Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Occupy Hong Kong surrenders, Israeli coalition fractures, US-Russia pipeline war, SpaceX seeks farmer

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What to watch for today

A new space race. European ministers meet in Luxembourg to discuss the continent’s space program—in particular, how its Ariane rocket can compete with SpaceX for commercial satellite launches, and how to fill the budget gap for a 2018 Mars rover mission.

Apple goes to court over monopoly allegations…for the iPod. Plaintiffs in a US federal lawsuit say the company violated antitrust rules in 2006 by only enabling iTunes customers to hear their music on iPods, rather than rival music devices. Apple could face a legal bill of more than $1 billion if it loses.

NATO plots Putin countermoves. The group meets in Brussels to consider putting troops in the Baltics to ward off further aggression from Russia.

Obama’s latest showdown with Congress. The Republican-dominated House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to determine whether the president’s executive order on immigration is constitutional.

While you were sleeping

Hong Kong’s Occupy Central announced its surrender. The group’s three co-founders said they would give themselves up to police tomorrow, and urged protesters from other democracy groups to retreat in the wake of recent violence. Separately, three student leaders are on a hunger strike to force talks with the government, and a faction of more extreme activists vowed to occupy government buildings.

Israel moved toward early elections.Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to mend a rift with finance minister Yair Lapid, signaling the likely dissolution of Israel’s ruling coalition. Lapid and other centrist coalition members have criticized the prime minister’s push for more Jewish settlements and his failure to advance a peace process with the Palestinians.

Lebanon detained the wife and child of ISIL’s leader. The family of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was detained near the Syrian border 10 days ago, a source told AFP. Lebanon has taken a tough stance against the Islamic State, cracking down on sympathizers and tightening its border controls.

Euro zone factory prices dipped, declining by a worse-than-expected 0.4% in October. The data will add to fears of potential deflation in the 18-nation currency bloc, and put more pressure on the European Central Bank to stimulate the economy.

Japanese wages kept slipping. Total cash earnings excluding inflation, bonuses, and overtime, grew only 0.5% in October from a year earlier, the slowest pace in eight months (paywall).

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how the world’s first pipeline war ended with a whimper. “Russian president Vladimir Putin scrapped plans for a contentious project to supply natural gas to southern Europe. His decision was forced by the effects of Western sanctions … But the conflict’s conclusion was more or less already in motion, the result of what terminates most wars: utter exhaustion, not to mention the absurdity of the battle itself.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

ISIL has peaked. It is losing battles and facing dissension within its ranks.

Maritime piracy can never be defeated. Knock it down in one ocean, and it will pop up in another.

Uber’s rider database is a sitting duck. The information it contains is tempting to hackers and spies.

Cheap oil has a dark side. Companies invest less in alternatives, Europe risks a recession, and Russia becomes even more aggressive.

Free shipping carries a heavy cost. But without it, customers often fail to complete their online orders.

Surprising discoveries

Stephen Hawking wants to be a Bond villain: ”I think the wheelchair and the computer voice would fit the part.”

SpaceX is hiring a farmer. Not for a space station or Mars, but in Texas.

Our thirst for booze is 10 million years old. That’s when our primate ancestors gained the ability to metabolize alcohol.

Russia’s police officers have an interesting way of earning the public’s trust. They post selfies with their moms.

American football is more dangerous than we thought. Young athletes who have never had a head injury still have altered brain structures.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, farmer CVs, and mom-cop selfies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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