Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Ferguson protests spread, Europe vs. Google, Uber’s $40B valuation, emulating slime mold

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What to watch for today

Europe mulls breaking up Google. The European parliament will start a discussion on ”unbundling search engines from other commercial services.” Google wasn’t mentioned by name, but an FT report last week (paywall) said the search giant is being specifically targeted. US politicians expressed “alarm” at the move and asked that the process ”not be politicized.”

Britain takes its surveillance up a notch. The government will introduce a bill requiring internet service providers and airlines to record more customer information and share it with authorities. Home secretary Theresa May said the counter-terrorism bill comes as the UK faces a threat “perhaps greater than it has ever been.”

Iran and Saudi Arabia talk oil. Iranian oil minister Namdar Zanganeh meets with Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, one day before OPEC’s members formally sit down to discuss how the cartel should tackle falling prices. Earlier talks between Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, and Mexico ended in a stalemate.

Is Twitter shopping for Shots? The social networking service has talked with the owners of the Justin Bieber-backed selfie sharing app Shots, CNBC reports. Yesterday Twitter’s CFO accidentally tweeted hints that it was mulling a potential acquisition.

US economic stats. The Commerce Department is expected to report a continued rise in October orders for durable goods, a sign of growing business confidence. Consumer spending and incomes in October are also expected to have grown 0.3% and 0.4% respectively from September.

While you were sleeping

More protests in Missouri and across the United States. At least 44 people were arrested in Ferguson after rioters broke city hall windows and overturned a police car, in a second night of occasionally violent protests. Protests against the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown also took place in some 170 cities nationwide, including major demonstrations that shut down highways and bridges in New York City.

Hong Kong police cleared a major protest site. Student leaders Joshua Wong and Lester Shum were among the more than 100 pro-democracy activists who were arrested as bailiffs and police cleared a protest camp in the city’s Mong Kok neighborhood. Activists vowed to return to the area soon, or find new sites.

Regulators opened a new front against HSBC. The US justice department is investigating whether a trader at the bank leaked confidential client information to a hedge fund, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). HSBC, which was hit with a $618 million fine for manipulating foreign-exchange rates earlier this month, allegedly flagged news of a big currency deal it was arranging for one of its clients.

Samsung offloaded its chemicals and defense units. The sprawling South Korean company will sell its stakes in Samsung General Chemicals and Samsung Techwin for 1.9 trillion won ($1.7 billion) to rival conglomerate Hanwha. Samsung has been simplifying its holdings as heir apparent Lee Jae-yong consolidates control.

Netflix sued a former exec for corruption. The video streaming company accused former IT operations chief Mike Kail of secretly pocketing kickbacks worth $450,000 to $560,000, Re/code reports. Kail left Netflix in August to become Yahoo’s chief information officer.

Uber is closing in on a valuation of up to $40 billion. The car-booking service is close to securing new investment worth over $1 billion, sources told Bloomberg News. A fundraising round five months ago valued Uber at just $17 billion.

Ebola workers in Sierra Leone dumped bodies in front of a hospital. They were protesting because they didn’t receive hazard pay for the past seven weeks.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on what slime can teach your business. “The slime mold is single-minded in its goal to survive. To do that, it searches for food. This is the instinct by which the slime mold is able to replicate some of our much more complicated socioeconomic networks. People, companies, and countries all have the same goal—to survive and thrive. The slime mold just gets itself to the same place much more efficiently.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

British banks are rotten to the core. Rooting out their corrupt culture will take at least a generation.

Europe is “elderly and haggard.” The pope says the continent needs a new sense of purpose (paywall).

Don’t force your kids to specialize in one sport. Repetitive sports injuries aren’t just an adult problem (paywall).

Governments have the wrong approach to cybersecurity. You can’t defend the internet like a geographical border.

Surprising discoveries

New Zealand waived visas for Chinese platinum credit card holders. That’s one way to attract high-spending tourists.

The presidentially-pardoned turkey is always white. It’s not racism—it’s the influence of the industrial turkey lobby.

Someone built a working Lego particle accelerator. Not quite as fast as the real thing.

Kids will eat well without being asked. Tactics include quieter cafeterias and having teachers eat with students.

If you really, really like The Wizard of Oz. An unnamed buyer snapped up the Cowardly Lion costume for $3 million.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, heritage turkey breeds, and Lego supercolliders to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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