Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
How much did we spend on the weekend? The National Retail Foundation releases data from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday today. Some department stores claimed they had a record-breaking weekend. Adobe Insights said $5.03 billion was spent online by the end of Black Friday—a 17% jump from 2016.
The OECD presents its Global Economic Outlook. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will go over its twice-yearly assessment of the world economy. In June it said the outlook had improved, but warned against complacency (paywall).
Ivanka Trump arrives in India. In her role as a senior White House advisor, the first daughter will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson, in an apparent snub, didn’t send a top delegation to join her.
Jerome Powell’s confirmation hearing. Trump’s nominee for the Federal Reserve chair will appear before the Senate Banking Committee. If confirmed, Powell will be responsible for unwinding a $4.5 trillion stimulus plan.
While you were sleeping
SoftBank offered a lower price for Uber shares. SoftBank and a group of investors pitched to buy a $6 billion stake in Uber that would value the ride-hailing company at $48 billion—about 30% lower than its most recent valuation. The investment would also entail expanding the board, curbing former CEO Travis Kalanick’s power, and governance changes.
British banks passed their health checks. The annual “stress tests” revealed that UK lenders could cope with a “disorderly” Brexit without needing to raise extra capital or curb lending, said the Bank of England.
WeWork eyed Meetup. According to Crunchbase, the co-working startup is interested in buying the social-networking service. Meetup, which lets people organize get togethers with others who share their interests, has been around since 2002. WeWork, which launched in 2010, has raised around $10 billion—making it a decacorn.
China sentenced a Taiwanese human-rights activist to five years in prison. Lee Ming-che, who went “missing” in China in March, was charged with inciting subversion of state power. Critics said the trial was not only a sham, but also a warning to Taiwanese democracy activists.
The owner of Cinnabon and Arby’s agreed to buy Buffalo Wild Wings. The private-equity firm Roark Capital Group will pay $2.4 billion for the Minneapolis-based restaurant chain, according to Bloomberg. The deal could be announced as soon as today.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tripti Lahiri on the Pope (likely) avoiding the word “Rohingya” while in Myanmar. “Outside Myanmar, the word is just the name for the country’s beleaguered Muslim community. Inside, the use of the word implies the user is siding with the Rohingya, and against the many people in Myanmar who insist the Muslim community are outsiders and ‘Bengalis,’ like the people of neighboring Bangladesh.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
If aliens are out there, China will make contact first. Building the world’s largest radio dish comes with a lot of responsibility.
The British monarchy is renouncing its rigid roots. Meghan Markle is being welcomed despite her distinctly non-Royal background.
There’s no such thing as a “lone-genius” in business. Invention is a process (paywall) that requires collaboration.
Russians are smoking home-grown tobacco. A dire economy has forced one of Europe’s heaviest-smoking populations to grow it in the backyard.
Our brains are built for bargain hunting. We care less about the actual stuff and more about getting a killer deal.
South Korea is updating North Koreans via loudspeaker about the soldier who defected. He barely survived a daring escape across the DMZ.
Chicago offered to let Amazon pocket employees’ income taxes. “The result is that workers are, in effect, paying taxes to their boss,” one think tank warned (paywall).
Google can tell if someone is looking at your phone over your shoulder. It’s developed an AI-based system that can recognize a person’s gaze in 2 milliseconds.
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