Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Orion delayed, Microsoft dumps Nook, no ECB stimulus, heroic pomegranates

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What to watch for today

America wins on jobs. The November job numbers posted by the US Department of Labor is expected to show more than 200,000 jobs added in the month, which would hold the country’s unemployment rate at or around 5.8%, the lowest level in 6 years.

Orion backtracks on getting to Mars. NASA experienced technical glitches that scuttled its launch, pushing back the event, an early step in sending humans to Mars, to Friday at 7:05 ET.

Ukraine’s latest ceasefire kicks in. It will be constricted to the Luhansk region as heavy weaponry moves to a buffer zone this weekend. Donetsk, home to an airport that’s vital to supplying pro-Russian forces, suffered fresh attacks this week.

The US makes nice with King Abdullah of Jordan. Likely on the agenda in talks with President Barack Obama: the military campaign against the Islamic State, the civil war in Syria, and Jordan’s refugee problem.

Italy’s largest union goes on strike. The trade association CGIL is summoning its six million members to stage an eight-hour strike opposing prime minister Matteo Renzi’s recently parliament-approved jobs legislation, which would make it easier for companies to hire and fire.

While you were sleeping

Microsoft sold the Nook back to Barnes & Noble. The software giant forked over $300 million for a stake in Barnes & Noble’s e-book division over two years ago, but it just sold that stake back to B&N for $62 million and 2.7 million B&N shares. It probably didn’t help that the book seller recently launched an Android powered Samsung tablet.

The ECB said no new stimulus this year. The central bank may consider juicing the economy more next year, but has decided to tread water for now, especially since oil prices have fallen so precipitously in recent months. Meanwhile, euro zone growth forecasts were revised downwards: 0.8% this year, 1.0% next year, and 1.5% in 2016—down from 0.9%, 1.6%, and 1.9%, respectively.

Uber was valued at $40 billion. The New York Times’ DealBook reported —and Uber itself confirmed—that “a major round of venture financing” underway would value the fast-growing ride-sharing service at roughly $40 billion. Six months ago, the service was valued at roughly $18 billion. Fortune reported on new Delaware filings showing Uber is selling $1.8 billion in new shares in the company.

Google went after your kids. The search giant’s homepage, YouTube, and Chrome reportedly will be reinvented for children aged 13 and under, according to Pavni Diwanji, vice president of Google engineering. She said: “We expect this to be controversial, but the simple truth is kids already have the technology in schools and at home.”

The next James Bond film was announced: “Spectre.” It hits theaters in Oct. 2015. The 24th Bond film will be directed by Sam Mendes, star Daniel Craig (again), and include Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista in the cast. “Spectre” isn’t just British for “specter”: It stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, originally referenced in the 1960s films.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jeanne Kim on South Korea’s maternity spa culture. “If you aren’t ready to face the chaos and household chores of home right after giving birth, you might want to consider a move to South Korea. For years now, many South Korean women have gone to sanhujoriwon, spa-like postpartum care facilities, to recover from giving birth. In these maternity hotels throughout the country, professional nurses watch the newborns around the clock and give mothers time to recuperate.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Deflation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Without it, Spain and Greece wouldn’t be growing.

It’s time for Occupy Central to end. Students are being thrown in jail, protestors are losing their enthusiasm, and all for nothing.

Pomegranates will save Afghanistan’s economy. Assuming the logistical issues are ironed out.

Maybe Hillary Clinton shouldn’t run in 2016. The data shows she’s no longer all that popular.

Putin is running on fumes. Luck is no longer on his side, and he’s seemingly in denial about the price of oil.

Surprising discoveries

We’re one step closer to fixing spinal cord injuries. Scientists in the US created a drug that can restore spinal movement in rats.

German television is trashing Russian athletes. A documentary says 99% of Russian athletes dope.

Humans started making art half a million years ago. That’s four times earlier than previously thought.

Bats are born with built-in compasses. Israeli scientists found so-called “compass cells” in Egyptian fruit bats, which explains how they fly so well.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, plugs for deflation, and maternity spa recommendations to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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