Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The Bank of Japan gets aggressive on inflation. Under intense pressure from prime minister Shinzo Abe, the central bank is expected to announce a new range of measures aimed at jolting the Japanese economy out of its decades-long malaise. A 2% inflation target is among the moves, expectations of which have made the yen weaken markedly in recent weeks.
Bibi Netanyahu heads for another term. Israel’s prime minister led polls going into today’s election, and is likely to put together a more right-wing coalition that opposes further peace talks with the Palestinians. Then again, peace talks had all but vanished from the center-left’s political platform too.
A new asteroid-mining venture is unveiled. A company called Deep Space Industries will unveil plans to mine valuable minerals from asteroids. The California-based company says it will build a fleet of spacecraft. Last year, another company, Planetary Resources, backed by Google executives Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, announced similarly far-fetched plans.
Indian court hears plea to move rape trial. A defense lawyer for one of five men accused of a gruesome rape will ask the Indian Supreme Court to move the trial out of the capital, Delhi. Mukesh Singh says a fair trial won’t be possible in Delhi for last month’s rape of a 23-year-old woman who later died of her injuries. The five men face the death penalty if convicted.
While you were sleeping
Barack Obama sworn in for his second term. The president laid out an unexpectedly ambitious populist liberal agenda, including a vow to attack climate change, and support of gay marriage, equal pay for women, gun control, and immigration form, and suggested that Republicans will have to compromise.
Algeria now thinks more hostages died in last week’s attack. The government said that at least 37 hostages died during the four-day standoff with Islamic militants on a natural gas facility in the Sahara Desert; previous estimates were of 29 dead. Five hostages are still missing. About 29 militants were also killed and three were captured.
A coup attempt fails in Eritrea. The government managed to foil a coup attempt in Eritrea. The attempt to oust President Isaias Afwerki, who has ruled for 20 years, was mounted by disgruntled soldiers who took over state-run television.
Blizzards in Europe disrupt flights. Some 500 flights were canceled at Frankfurt airport, and London Heathrow scratched about 200 as snow and freezing rain engulfed Europe. The snow and rain made roads dangerous as well—Germany reported some 1,000 weather-related accidents.
She looked invincible, but now… German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a political setback with the defeat of her center-right coalition in an election in Lower Saxony. It shifts the balance of power in the country, and could affect her re-election to a third term in September.
Quartz obsession interlude
Matt Phillips on why sales are declining in China for Richemont, maker of Cartier wristwatches: “The combination of the recent Chinese leadership transition along with appropriate amount of outrage from Chinese bloggers about the ridiculously expensive wristwatches worn by officials who are supposed to be earning modest salaries has been poison for sales of extravagant watches. And they’re not alone: Other lubricants of the Chinese government apparatus—such as the one-time tipple of choice for government officials, a sorghum liquor once described as a “liquid razorblades”—have also declined.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
To recover from your next financial crisis, follow these 10 simple guidelines.
Stricter sentences, not new laws, are the real key to reducing gun violence.
Always be skeptical about claims of “lost generations.”
After 50 years, the relationship between France and Germany needs to stay close.
Draghi is a more important Mario than Monti.
Tweeting about trying to lose weight is an effective way of actually shedding fat.
Before Barack Obama’s speech on Monday, no American president had used the word “gay” in an inaugural address.
A startup backed by Peter Thiel is attempting to “bioprint” raw meat with a kind of 3D printer.
Not all DNA is in a double helix. Scientists say they’ve found four-stranded, square-shaped DNA in naturally occurring cells.
Canine-church loyalty. A German Shepherd in San Donaci, Italy, continues to go to mass at the church that his master attended before his death late last year.