What to watch for today
The Paris climate conference kicks off. The COP21 summit involves 196 parties and is expected to draw 45,000 government officials, business leaders, and press. The proceedings are intended to produce a global agreement to reduce carbon emissions and limit global temperature change. The meeting will run through Dec. 11.
The Chinese yuan gets a nod. The International Monetary Fund is expected to approve the inclusion of the yuan in its Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket. It’s the first major addition to the benchmark since the euro, and represents a symbolic victory for China, even if the yuan is still a long way from becoming a true global reserve currency.
Brazil’s balances. Investors interested to see if there have been any changes to the country’s capacity for servicing its debt will be paying close attention to the Brazilian central bank’s monthly report on the federal budget.
The future of the Fed’s emergency lending authority. The Federal Reserve Board holds an open meeting to discuss the Congressionally mandated changes to section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, which contains the ”exigent circumstance” clause invoked by the central bank when it took emergency measures to prop up the financial system in 2008. Critics accused the Fed of overreaching, prompting Congress to later clarify its wishes.
Over the weekend
Hundreds of thousands marched for climate change worldwide. Some 50,000 people marched in London, while there were 20,000 in Madrid and in Rome ahead of the Paris climate talks. In Paris itself, where the recent terror attacks led to the cancelation of a planned march, 10,000 people—including Pope Francis and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, donated shoes for a street installation.
Russia announced sanctions against Turkey. Imports already have been blocked from entering Russia, as part of president Vladimir Putin’s response to Turkey’s shooting of a Russian jet. The decree also called to end charter flights between the two countries.
The alleged Colorado gunman was named. Officials identified the suspect as 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, who is accused of killing three people in an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic on Nov. 27. Dear reportedly expressed anti-abortion and anti-government views to investigators.
Adele’s album set a new record for first-week sales. Her 25 sold nearly 3.4 million copies in its first week on sale in the US—almost 1 million more than the previous record, set by ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached in 2000.
Wladimir Klitschko ended his nine-and-a-half-year reign as heavyweight boxing champion. He was beaten by Tyson Fury, who has claimed the WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight champion titles and handed Klitschko his first defeat in 11 years.
Quartz obsession interlude
Jenna Gottlieb on the downside to Iceland’s rising popularity with tourists. “In order to manage Iceland’s newfound popularity, some suggest the country may need to either cap the number of tourists allowed into its most popular destinations or else find a way to pay for better infrastructure and upkeep.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
How physicians dress actually matters. We don’t want our doctors too casual, too formal, or too fashion-forward.
India’s government does not understand democracy. Modi’s ministers cannot keep advising beef-eaters to “go to Pakistan” while paying lip service to the constitution.
Watch the upcoming China-Africa Cooperation Forum meeting closely. It’s time to discern the new political realities beneath the hypocrisy and hype.
We should consider renaming Mars’ moons. That is, if we care about the children of the planet’s future colonists.
Our fear of death makes us ill-equipped to pass right-to-die laws. The debate requires that people on both sides stop denying their mortality.
Scientists can score your ability to pay attention. This might someday help us identify children in need of attention training or personalized learning.
Words for describing nature are disappearing from our vocabularies. Like the Cornish word “zawn,” which is a chasm cut by waves into a sea cliff.
A forger claims La Bella Principessa as his own. He says the portrait, thought by some to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci, is of a supermarket checkout girl named Sally.
Loneliness could be messing with our immune systems. It seems to lead to significantly higher levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter.
Harry Potter had good reason to name his son after Snape. So says JK Rowling.