Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Uber friends Slim, Iran’s Iraq airstrikes, Australia GDP slows, nuclear wetsuits

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What to watch for today

Takata faces the wrath of Congress. The Japanese airbag maker will be grilled by the US House Energy and Commerce Committee after failing (paywall) to announce a nationwide recall of its defective airbags, found in Hondas, Fords, Chryslers, Mazdas, and BMWs.

Abercrombie & Fitch tries to look good. The apparel retailer known for courting controversy is expected to report positive third-quarter results, despite a downturn in US shopping malls.

Numbers, numbers, numbers. Brazil, Poland, and Canada announce decisions on their benchmark interest rates, private firm ADP posts US unemployment numbers for November, and the euro zone reports GDP data.

While you were sleeping

Iran conducted air strikes within Iraq. The Pentagon said that Iranian air force jets attacked Islamic State positions in eastern Iraq, where the US is conducting its own air strikes against the extremist Islamist group. But US and Iranian officials both denied that they had coordinated their operations.

Uber hitched a ride with Carlos Slim. The ride sharing service signed a deal with Slim’s America Movil to promote the app and offer Uber drivers money off their phone bills.

Egypt sentenced 185 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death. A court found the men guilty of killing 12 police officers in an attack on a Cairo police station last year. The ruling is the latest of several mass trials of the group’s supporters since Mohammed Morsi’s brief rule ended last year.

Japan’s service sector shifted into growth mode… Markit’s purchasing managers’ index for the services sector rose to 50.6 in November, from 48.7 in October, passing the 50.0 level that separates expansion from contraction.

…As China’s nudged up, barely. The HSBC/Markit services PMI edged up to 53.0 in November, from 52.9 in October. New orders did particularly well last month, offering some small good news in an economy struggling with slowing property and manufacturing sectors.

Australian GDP growth disappointed. Third-quarter GDP rose 2.7% compared to a year earlier (paywall), missing expectations of a 3.1% rise. Second-quarter GDP growth was also revised down.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on the one problem Americans don’t want to talk about. “Not only is the US now less equal than Europe, it’s less mobile than many European countries. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Americans had a much easier time rising above the station into which they were born than their counterparts in Britain, according to economic historian Joseph Ferrie. Now, a poor Moroccan kid in France is much more likely to move into the middle class than a child born into a poor family in Mississippi.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The Amazon party is over. Investors are getting nervous about the company’s unsuccessful investments.

Hobbies are passé. They’ve been replaced with cultural obsessions.

It’s a golden age for TV sex. A new crop of shows are more diverse, direct, and inventive about getting it on.

Get your kids nothing for Christmas. They already have too much stuff.

Surprising discoveries

Most US executions come from just 2% of its counties. Stay away from Duval, Florida.

The US navy briefly had nuclear wetsuits. Researchers were looking for a way to keep divers warm.

“Gangnam Style” broke YouTube. PSY’s music video has been viewed more than 2.1 billion times, requiring a system upgrade.

Whale poop can change the climate (video). ”Fecal plumes” lead to more carbon-absorbing micro-organisms.

Russia hates sex education. It has vowed never to teach children about the birds and the bees.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

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