Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Hong Kong surrender fail, euro zone worsens, LINE sticker bonanza, nuclear wetsuits

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

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 will announce decisions on their benchmark interest rates, and private firm ADP posts US unemployment numbers for November.

While you were sleeping

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy leaders tried—and failed—to surrender. The three co-founders of Occupy Central with Peace and Love, a key organizer of the Umbrella Movement, turned themselves in to police, admitting they had “taken part in an unauthorized assembly.” Police told them to fill out a form indicating their offense, and then released them.

Sweden’s government may collapse after only two months in power. Prime minister Stefan Löfven threatened to resign after his budget failed to win legislative approval. The right-wing Sweden Democrats have vowed to block any budget that supports a rise in immigration.

Iran allegedly 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. A senior Iranian official denied the Pentagon’s allegation, according to Reuters.

Euro zone weakness worsened. The bloc’s composite purchasing manager’s index, which combines manufacturing and services, fell to 51.1 in November, from 52.1 in October. The new business sub-index fell below the 50 mark for the first time in more than a year, indicating contraction.

Japan and China’s service sectors expanded. Markit’s PMI for Japan’s services sector rose to 50.6 in November, from 48.7 in October, passing the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction. China’s also nudged up, barely, to 53.0.

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

We must colonize other planets to protect the human race. So says Stephen Hawking (paywall).

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

Shinzo Abe shouldn’t lose his nerve. Sure, the Japanese prime minister caused a recession, but that’s no reason to back down.

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

Kim Jong-un doesn’t want namesakes. North Korea banned anyone else from using its leader’s name.

There’s big money in LINE stickers. Top designers can make up to $180,000 from the messaging app.

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.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, nuclear wetsuits, and LINE stamp suggestions 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.