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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Uber’s valuation, high-stakes rocket launch, teardrop cocktails

  • Quartz
By Quartz

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today and over the weekend

A high-stakes space rocket launch. An aircraft operated by three private companies will transport food, water, and scientific equipment to the International Space Station at 5:33pm ET (10:33pm GMT). Two recent private-sector attempts to supply the station ended in spectacular explosions. You can watch today’s launch here.

Xi Jinping visits South Africa. The Chinese president joins 52 leaders at a China-Africa forum in Johannesburg. Ahead of the trip, Xi signed $6.5 billion in deals with South African president Jacob Zuma.

OPEC tries to lift oil prices. Members of the oil cartel meet in Vienna to determine target prices and production numbers. Discord seems likely after Russia, Iran, and Iraq rejected Saudi Arabia’s surprise proposal for a round of oil production cuts.

Union protests in South Korea. After a demonstration involving 60,000 people turned violent last month, the country’s biggest labor group will hold another protest on Saturday. The group wants to do away with proposed reforms that would make it easier to fire workers.

Greece votes on a new budget. Parliament is expected to vote on a 2016 budget on Saturday, the first put forward by its new coalition government, which includes Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party and the right-wing Greek Independents.

While you were sleeping

Authorities failed to find a motive for the San Bernardino mass shooting. The FBI is treating the violence as a potential terror attack (paywall) due to the shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s recent travel to Pakistan and the extensive arsenal held by him and his wife.

The US named 16 new suspects in its FIFA corruption case. They were charged with racketeering, wire fraud, and money-laundering, as part of a 92-count indictment. In total, over $200 million is believed to have been embezzled by officials in the soccer organization.

A SABMiller company recalled 1 million bottles of beer. Carlton & United Breweries, an Australian unit of the mega-brewer, announced the recall after discovering broken glass in some of its beer. That’s unfortunate timing for SABMiller, which is looking for regulatory approval of a $106 billion buyout.

Xi Jinping went after bankers. The Chinese president put one of the nation’s top police officers in charge of a probe investigating corruption in the securities industry, according to Bloomberg. Fu Zhenghua locked up the nation’s former security czar this summer.

Uber thinks it’s worth more than General Motors. The global ride-hailing behemoth is raising $2.1 billion at a $62.5 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg. That means Uber’s market cap would exceed GM, among other blue-chip names.

The US Senate voted to repeal Obamacare. The House passed a bill that would end an expansion of healthcare for the poor and end penalties for individuals and employers who do not buy health insurance, as is currently required by law. But president Barack Obama is expected to veto the move.

Quartz markets haiku

Startled, doves scatter

Flap and squawk—disappointed

But the euro soars

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Frommer on whether to blame Marissa Mayer for Yahoo’s decline. “Yahoo still has a massive audience, yet its products—where Mayer’s talents were specifically supposed to shine—just aren’t that much better than they were before. Yahoo has not become Google. Is that Mayer’s fault? It is hard to simply say no.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

ISIL is the Islamization of radicalism, not the other way around. It’s essentially young Muslims revolting against their parents. 

Buying a gun should be as difficult as getting an abortion. That’s what one US lawmaker is proposing with a new bill.

Babies, cooking equipment, and toilets have no business being connected to the internet. The “hyperconnected future” is getting out of hand.

Surprising discoveries

Climate change has one very cute winner. It means more hiding places for Alaska’s fluffy snowshoe hare.

Two artists are making cocktail bitters from human tears. You can use them to make a martini with extra sadness.

US marijuana growers are using $6 billion a year in electricity. That’s 1% of the country’s total usage.

A nonprofit that supports whistleblowers has its own whistleblowers. The group is accused of firing employees who support unionization (paywall).

China’s latest “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” poster downplays non-white characters. Chewbacca also didn’t make the cut.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, snowshoe hares, and bitter tears to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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