Good morning! It’s Cyber Monday! Here is everything you need to know before your first meeting of the day.
1. Police and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have clashed again. Police used pepper spray on the crowd. Thousands of activists forced the temporary closure of Hong Kong’s government building. 40 arrested, Reuters reports.
2. Black Friday shopping appears to have declined 11% in the US. The Washington Post says: “The National Retail Federation reported that 55.1 per cent of consumers shopped between Thursday and Sunday, according to a survey it conducted over the weekend. That is down from 58.7 per cent the previous year. The NRF said total spending was $US50.9 billion, an 11 per cent decline from an estimated $US57.4 billion in 2013.” One theory: Shoppers no longer believe that deals will only be available on the Friday and are instead spreading their buying across the weeks leading up to Christmas.
3. UK manufacturers are moderating their growth expectations. A survey of manufacturers by EEF and BDO says companies predict growth of 3.5 per cent this year for the sector but that will slow to 2 per cent in 2015, the Financial Times says.
4. Chinese manufacturing looks weak. Business Insider’s Linette Lopez reported: “Chinese manufacturing disappointed again in November. The country’s manufacturing PMI missed expectations coming in at 50.3, analysts expected 50.5.” It’s the second straight month where PMI has been near 50. Any measure under 50 indicates the sector is contracting.
5. The Swiss have rejected the gold standard. In a national referendum on Sunday that was closely watched by gold bugs — people who believe that currency should be tied to the actual value of gold — Switzerland rejected a proposal to link the Swiss franc to gold reserves held by the country’s central bank.
6. An American couple cleared of killing their daughter has nonetheless been barred from leaving Qatar. It’s an unusual case: Prosecutors in the Muslim country accused the pair of starving to death their adopted daughter. The 8-year-old girl alternately starved and binged on food, a behaviour the couple was trying to correct. The Huangs are Asian and their adopted daughter was black — a situation prosecutors appeared not to understand. The couple spent a year in a Qatari jail before they were cleared by a court. Their passports were taken at the airport even though they were being escorted by the US ambassador.
7. Samsung is planning another new metal phone. The next iteration of its A series will have a screen bigger than 5 inches, Business Insider noted.
8. Samsung’s mobile division chief kept his job! The company had been expected to axe Shin Jong-kyun because the company’s phone sales have declined. But they left him in place in the annual reshuffle.
9. Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, has been told to tone it down. O’Leary is known for his media-friendly statements about charging passengers to use the toilet and turning up to press conferences in bizarre costumes. Now the company wants him to become a bit more “presidential” in his behaviour.
10. United Nations diplomats will gather in Lima to again attempt to persuade governments to restrict their emission of greenhouse gases. The problem is that we may have already passed the point of no return, and that the planet faces a future of “drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding,” according to The New York Times.
And finally …
The organisers of an art project during which actor Shia Labeouf claims he was raped have spoken out against the woman who allegedly assaulted him. “Nowhere did we state that people could do whatever they wanted to Shia during #IAMSORRY”, one of them tweeted. The Guardian reports: “#IAMSORRY involved LaBeouf sitting silently behind a desk in a room in LA’s Cohen gallery with a paper bag bearing the legend ‘I am not famous anymore’ over his head. For five days, members of the public queued to be able to sit alone with him in the room with a prop of their choice.” One woman whipped him and took his clothes off, The Guardian says.