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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Syrian opposition meets, Japan’s not in recession, relaxing “night milk”

By Richard Macauley

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Syrian opposition forces meet in Riyadh. Various military and political groups will convene in Saudi Arabia to discuss the formation of a united position against president Bashar al-Assad. World leaders are pressuring Assad and opposition groups to begin talks in the next few weeks.

France pushes for more information sharing. French finance minister Michel Sapin will try to persuade his EU counterparts to increase cross-border data sharing, among other measures, to make it more difficult for individuals to fund terror operations.

Malaysia’s ruling party meets amid political turmoil. A five-day gathering of the ruling United Malays National Organization starts in Kuala Lumpur. Prime minister Najib Razak is embroiled in a massive corruption scandal, and some party members are calling for his resignation.

Home Depot lays out its future. The world’s biggest home improvement retailer will explain its three-year strategic plan (paywall) to investors and analysts, after its third-quarter results suggested American consumers are spending again.

While you were sleeping

Oscar Pistorius dodges jail while awaiting sentencing. A court set bail for the former paralympian at 10,000 rand ($700) after his conviction for killing his girlfriend in 2013 was changed from manslaughter to murder. Pistorius had served just one year of a five-year jail term under his previous conviction.

Household spending lifted the euro zone’s GDP. The bloc’s economy grew by 1.6% in the third quarter from a year earlier, unchanged from the three months beforehand, but in line with expectations.

The US confirmed the death of an ISIL leader. A Pentagon spokesman said that Abu Nabil, a senior leader in the terror group, was killed in a November air strike. A senior al-Shabaab leader was also killed in a strike last week, the Pentagon confirmed.

Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the US. The Republican presidential candidate pushed for a “total and complete” end to Muslims—including tourists—entering the country, in reaction to a shooting in California. Fellow Republican candidate Jeb Bush called Trump “unhinged.

Airbus is mulling a services unit sell-off. The European aerospace group is considering selling its Vector unit, which services and maintains airplanes, according to Reuters. The deal could fetch $800 million, and would allow the group to focus more on its satellite, defense, and missile businesses.

Beijing raised its first red alert for smog. Schools and factories were closed and traffic restrictions were put in place from 7am local time, and the measures are expected to last until midday Thursday (Dec. 10). Air in the capital had only barely cleared up following a particularly heavy dose of smog.

Good news from Japan. It turns out that the Japanese economy wasn’t in recession in the third quarter after all; instead, GDP rose by an annualized 1% in the period. That figure was revised up from a preliminary reading of -0.8%, following a contraction in the second quarter.

Quartz obsession interlude

Nikhil Sonnad on ISIL’s new recruitment song. “If the goal of this song is recruitment, the choice to perform it in Mandarin is puzzling… It seems more likely that doing the song in Mandarin is simply a way to direct a warning at all of China. The song is sure to annoy the Chinese Communist Party, as ISIL has been doing more often of late.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Kids shouldn’t be allowed to play American football. Minors under the age of consent shouldn’t participate in a dangerous game.

Apple waited too long to enter the streaming music wars. The company isn’t providing any incentive to switch from established rivals.

Google’s chairman wants social media hate-speech filters. Videos from ISIL, for instance, could be stopped before they spread (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

“Night milk” is better at curing insomnia. Milk collected from cows at night has “enhanced sedative effects.”

Technology could save us from the dentist’s drill. Several methods out there could treat cavities before they occur.

Germany took in more refugees this year than the US has in the past 10. More than half are from Syria.

Linz is scrapping its “gay-themed” pedestrian crossing lights. Traffic lights “should not be misused to impart advice on how to live your life.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, night milk, and hate speech filters to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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