Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Greek debt deal, Arcelor Mittal, HP sued, President of Ironystan

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Good morning Quartz readers!

What to watch for today:

Can Egypt’s president keep order? Opposition parties are set to protest again today against the president, Mohammed Morsi, who last week granted himself sweeping powers that critics claim effectively make him a pharaoh, leading to violent clashes in Cairo. Morsi has partially compromised with critics; he will allow judges to review his decisions while preserving a constitutional council working to design a permanent government for the country.

Will ArcelorMittal be booted out of France? Indian tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, who controls ArcelorMittal, is due to meet with French President François Hollande today for peace talks after France’s Minister of Industrial Renewal, Arnaud Montebourg, blasted the company as unpatriotic for planning to close plants and even threatened to nationalise the business.

Will China’s yuan keep rising? After it approached a 19-year high yesterday—a record it has already breached several times this year—global investors are watching China’s appreciating currency. The yuan has tested its state-imposed upper bound 18 times in the last 20 days.

Was the UK’s third-quarter growth boost a mirage? The UK is set to release revised GDP figures for the third quarter of 2012 today; while initial results suggested a pace-setting 1% increase in production, analysts expect the number to be revised down to account for weaker reports in construction and manufacturing.

Can the housing sector continue to be a bright spot in the US? We’ll find out when September’s Case/Schiller Housing Price indices are released this morning.

Was Yasser Arafat murdered? The remains of the iconic Palestinian leader, who died in 2004, are being exhumed today for testing in an attempt to put paid to rumors that he was poisoned with radioactive polonium.

While you were sleeping:

Greece in our time.  The third round of talks in a matter of weeks between euro-zone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank officials to hash out their differences on Greece’s bailout program has resulted in an agreement. They will accept Greece’s bringing its debt burden down to 124% of GDP by 2020, instead of the previous target of 120%. The measures provide a way to reduce Greece’s debt liabilities without forgiving any, something the IMF had been pressing for but European finance ministers had rejected.

The top securities regulator in the US steps down. After nearly four years of service, Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Schapiro, who had told colleagues for a while that she was “exhausted,” announced her retirement; President Obama said he would move to replace her with SEC Commissioner Elisse Walters on an interim basis.

HP was hit with a class-action suit. It was only a matter of time. A proposed class-action lawsuit alleges Hewlett-Packard “knew” that it had made allegedly misleading statements about its disastrous acquisition of Autonomy. HP last Tuesday stunned investors by writing down the British software firm’s value by $8.8 billion and alleging that Autonomy inflated sales. (Autonomy co-founder Mike Lynch has denied any wrongdoing.) Autonomy might be just one of the bad decisions HP made in a misguided shopping spree that put short term profits ahead of long term sustainability.

Quartz obsession interlude:

Christopher Mims on weird retail in our mobile future: “The sheer variety of opportunities for buying things means the future of retail will be a hybrid between showrooms, virtual stores and traditional stores tricked out with a variety of novel ways to pay. The question is, which retailers will do best in each of these modes, or some combination of them. It’s not hard to imagine that, having saturated the online market, some online retailers will eventually have to create physical showrooms of their own. Shrunken, more-specialized, more boutique-like successors to Best Buy, carrying mostly products not available from other retailers, could be juxtaposed in the world’s strip malls and urban shopping arcades with showrooms that carry no inventory beyond display models.” Read more here.

Matters of debate:

Five quick fixes to grow China’s economy. But only if they can overcome entrenched political interests.

Should a $2.3 billion UBS loss be blamed on outsourcing to India? After the Swiss bank outsourced compliance to an Indian company, regulators found that UBS missed early warnings that might have allowed it to catch a so-called “rogue trader.”

Indian English is morphing into something unrecognisable. Kids are leaving school speaking “Hinglish”, a hybrid of Hindi and English that this writer claims would not be understood in London or New York.

Are banks and states engaged in a dance to death? symbiotic relationship that could end poorly for everyone.

The US doesn’t have fiscal problems. Just fiscal scolds.

The problem with outdated trade statistics. Think that iPhone was made in China? Think again.

Surprising discoveries:

Mitt Romney probably got 47% of the popular vote. Its clearly his magic number. Final vote tallies are starting to trickle in and it appears Romney scored 47.49%.  The Atlantic Wire, Quartz’s sister publication, has named him “President of Ironystan”. Here’s a playback (video) of those ill-fated 47% comments. 

How to undiscover an island. Scientists seek to rid the world’s maps of a non-existent Pacific landmass.

Finally, PSY’s “Gangnam Style” is the most watched video on YouTube. Justin Bieber who?

By 2018, the US will import more goods from Mexico than from China. It turns out that we haven’t entirely eliminated the distance problem in the supply-chain equation.

American holiday shoppers have nothing on China’s online buyers. While US retailers celebrated a $1 billion online take from holiday sales on Black Friday, China’s “Singles Day” earlier this month brought in $4.84 billion.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, feedback, and coordinates for undiscovered islands to  or hit “Reply” to this email.

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