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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Europe’s kick-start, Goldman’s price fixing, Kim Dotcom is broke, people powered planes

  • Quartz
By Quartz

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Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

To cut or not to cut? That is the question OPEC’s 12 members will be asking themselves in Vienna today, as oil prices spiral ever further downwards. Saudi Arabia has indicated it doesn’t want to ease production, preferring instead to let the market “stabilize itself“. Russia and Venezuela—who previously wanted to tighten the taps—changed their minds.

Europe v Googliath. The European parliament votes on whether or not Google should be split—not that it even has the power to make that happen. Regulators have already made one thing clear: They want the EU’s recent “right to be forgotten” ruling to apply globally.

Dilma Rousseff unveils her dream team. Brazil’s recently (and narrowly) re-elected president names a cabinet to sort out the economic mess. Banco Bradesco chief Joaquim “Scissorhands” Levy is expected to be her finance minister. Former finance minister Nelson Barbosa is on the docket to become planning and budget minister. And Alexandre Tombini will stay head of the central bank.

A new broom in Ukraine. Parliament meets for its first session after last month’s election, which brought in a lot of new, young reformers. Joining NATO is on the cards, though one general fears that Russia will do everything it can to militarize Crimea and take control over the Black Sea. German chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly opposes any attempt Ukraine might make at joining the organization.

America’s Great Migration. An estimated 46.3 million Americans—nearly five times the population of Sweden—are traveling an average of more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) to sit around a table with family members and enjoy turkey. There’s a snowstorm that’s going to complicate things for east coasters.

While you were sleeping

Germany boosted women in boardrooms. Starting in 2016, a minimum of 30% of the country’s biggest companies’ supervisory boards need to be female. Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and several other countries already have similar laws.

The EU unveiled yet another “kick-start” plan. It’s a €315 billion ($394 billion) investment fund, of which €16 billion will come from the EU budget, €5 billion from the European Investment Bank, and the rest—as if by magic—will be conjured from as-yet unidentified investors. The fund will target much-needed infrastructure improvements: transportation, internet, and energy.

HSBC and Goldman Sachs were accused of metal price fixing. The two companies, along with BASF and Standard Bank, have been sued by a US jeweler called Modern Settings for “front running”—sharing information about a client’s intent to purchase goods, in this case platinum and palladium, to make a profit. Modern Settings says this has been going on since 2007.

The Ferguson protests spread. Though the Missouri town that is at the center of the US debate about policing was quieter, demonstrators scuffled with police in several other US cities, and around 500 marched outside the US embassy in London.

Kim Dotcom said he’s broke. Authorities have “managed to drain my resources and dehydrate me,” said the infamous founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload. Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the US on charges of copyright infringement, says he has spent $10 million on legal costs since his arrest in New Zealand in 2012. His new company, Mega, is valued at $210 million.

GoPro’s has its eye on drones. The action-camera company is said to be working (paywall) on multi-rotor copters priced between $500 and $1,000 that feature its high-definition cameras. Lots of the recreational drones you can buy are already designed to attach GoPro cameras, so it wouldn’t be surprising that the firm wants to go, um, vertical.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on Europe’s new real-estate superstar. “Before the crash, Ireland’s turbo-charged economy earned it the nickname the ‘Celtic Tiger.’ Then came the dark days of crushing debt, deep recession, and an international bailout. Now, the country’s rapid recovery has people calling it the ‘Celtic Phoenix.’ Nowhere is this more apparent than in house prices.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Sometimes you should say no to surgery. South Korea began screening for thyroid cancer and treating far more cases,yet mortality figures didn’t budge.

Not all of OPEC cares about the oil price. Some of its members can just devalue their own currencies to keep their books in order.

Government snooping isn’t the way to prevent murders. Monitoring Facebook wouldn’t have saved the life of Lee Rigby.

Americans should just eat less. Eating fewer calories solves the obesity problem, which in turn solves the health-care problem, the greenhouse gas problem, and the excessive-waste problem.

Surprising discoveries

Snow delayed your flight? Could be much worse. Passengers in Siberia had to give their plane a push along the tarmac after its brakes froze.

Brainwashing starts early. Starting next year, North Korean high school students will be required to take an 81-hour course on the Dear Leader.

Celery and olives were once Thanksgiving staples. But that tradition disappeared in the 1970s for various reasons—mainly because celery is boring.

Democracy is a tourist attraction. Taiwan is expecting a flood of visitors from the Chinese mainland to watch its Nov. 29 elections.

You can’t export a good education. But you can export your students—80% of wealthy Chinese families send their kids abroad to learn, versus 10% of Germans and 1% of Japanese.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, celery stalks, and terrible turkey jokes to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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