Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Spanish election fallout, Blatter’s ejection, wrong Miss Universe

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What to watch for today

Spanish politicians form a new government. Prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party lost its majority in Sunday’s general election, despite taking the most votes. Voters instead opted for new anti-austerity parties, leaving no clear winner; let the horse trading begin (paywall).

Amazon’s warehouse staff are on strike in Germany. Workers at some of the online retailer’s German warehouses will walk off the job until Thursday (Christmas Eve). An Amazon spokesperson suggested deliveries will not be affected.

SpaceX launches another rocket. An upgraded Falcon 9 will be launched into orbit carrying 11 communication satellites. The launch, which has been delayed twice this month, is the first orbital attempt since a failed mission to reach the International Space Station in June.

How low can oil go? Brent crude oil prices reached an 11-year low this morning, while Goldman Sachs warns that prices could eventually fall as low as $20 a barrel. OPEC may boost production to shore up revenue, which could force US producers to start shutting down some capacity.

More clues over the Air France bomb scare. Four people have been arrested over a very fake-looking fake bomb (think cardboard and a kitchen timer) that forced a plane to land in Kenya, en route to Paris from Mauritius. Authorities are trying to piece together an explanation.

Over the weekend

US Democratic presidential candidates debated. There was no clear winner between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, senator Bernie Sanders, and former governor Martin O’Malley, who each jumped straight into issues on security and defense. Sanders’ focus on equality may have hurt him (paywall), given the public’s renewed attention on terror threats.

Sepp Blatter was ejected from FIFA. The global soccer association’s ethics committee announced an eight-year ban against the suspended president and fellow boss Michel Platini. Blatter had come to represent the massive corruption associated with the opaque governing body.

Ericsson and Apple settled their differences. The two technology giants dropped lawsuits over mobile device patents, and instead agreed to work together in multiple areas, including the development of 5G. Ericsson shares jumped while Apple’s fell, on news that Apple would pay royalties to Ericsson.

The World Trade Organization ended farm subsidies. Ministers reached a deal in which developed countries will eliminate export subsidies immediately, and developing countries will end them by 2018. That would put a stop to some of the “most trade-distorting subsidies in existence.”

Lyft is raising up to $1 billion in new funding. A Delaware state filing shows that the ride-hailing app and US challenger to Uber is aiming for what would be a huge cash injection. But no details were revealed about a possible company valuation, or about who has put in money so far.

Yemen’s peace talks failed to find a breakthrough. Constant breaches of the ceasefire between government troops and Shiite rebels hindered six days of talks in Switzerland, which ended with no agreement other than that both sides would meet again.

A landslide in China left at least 91 missing. Over 30 buildings were damaged and some collapsed in Shenzhen, one of China’s wealthiest cities. No fatalities have been reported; a similar landslide last month killed 25.

Quartz obsession interlude

Masha Gessen on the blossoming Donald Trump–Vladimir Putin love fest. “The two men do share an approach to politics. It is probably best described as principled dumbness. Both men love making inappropriate jokes—often inappropriate not just in the sense that they are obscene or offensive or both, but in the sense that they are non sequiturs. Putin’s favorite inappropriate joke is, ‘If grandpa had balls, he’d be grandma.’” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US’s support of African gay rights is backfiring. It’s bringing gay people out in the open, and they are becoming targets (paywall).

Well-being is a network of characteristics we can build ourselves. Achieving any single goal won’t leave you happy for long.

Was there, in fact, a winner in the Democratic debate? Bernie Sanders outshone Hillary Clinton on foreign policy, according to some. Others think Clinton cleaned up.

Surprising discoveries

Malawi prisoners won a Grammy nomination. One of their songs is titled, “I See the Whole World Dying of AIDS.”

Print book sales are on the rise again in the US. Partly because of books authored by YouTube stars.

The British became more pro-Muslim after the Paris terror attack. And anti-Muslim sentiment stayed flat, researchers discovered.

The Miss Universe crown was awarded to the wrong candidate. Taking it back, live onstage, makes for awkward viewing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Grammy nominations, and book vouchers to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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