Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Germany outpaces France, Bachelet’s Chile victory, Jade Rabbit’s Moon pics, musical booze shout-outs

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Reconciliation in South Africa. The day after Nelson Mandela’s burial in his childhood village is also the country’s Day of Reconciliation, instituted after the end of apartheid. A statue of Mandela will be unveiled outside government headquarters in Pretoria.

Remembering Delhi’s “fearless one.” Memorials will be held in London and Delhi for the Indian student whose brutal gang-rape on a bus one year ago today, and subsequent death, stunned the country but has led to only limited reform.

The Northeast digs out. Heavy snow and sleet hit New York City and New England this weekend, meaning this morning’s commute could be difficult.

Over the weekend

Germany is booming; France, not so much. The euro zone flash manufacturing index rose more than expected to 52.1 in December. Germany factories had their strongest month in since June 2011, but France declined to a seven-month low.

India inflation skyrocketed. Higher fuel and food prices drove inflation up to 7.52% in November, putting more pressure on the central back to hike interest rates.

Big trouble in Western China. The government said police shot dead 14 people during what it called a “riot” in the Xinjiang region, home to the Muslim Uighur minority group. Two policemen also died.

China’s factories unexpectedly slowed. The flash PMI fell to 50.5 in December from 50.8 last month, indicating economic expansion could be losing momentum.

Japan’s mixed economic messages. Business confidence rose to its highest level in six years in November, but the longer range Bank of Japan’s quarterly “tankan” survey showed companies weren’t universally optimistic.

John Kerry is back in Vietnam. The US Secretary of State and Vietnam War veteran visited the Mekong Delta to discuss the threat of climate change, poorly planned hydropower dams, and territorial tensions in the South China Sea.

Chile’s Bachelet is president, again. Left-leaning Michelle Bachelet easily won Sunday’s run-off election; she was president from 2006-10 but was constitutionally barred from a second term.

Jade Rabbit sent back its first images. China’s lunar probe—the first to land on the moon in almost four decades—is expected to operate for a year.

Quartz obsession interlude

A possible next CEO of Microsoft tells Leo Mirani about his vision of it as a cloud-services company. “I think reconceptualizing Microsoft as a devices and services company is absolutely what our vision is all about… Does that mean we won’t have our software available for other people to build on? No. Windows is available outside of our devices. Windows server is available outside of our data centres… But at the same time, there is also the customer expectation that we should complete the scenario. That means running a cloud platform, running a cloud service.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Free enterprise means meaningful work. Personal happiness depends on our genes, values, life events—and the best system for finding good work.

China is losing interest in soft power. Beijing’s crackdown on foreign journalists shows it cares more about hiding its leaders’ wealth.

Wives must submit to their husbands. Meek women make for happy marriages, according to a controversial bestselling “how to” book for new brides.

The White House blindsided Saudi Arabia. A Saudi royal blasted the Obama administration for its dealings with Iran and the Syrian opposition.

Surprising discoveries

Pop’s biggest booze brands. Jack Daniel’s, Hennessy, Grey Goose, and Patron account for more than half of all brand-specific mentions in recent pop lyrics.

Paying for German porn. Thousands of Germans have reportedly received letters from a law firm demanding they pay 250 euros ($343) for allegedly infringing porn producers’ copyrights.

IKEA spied on its workers in France. The company gave private investigators personal data and bank account details.

Cincinnati’s once-beautiful public library. Historic photos show the facility used to be a gorgeous temple dedicated to books and reading.

A dollar goes pretty far these days. The lifespan of an average bill has skyrocketed to 70 months after the Federal Reserve fixed their quality control system.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, used dollar bills and alcohol-related pop lyrics 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.