Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Bitcoin futures make their debut. They officially began trading at 6pm ET Sunday on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, opening at $15,460 before surging past $18,500 as Asia started its week, then dipping a bit. The futures are tied to the digital currency’s auction price in US dollars on Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss’s Gemini Exchange. Cue the skeptics.
Uber’s appeal to ride in London. The troubled company gets a hearing over Transport for London’s refusal to renew its license. Next week, the European Court of Justice decides whether Uber is a technology company or a transport company, which will determine whether Uber is bound by strict local taxi regulations.
A huge day for online shopping. Ebay is credited with coining the phrase “Green Monday” more than 10 years ago, marking the day when consumers rush in their orders to safely ensure delivery by the Christmas holiday. Last year online sales on Green Monday reached a record $1.6 billion.
Over the weekend
Nicolás Maduro tightened his grip on Venezuela in mayoral elections. The controversial president, now considered by many a dictator, said his Socialist Party won more than 300 of the country’s 335 counties. Sunday’s voting saw a low turnout and a boycott by opposition parties over bias and irregularities, with one saying “what happened today wasn’t an election.”
Fitch raised the Philippines’ sovereign rating by one level. The upgrade to BBB with a stable outlook puts the Southeast Asian nation on par with Italy and ahead of Indonesia, and comes despite president Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs. The economy is expected to expand 6.8% next year and in 2019, the ratings company said.
BAE Systems won a $6.7 billion contract from Qatar for its Typhoon combat aircraft. UK defense minister Gavin Williamson called the deal a “massive vote of confidence, supporting thousands of British jobs and injecting billions into our economy.” Delivery is scheduled for late 2022.
Jerusalem and Beirut saw more violence. On Sunday, a Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli security guard at Jerusalem’s main bus station, while in Beirut local security forces fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters near the US embassy. The violence adds to the tension in the days since Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Mexico’s main opposition leader resigned. National Action Party leader Ricardo Anaya is expected to launch a 2018 presidential bid to run against the Institutional Revolutionary Party of president Enrique Peña Nieto, which is now running in third place in some polls. The primary campaigns begin Dec. 14.
JPMorgan Chase landed a new leader for its Sapphire Reserve card. It recruited Matthew Massaua from Barclays’s credit-card division, reported the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Sapphire cards have caught on with millennials, who pay a steep annual fee in exchange for perks including travel—even when better deals are out there.
Quartz obsession interlude
Preeti Varathan and Dan Kopf on the many languages of India spoken in America. “As of last week, the US Census Bureau is taking stock of just how many people in the US speak Tamil—along with Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali. Historically, the way the US census tracked South Asians was messy and often inaccurate—not tracking them at all or confusing them for white.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Professional managers are “bozos.” So argued a young Steve Jobs when he laid out the difference between leading and managing.
Student loans should be done away with. Brown University decided to replace them with scholarships, sending a message to other top schools.
Stock options can be a double-edged sword. Just ask former Uber employees who’ve gone into debt to hang onto shares they still can’t sell.
Google was born partly out of CIA and NSA research grants for mass surveillance. It’s not usually part of the search giant’s origin story.
Early humans migrated out of Africa much earlier than we thought. Anthropologists suggest the dispersal of early humans followed a complex path.
Silicon Valley firms are hiring models to act as guests at their holiday parties. It’s one way to solve a gender imbalance.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics mascot will be chosen by children. A raccoon, a cat, two foxes, and a pair of amiable aliens are in a heated race for their favor.
The woman who wrote the screenplay for the 1980 hit film 9 to 5 didn’t always get credit for it. She was overshadowed by a man.
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