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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Climate conference wraps, Mayer has twins, fire-breathing drones

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The UN climate change conference wraps up. It’s the last day of COP21, and world leaders have been working nonstop to reach an agreement on how to combat global warming. The draft is in better shape than it was earlier this week, but some suspect that negotiators may miss tonight’s deadline and deliberations will drag on into the weekend.

US, Russia, and the UN discuss Syria. The three-way talks in Geneva coincide with separate negotiations between Syrian rebel and opposition groups in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The UN Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, will also oversee talks between the Syrian government and rebels in January.

Shinzo Abe visits India. The Japanese prime minister kicks off a three-day visit where he’ll hold talks with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, and is expected to sign a deal to build India’s first bullet train.

While you were sleeping

North and South Korea met. In a North Korean border town officials held high-level talks on how to improve ties. The meeting was part of an agreement reached in August to de-escalate the current military standoff on the peninsula—a cause that was not helped by North Korea declaring yesterday it now has a hydrogen bomb.

Shares of two Fosun Group units were suspended. Chairman Guo Guangchang went missing yesterday (Dec. 10), and the resulting uncertainty weighed heavily on investor confidence. This followed last month’s arrests, linked to Beijing’s attempts to improve market transparency, of three corporate managers.

A Muslim advocacy group in DC was evacuated. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group in Washington, DC, received an envelope containing white powder and a written threat. A CAIR spokeswoman said the group receives hate mail on a daily basis, but “our fear is at a pretty high level at this time, given the anti-Muslim rhetoric going on.”

US lawmakers bought themselves some time. The Senate passed a five-day extension after failing to reach an agreement on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that is necessary to keep the government operating. The measure still must be approved by the House and president Obama before tomorrow’s deadline.

Marissa Mayer gave birth to identical twins. The Yahoo CEO announced the healthy arrival of her two daughters. The news comes with Yahoo in tumult, after it scrapped its plans to spin off its stake in Alibaba in favor of an even bigger restructuring. She plans to work throughout her “maternity leave.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Mike Murphy on the state of robots in 2015. “This was the year we were supposed to get hoverboards and flying cars. Instead we got more robots that fall over. They may build our cars and clean some of our floors, but for the most part, robots remain tucked away in research facilities and space operas.” Read more here.

Quartz markets haiku

Kiwis sliced four ways

A little dunking in oil

Enjoy your green treat

Matters of debate

The future of electric cars is not about Tesla. It’s about China. Sales of electric cars are soaring on the mainland.

You can’t be Steve Jobs, but you could probably be Steve Ballmer. The former Microsoft CEO was dealt a poor hand—and turned it into billions.

Slacktivism can make a difference. New research shows that tweeting activist messages helps those on the ground.

Surprising discoveries

Space agencies will start gathering moisture on Mars. A probe will capture 5 ml of water vapor a day, but could be scaled up to a Skywalker-style moisture farm.

A scientist injected with 35-million-year-old bacteria is feeling better than ever. He believes it may lead to an eternal life.

Canada’s maple-syrup cartel wants to put a grandma in jail. She is one of a small group of rebellious maple syrup producers.

“Krampus demons” injured five Austrian teenagers. The creatures, part of pre-Christmas festivities, beat the youths with birch branches.

A teen in Connecticut made a fire-breathing drone that can roast a turkey. Police say the state’s laws “have not caught up with technology.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, rebel maple syrup, and fire-extinguishing drones to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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