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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—India’s gay sex ban, Ukraine crackdown, Lloyds fine, Ikea protest toy

By Newley Purnell

What to watch for today

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.

Ukraine police crackdown. Scores of riot police have torn down barricades and are moving against protesters in Kiev, as president Viktor Yanukovich digs in his heels over strengthened ties with Russia.

Italy’s PM faces a confidence vote. Prime Minister Enrico Letta should win the vote following the exit of Silvio Berlusconi. Earlier in the day, Letta unveiled a set of economic reforms designed to boost the country’s listless economy.

A possible vote on the US 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. A vote on the plan could come this week.

While you were sleeping

Greek unemployment rose to 27.4% in September and is now more than twice the euro zone average.

India reinstated a gay sex ban. The country’s Supreme Court reversed a 2009 order that decriminalized homosexual acts, saying the Delhi High Court had overstepped its powers.

Lloyds was fined $46 million by UK regulators for an incentive scheme that encouraged staff to sell specific financial products to customers that they did not need or want.

Thailand protests continued. Demonstrators refused to give up their fight to unseat Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and her supporters plan to rally in her defense, raising the possibility of more clashes. Meanwhile, unpaid rice farmers threatened to strike, and the chaos has begun to affect the tourism sector.

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.

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.

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

India’s gay sex ban is an insult to Indians. The Supreme Court’s ruling is an attack on equality and the very idea of India.

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 tosynthesize, 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.

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.

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.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, stuffed toys and Christmas trees to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

 

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