

An Ikea toy has become a Hong Kong protest symbol. The sold-out stuffed wolf is a way to curse out the city’s chief executive and decry the mainland’s encroaching influence at the same time.

History’s greatest selfie? Barack Obama posed with the UK and Denmark prime ministers at the Mandela memorial, although Michelle Obama didn’t look too pleased.

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