Countdown to Christmas, Syria vote and Star Wars economics: Here's what got us talking this week

Emma Haslett
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Good news for Christmas tree importers, at least...

A ray of sunshine after the gloomiest November in 86 years: this was the week in which the Bank of England declared the end of the financial crisis. Even banks aren’t stressed any more...

What got us talking this week

1. Festive fun

Only 20 more sleeps until the big day, and don’t we know it. From Christmas trees at bargain prices (thanks, weak euro!) to warnings over exploding hoverboards (this year’s hottest Christmas present - in more ways than one, it turns out), the festive season has got going in earnest.

Even City A.M. is involved, with a Christmas advent calendar giving you festive treats every day this month. From the economics of Santa rallies to the greatest discoveries made this year, relive the best and worst of 2015 here.

2. Rates are about to get interesting again

Alright, so Mario Draghi’s announcements yesterday were more Grinch than Santa, with one analyst dubbing it an “exquisitely wrapped lump of coal”.

Still, things are about to become positively fascinating across the pond, after jobs data published this week beat expectations, clearing the way for the first interest rate hike since 2006.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on City A.M. for live coverage.

3. The battle for London's roads heated up

It’s the final furlong for cab hailing app Uber, which at the end of December will find out whether Transport for London could slap it with a raft of restrictions.

In the run-up to the big day, the competition regulator has made its views known (spoiler: the Black Cab lobby doesn’t come out well). Meanwhile, Uber itself stuck two fingers up at TfL, launching a cheap-as-chips ride-sharing option in London - despite the fact it could be banned, come 23 December.

4. Mark Zuckerberg came over all generous

Unto Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a child was born, causing him to come over all Bill Gates and pledge most of his fortune to charity. Aaaah.

Meanwhile, City A.M. explored whether it’s wise for companies and wealthy individuals to go public with their giving.

5. The demise of Morrisons

The FTSE 100 reshuffle left Morrisons out in the cold after 15 years as part of the City’s bluechip index. Bad times for the retailer - although on the plus side, it was named one of the UK’s best supermarkets for wine. Swings and roundabouts…

Still, if you wanted a decent investment, you could have done far worse than putting your cash into one of 2015’s IPOs. Here’s how they’ve done this year, compared with the FTSE 100.

Leisurely reads

In a city where property is in short supply, why do buildings lie derelict? We explore one of London's largest dormant buildings with the author a new book on empty properties

Casting about for something to do during your time off? Here are three of the best business books to read this Christmas.

He might be a staunch eurosceptic, but that doesn’t mean Lord Lamont can’t be BFFs with former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. In an interview with City A.M., he explained the problems of a “United States of Europe”.

Chart of the week: Did your MP vote for airstrikes in Syria?

Great reads from elsewhere

AI could either wipe us out or usher in utopia according to philosopher Nick Bostrom. This lengthy piece from the New Yorker explains why people are so scared of robo-doomsday.

Isis is ploughing its way through $1m of ammunition each month, and needs more. The FTfollows the munitions trail, taking a look inside Isis Inc.

The last word

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