Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Gazprom’s new pipeline, Ghana elections, Starbucks taxes, “googlizo”

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today:

Russia starts building a pipeline for Europe. Russia’s Gazprom starts construction for the South Stream gas pipeline that by 2015 will pump 63 billion cubic meters a year into central Europe. By supplying about 14% of the EU’s gas consumption, the Kremlin hopes to make Europe a steady customer of its most important export.

Fewer people working in the USA.  The US non-farm payrolls report is expected to show that job growth in November dropped sharply after Superstorm Sandy. The storm sliced an estimated 86,000 jobs from the market, according to a report earlier in the week.

Ghana votes. President John Dramani Mahama faces off against seven rivals to preside over the country recently dubbed “a model of democracy for Africa.” Ghana is expected to grow 8% next year, the result of a boom in oil revenues.

UN global-warming talks come to an end. Envoys for the UN Climate Change conference are scrambling to put together a new treaty to be put in place by 2015 on cutting emissions, giving aid to countries for natural disasters, and other climate change issues.

Peru and Chile fight at The Hague about fishing. Chile defends its control of about 26,000 square miles (66,690 square kilometers) of fish-rich Pacific ocean at the International Court of Justice. Peru, the world’s largest fishmeal producer, has argued that the two countries never established a maritime boundary that would give Chile claim to those seas.

Our continually updating US fiscal cliff whiteboard: Our “cliff of the day” is Cliff Lee, a baseball player.

While you were sleeping:

Starbucks ponies up taxes. Starbucks caved to public pressure by agreeing to pay more corporate tax in the UK after paying only £8.6 million ($13.8 million) in 14 years that it has operated in the country. Starbucks said it would give up to $32 million over the next two years. Quartz’s Stephanie Gruner analyzes why the coffee chain is paying more than it legally has to, and why the UK doesn’t just change the law to make it pay more.

More hemming and hawing in Washington. Negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over the so-called US “fiscal cliff” are still at a standstill, as the deadline for stopping spending cuts and tax increases looms.

Apple and Samsung go at it again. The two companies were back in California court after a patent lawsuit in August landed the South Korean electronics maker a $1.05 billion fine. Now Samsung is hoping the judge will throw out or at least soften the bill, while Apple hopes she will add another $707 million to it. Here’s a breakdown of Apple’s strategy in the lawsuit. At least one patent lawyer thinks Samsung is going to come out the worse for wear.

Egypt goes back in time… to January 2011. After Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi deployed tanks outside the presidential palace, protesters pressed forward, defying orders from the Republican Guard to leave. At least six people have died and more than 600 wounded in clashes over the country’s new draft constitution that maintains Sharia law as its base.

Quartz obsession interlude:

Tim Fernholz on “Scroogled,” Microsoft’s holiday-themed negative ad campaign against Google: “There’s an old saw about the difference between elections and sales: Businessmen have it easier than politicians, since 49% of the market makes a firm well-off but a politician facing the same result is a failure. The relative ruthlessness of each sector, it goes, is reflected in politics’ all-or-nothing mudslinging versus the more genteel world of corporate marketing. The tech industry might be shaking up this conventional wisdom thanks to its firms’ all-or-nothing strategies; in this new world, 15% of the market isn’t enough for some players anymore.” Read more here

Matters of debate:

The fiscal cliff is the new Y2K. And as with the Millennium Bug, disaster can be averted if companies prepare and investors reorganize their stock portfolios with a view to the future, past next month. 

You should retire early and often. Pateel H. Papazian, a former director at KPMG living in Beirut, says it’s best to take breaks during your most productive years.

Irish austerity is not the answer. Even though ratings agencies have now upgraded their outlook of the former PIIG country and its biggest banks can borrow again on the open market, Europe shouldn’t copy Ireland’s austerity model.

The world needs the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Supporters of a trade agreement between 11 countries, including the US and various Asian and Latin American countries (but excluding China) is the “21st Century Agreement.” If successfully negotiated in 2013, the free trade area would encompass at least $21 trillion in combined GDP.

Southeast Asia ain’t no boomtown. Western bankers and consultants are promoting Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam as hot investment but it’s uncertain how long these countries can or should stay in vogue.

Surprising discoveries:

Google in Greek is googlizoThe verb google—as in “to google” something— translates into dozens of languages.

In hard economic times, Spaniards need more beer. Beer remains expensive in Spain compared to the US and Germany, but even the most cash-strapped consumers are keeping the bottle close by drinking ale at home.

Brazil gang members put in long work hours too. Members of Brazil’s First Capital Command gang held a 10-hour conference call from prison in São Paulo with members outside the prison. The agenda? Trafficking drugs to Paraguay and Bolivia, and distributing marijuana and cocaine in Brazil.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, pipeline plans or ways to say “google” in your local dialect to

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