What to watch for today
The Sony hack spat continues. President Barack Obama said the hack of Sony Pictures is not “an act of war,” but nevertheless suggested that the US may put North Korea on the terrorism watchlist. The Hermit Kingdom denies it did it and said the US should take part in a joint investigation—or suffer “grave consequences.”
Xiaomi’s soaring valuation. Look for reaction from rivals’ stocks with the Chinese phone-maker’s new $1 billion round of funding, which could close as soon as today (paywall) and would value Xiaomi at $45 billion, up from $10 billion in August 2013.
A final result in Tunisia. Beji Caid Essebsi, the 88-year-old leader of the secular Nidaa Tounes party, is already claiming victory in Sunday’s presidential election. He’s seen as a return to the ancien régime whose economic mismanagement set off the Arab Spring in 2011, but then again the Islamist Ennahda party didn’t do much better.
Global economic data. In the US, sales of previously-owned homes last month are set to be revealed. The Bank of England’s financial policy committee publishes the minutes of its last meeting. And Angola’s central bank reveals its latest rate decision.
Over the weekend
The US government sought a hefty fine against BP. The $16-$18 billion it reportedly wants a judge to approve—for BP’s role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico—would handily eclipse the $3.51 billion that BP had set aside as of Oct. 28 to cover its liabilities under the Clean Water Act.
Britain arrested a trader over exchange-rate rigging. A former trader at the Royal Bank of Scotland was the first to be arrested (paywall) as part of a global criminal probe by the US, UK, and Switzerland into rigging in the currency markets. Six banks, including RBS, have already paid $4.3 billion to settle forex rigging allegations.
Sony Pictures got a small consolation prize. As well threatening it over the North-Korean-themed film The Interview, the hackers who attacked the studio also leaked its new movie Annie online. Despite that, Annie did well on its debut weekend, though not nearly as well as the latest Hobbit picture.
Facebook angered Russian activists. At the authorities’ behest, the social network blocked Russian users’ access to a page calling for a protest march on Jan. 15. Others popped up in its place.
ISIL suffered a defeat in Iraq. Kurdish peshmerga fighters finished expelling the Islamic State group from Sinjar, the district in Iraqi Kurdistan. ISIL’s attempted genocide of Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar was what first prompted the US to launch airstrikes against ISIL.
New York police lashed out at protestors. After a gunman killed two police officers in New York and then himself, the head of a police organization accused protestors against police brutality (paywall) of fanning the flames. The gunman had talked on social media about killing cops in revenge for the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Quartz obsession interlude
Max Nisen on how one company is reinventing management training. “Managers are developed, not in the classroom, but on the job, online, and through advanced digital simulations… These simulations have higher stakes than a corporate retreat or lecture. Managers must make judgements on real company issues, under stress.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
These are the emails Sony execs should be sending. And they’d be ones the shareholders would be happy to see leaked.
OPEC has lost control of oil prices. Which is good, because it means supply and demand will set them henceforth.
The Peshawar massacre could be a force for good. The Pakistani state could (but probably won’t) channel popular anger to move against the Taliban.
You can be really busy without going crazy. Just try to think as linearly as possible.
Not every kid is meant for college.
But those who do make it,
The CIA’s advice for traveling spies. Basically, avoid looking suspicious.
Reddit is giving $5 million to its users. In the form of a sort-of virtual currency/equity.
Rich Russians are escaping to the UK. Investor visas granted to Russians are up 69% on last year (paywall).
Pay your bills, or we take the cat. Russian tax collectors have an incredibly effective new tactic.
Songbirds hear tornadoes before they form. A flock of warblers fled the path of a storm that was at least 250 miles away.
The new Star Wars teaser got 45 million YouTube views. 2014 was the year of the movie trailer.
Click here for more surprising discoveries on Quartz.
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