Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Greece’s gamble, Mars’ watershed, Portland sues Uber, mistletoe drone fail

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What to watch for today

A busy day of haggling in Brussels. EU finance ministers will make a first pass at paring down the list of 2,000 projects vying for a slice of a proposed €315 billion ($388 billion) strategic investment fund. They’ll also discuss aid to Ukraine while their energy counterparts discuss the gas pipeline that Russia no longer wants.

The US comes clean on CIA torture. Republicans opposed to publishing the 480-page “summary” of a classified Senate report on CIA techniques warned that it will spark “violence and deaths,” and put Americans overseas at risk. Former president George W. Bush and his allies have already started bad-mouthing the report.

China’s Central Economic Work Conference begins. The closed-door meeting is where officials set China’s goal for 2015 GDP growth. The figure is expected to be 7.0%, one of the lowest in a decade—at least that’s what the World Bank is urging. This year’s target, which China looks set to miss, is 7.5%.

Big money on a big stage. The two-day Goldman Sachs Financial Services Conference kicks off, with the CEOs of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Blackstone, and the CFO of JPMorgan Chase expected to speak.

While you were sleeping

Hong Kong issued an eviction notice to the Umbrella Movement. The High Court published a notice in the city’s newspaper saying that bailiffs and police will enforce an injunction to clear out the central pro-democracy protest site on Thursday. Protesters vowed to resist the decision, and the city’s strategy may have a glaring flaw.

Greece took a big gamble. The government called for a presidential vote later this month that could trigger a general election. Syriza, a left-wing party that wants to scrap EU-mandated austerity measures, is leading in the polls.

New evidence that Mars was suitable for life. NASA’s Curiosity rover found clear signs that a 96-mile wide crater once contained large lakes, rivers, and deltas, bolstering the theory that Mars was capable of supporting microbial life billions of years ago.

Portland sued Uber. The city said the on-demand car service fails to comply with health and safety regulations. Uber talked with officials for several months before it launched the service on Friday without an agreement with the city; Portland is threatening fines of up to $5,000 for Uber drivers.

Edward Glazer put 3 million Manchester United shares up for sale. The sell-off could earn $45 million for the son of late owner Malcom Glazer. Edward and his five siblings received an equal split comprising 90% of the club’s shares following their father’s death eight months ago.

Hackers demanded Sony withdraw The Interview. The ”Guardians of Peace” group warned that the private data of two Sony executives would be made public if the company did not “stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace.” The film may actually get a boost from the recent publicity.

Quartz obsession interlude

Sonali Kohli on the tricky ethics of tipping teachers. “The holidays are swiftly approaching, and for many families that means a lot of people to tip: the doorman, the housecleaner, the newspaper delivery person, to name a few. But what about the person you trust to mold your child’s mind? Showing appreciation for your child’s teacher can get tricky.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Regular exercise is part of your job description. Without it, your performance and satisfaction suffer.

Australia is creating its own lost decade. Its failure to tax mining profits or invest in education will set the country up for a fall.

China’s schools don’t create innovators. Alibaba’s Jack Ma says students don’t get a chance to experiment.

The secret to a happy relationship is a gadget-free bedroom. Cuddle up with each other, not an iPhone.

Forget Mars and focus on the moon. Astronaut Chris Hadfield says a lunar base should be mankind’s next great leap.

Surprising discoveries

A TGI Fridays mistletoe drone ended badly. The owner said a bloody accident wouldn’t have happened if the victim hadn’t flinched.

A Korean Air executive went nuts. The daughter of the airline’s boss deplaned a flight attendant for improper macadamia protocol.

Governments resent it when you do their jobs. Malaysian officials don’t like locals fixing Kuala Lumpur’s potholes.

Smoking erodes manliness. The more a man smokes, the more of his Y-chromosome he loses.

Diplomatic immunity only goes so far. Gambian diplomats sold 32 tonnes (35 tons) of tax-free tobacco out of its UK embassy.

Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.

Correction: We apologize for an error in yesterday’s brief. Krispy Kreme reports its third-quarter earnings today, not yesterday.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, business-class nuts, and mistletoe drones to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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