Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—AirAsia debris found, Russian blogger convicted, Petrobras default risk, stolen fingerprints

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What to watch for today

Petrobras faces the threat of a default. Distressed-debt fund Aurelius Capital is pushing for bondholders of the Brazilian state-run oil company to issue a notice of default for $54 billion of its foreign-held debt, after it failed to publish its third-quarter results within a required 90-day period. The delay is due to an ongoing bribery investigation.

Palestine gets a thumbs-down. The territory submitted a resolution to the UN security council on Monday calling for Israel to leave its occupied lands by the end of 2017. Palestinian negotiators say they are hoping for a vote today or tomorrow. The US will probably veto it—but that’s all part of the Palestinians’ plan.

Another look at US house prices. The S&P/Case-Shiller house price index for the three months to October offers data on repeat sales.

While you were sleeping

Searchers found floating debris and bodies from AirAsia flight #8501. The Indonesian military recovered more than 40 bodies in the Java Sea, just 10km (6.2 miles) from where the plane—which carried 162 people—was last seen on radar. The location of the crash site in relatively shallow water should aid in recovering the plane’s black box and determining the cause of the disaster.

A Russian anti-corruption blogger was convicted of fraud. Alexei Navalny received a suspended jail sentence after a fraud prosecution that many decried as politically motivated. Navalny’s brother Oleg was also convicted of fraud and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Japan forged ahead with Abenomics. The ruling coalition approved a corporate tax cut that will bring down rates to 32.1% from 34.6% in April, and confirmed earlier promises to reduce corporate tax to below 30% in the next few years. Japan’s cabinet is expected to approve the measures early next month.

Korean manufacturing got a boost. Industrial output rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.3% in November from October, beating expectations of a 1% rise. But output is still down year-on-year, and analysts expect an interest rate cut in the next few months due to the deflationary effects of low oil prices and weak domestic consumption.

Evidence showed that LA police shot a young black man in the back. A newly released postmortem confirmed that Ezell Ford was shot at close range by police in August. Officers argued Ford attacked them; Ford’s parents have filed a civil rights lawsuit saying officers were aware of his mental illnesses.

Hyundai bet on Chinese growth. The South Korean car maker said it would build two new factories in China and increase output at another, despite concerns over slowing growth. The company, including its Kia Motors affiliate, said it would focus on making small- to medium-sized cars specifically for the Chinese market.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how 2014’s most surprising dip will affect 2015. “You can count on two things in the new year: oil prices will occasionally rise—as they have today. And 1 million barrels per day of new supply will join the already gushing global surplus, guaranteeing that prices also will dive, as they did last week and generally have been doing since June.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t make new years’ resolutions… If you actually want to change, just start today.

…But if you do vow to lose weight, open a window. Being cold may hold the key to shedding pounds.

Yahoo will try to buy CNN next year. Even if it’s “a spectacularly bad idea.”

2015 is going to be rough for Europe, due to unemployment, slowing growth, immigration concerns, and Russia.

ET will be a cyborg. Any civilization capable of interstellar travel will also give its biology an upgrade.

Surprising discoveries

An endangered Sumatran tigress ate two of her cubs. Real tiger moms are ruthless.

The European parliament is a labryinth. The confusing headquarters has nearly made grown men cry (paywall).

Your Facebook posts could change monetary policy. The Bank of England watches them for a timely read on the economy.

No fingerprints required. A hacker cloned the prints of Germany’s defense minister by examining close-range photos.

New York’s newest trophy building is a lie. “423 Park Avenue” actually opens out to unglamorous 56th Street.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dishonest addresses, and extraterrestrial robots to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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