Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Russian plane downed, Canada restricts refugees, the mid-life crisis confirmed

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What to watch for today

François Hollande visits the US. The French president and his US counterpart will coordinate efforts to investigate the Paris attacks and fight Islamic militants. The visit is part of Hollande’s campaign to build a coalition against ISIL; he will visit Vladimir Putin next.

Canada bars entry to Syrian male refugees. The government, working toward a year-end goal of accepting 25,000 refugees, will unveil a plan to limit asylum to women, children, and families. Unaccompanied men will be excluded due to security concerns.

The Philippines goes to court over the South China Sea. It will present arguments over the contested waters to a UN-appointed tribunal in the Hague. Beijing is not participating, but the tribunal said this will not deprive the court of jurisdiction. The hearing is expected to last a week.

Nigeria announces its rate decision. Analysts are worried that central bank governor Godwin Emefiele will weigh politics heavier than economics and reduce the cost of borrowing. A lower rate would make borrowing cheaper for president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Hewlett-Packard reports quarterly earnings. This is the last time HP will report its earnings as a single entity, after it split into HP Inc. and HP Enterprise earlier this month. Campbell Soup, Tiffany & Co., and Dollar Tree also report their numbers, as does Hormel Foods.

While you were sleeping

Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane. The Turkish air force said the plane had violated national air space and was warned repeatedly; Russia confirmed that a plane was downed but denied entering Turkish air space (paywall). Russian pilots parachuted from the wreckage in the Antalya/Hatay region, near the border with Syria.

Five Black Lives Matter protesters were shot in Minneapolis. Police are searching for three white men who shot members of a group that was protesting an earlier police killing of an unarmed black man. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

Jaguar Land Rover warned of lower annual profits. The Indian-owned luxury British carmaker said its full-year pre-tax profit will not match last year’s £2.6 billion ($3.9 billion), due to large investments in UK engine manufacturing and a blast in China that destroyed thousands of its vehicles. But CEO Ralf Speth said the Chinese market is rebounding, after a tough year.

Ethiopian Airlines is planning to expand its fleet. Africa’s largest carrier is considering purchasing 10 new planes from Canada’s Bombardier, but is also exploring offers from Brazilian, Russian, and Chinese plane makers. The airline plans to double its fleet from 77 to 150 by 2025—a large proportion of which might be piloted by women.

Scientists successfully bred a malaria-resistant mosquito. University of California researchers genetically modified the bug so that it would also pass on malaria resistance to its offspring. The alteration could wipe out the risk mosquitos present to humans without removing them from the ecosystem.

German business confidence swung upwards. The influential Ifo Institute Index rose to 109 this month from 108.2 in October, beating expectations that it would remain unchanged. That’s good news following a month in which the Volkswagen emissions scandal dented exporters’ confidence.

Japanese manufacturing got a boost. The Nikkei/Markit preliminary purchasing manager’s index rose to 52.8 in November, from 52.4 last month, lifting further from the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction. The highest gauge in almost two years comes on the back of a growth in export orders.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford and Nikhil Sonnad on why you always get sick on vacation. “Lucky are the few who haven’t gone on a much-needed holiday only to spend their vacation hugging a box of tissues in a bed-bound Theraflu blur. So commonly do people seem to fall ill on vacation that some psychologists have christened it “leisure sickness.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The Pfizer–Allergan Merger is a disgrace. Pfizer benefited from taxpayer-funded research—and now won’t pay taxes on its drugs. 

Nostalgia is ruining video games. Players’ love for franchises is discouraging the creation of new titles.

Bankers are still paid way too much. Even the co-head of Deutsche Bank thinks so.

The Left needs to show it can create an iPad. It will be much more attractive if it can prove socialism doesn’t ruin entrepreneurialism.

Don’t write off the humble PC this Christmas. It stands a good chance of making a comeback in the holiday shopping rush.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists discovered how agriculture transformed human genes. It might have contributed (paywall) to Europeans’ white skin color.

There’s a trick to avoiding the winter blues. Don’t distract yourself from the bad weather, get out and embrace it.

Mid-life crises are real. Life satisfaction is lower than ever in your 40s.

IBM wants to predict earthquakes and volcanoes. A new use for Watson, the smartypants supercomputer.

Parasitic infections could make some women more fertile. Roundworms can affect the number of children women have.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, winter happiness techniques, and mid-life crisis remedies to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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