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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US savings rate, Kim Dotcom’s extradition, ninja lanternsharks

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

What to watch for today

The US Commerce Department releases November data. It will share changes in income, savings rate, and inflation-adjusted spending. Information released early by accident shows consumer purchases climbed in November 0.3% to $12.4 trillion—the biggest rise in three months.

London may crack down on Uber. The city’s transport authority wraps up deliberations on a set of rules and restrictions for private-hire vehicles. Uber, naturally, has protested the proposed regulations, saying they would “mean an end” to the ride-hailing service as London knows it.

China tests longer trading hours for onshore yuan. The Chinese Foreign Exchange Trade System will close at 11:30pm instead of 4:30pm local time. The trial, which lasts through Dec. 30, will allow China to overlap with European markets and potentially boost its case for the yuan as a global reserve currency.

India’s parliament closes. It’s the last day of the Indian parliament’s winter session and a number of bills are pending, as prime minister Narendra Modi visits Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow. After a standoff last week, the Modi government and its opposition have promised to pass certain measures by today.

A ceasefire for the holidays in the Philippines. In honor of holiday celebrations, the nation’s underground Communist Party has ordered guerrillas to hold all attacks through Jan. 3. The Philippine Armed Forces calls the ceasefire “unilateral” and will continue operations.

While you were sleeping

Turkish opposition leaders condemned the downing of a Russian warplane. Selahattin Demirtas, head of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, said his government was wrong to shoot down a Russian jet last month. He and other party leaders were meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

Australia caught three suspected terrorists. Sydney police arrested two young men suspected of involvement in a botched 2014 attack on a naval base and other targets. Border patrol also revealed that on Nov. 15, they detained and subsequently deported a French national who was discovered to be carrying two cans of mace and “extremist” literature.

Kim Dotcom was declared eligible for extradition. New Zealand courts declared the founder of Megaupload, a site widely used for piracy, can be sent to the US for trial. Dotcom is appealing the decision, but if he loses, he will face charges of money laundering, racketeering, and copyright violation.

A Russian business tycoon bought an American basketball team. Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Group purchased a 20% stake in the Brooklyn Nets, and a 60% stake in Barclays Stadium, where the team plays. Combined with Prokhorov’s personal ownership of both assets, the mogul now has 100% control of the businesses.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how SpaceX’s reusable rockets could transform the space industry: “SpaceX has already proven itself a real competitor to aerospace giants, offering the cheapest prices to reach low-earth orbit—at about $60 million per launch—thanks to its focus on simple design, cheap materials, and advanced manufacturing techniques. But the ability to reuse their rockets could cut tens of millions, if not more, from that number… it could make hitherto cost-prohibitive schemes a reality, the same way the falling cost of microprocessors opened up new business opportunities.” Read more.

Market haiku

Taking it easy,
Look: Chipotle barely even stirred,
Winding down the year.

Matters of debate

2015 is the year we embraced designer babies. Countries making way for new kinds of gene therapy made the idea of genetically engineered humans acceptable.

Austerity is pushing EU voters to the fringes. Just look at Spain this week, says Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.

The UK would be weakened if Britons vote to leave the EU. The former British foreign secretary warned that an exit could lead to a UK breakup.

Collaborative work isn’t all that collaborative. Nearly a third of value-added collaborations comes from just 3% to 5% of employees.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists have discovered a glow-in-the-dark shark. They call it the “ninja lanternshark.

Maintaining your beard can be a career. This man makes a living (video) off his exquisitely groomed facial hair.

Extinct animals are rediscovered more often than you may think. This sort of “rediscovery” of species highlights our limited understanding of animals.

Being a world leader can shorten your life. Expect to lose more than two years if you’re elected the head of a Western country, according to a new study.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, bioluminescent wildlife, and rediscovered species tips to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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