What to watch for today
Yum! sells investors on its restructuring. The food giant that owns Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut will meet with shareholders for the first time since it announced it would spin off its struggling China business.
Argentina’s presidential inauguration descends into farce. Outgoing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and lawmakers from her party have refused to attend today’s ceremony due to a spat with president-elect Mauricio Macri. He tried to move up the inauguration by a day after Kirchner issued a slew of last-minute decrees.
Volkswagen faces the press. The German automaker will hold a press conference at 11am Central European Time (6pm in Beijing) to bring the public up to speed on its diesel emissions-cheating crisis. The conference will be shown live online here.
The Nobel peace prize ceremony. This year’s laureates—the four organizations that make up the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet—will receive their awards in Oslo, Norway. Ahead of the ceremony, one of the winners urged the international community to help with Tunisia’s economic transition.
While you were sleeping
Yahoo threw its plans into reverse. Instead of spinning off its $31 billion stake in Alibaba, Yahoo will instead conduct a “reverse spin-off,” keeping Alibaba shares and spinning off everything else. The tax-centric strategy could take another year, and does nothing to fix the many woes of Yahoo’s core business.
New information on terror attacks in Paris and California. French authorities identified a third gunman who attacked the Bataclan concert hall in November: A French national who had spent time in Syria. Meanwhile, the FBI said the couple who killed 14 people in California had talked about jihad two years before the attack, even before they got engaged.
The Paris climate conference got closer to a deal. The latest draft contains lofty goals but still has stubborn gaps, delegates said. The next 48 hours will be crucial, as 200 countries try to hammer out unresolved questions that may sound nitpicky but could have crucial implications.
A ceasefire in Homs. In the first major agreement between Syrian rebels and the regime of Bashar al Assad, rebels pulled out of their last pocket of the crucial city of Homs. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the area, and fighters who did not want to observe the truce were allowed safe passage.
Dow Chemical and DuPont shares skyrocketed on merger talks. Combining the two companies would create a massive conglomerate, valued at $130 billion, which would then be split up into three separate companies specializing in agriculture, specialty chemicals and materials. Dow and DuPont stock rose by 12% on expectations that the deal will be announced soon.
Quartz obsession interlude
Matt Phillips on why DuPont’s most important invention wasn’t nylon or kevlar. “It was a DuPont explosives salesman by the name of Donaldson Brown who in 1912 submitted an internal efficiency report to his superiors that used a version of the return-on-investment formula—still known as the DuPont formula—that eventually came to be embedded as one of the defining statistical metrics in the corporate world.” Read more here.
Quartz markets haiku
A little less crude still sinks
Matters of debate
Saudi Arabia is trying to wreck the Paris climate talks. Delegates say the oil giant is getting in the way of a deal and making implausible objections.
Donald Trump’s awful anti-Muslim plan is probably constitutional. Religious protections and other constitutional rights don’t apply to non-US citizens.
Learning styles are a myth. Everyone learns in pretty much the same way.
The inventor of the Theremin also helped bug the US embassy in Moscow. The bug used the same technology as his pioneering electronic instrument.
A one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album was purchased by a reviled hedge fund manager. Martin Shkreli recently hiked the price of a rare drug more than 50-fold.
Robots can learn new things like babies do. Algorithms that imitate infants help machines learn from their mistakes.
A man’s trousers fell down while he posed for a picture with Croatia’s president. She handled the awkward moment flawlessly.
Smog-ridden Beijing advises citizens to “smile” and “drink more tea.” The state-run broadcaster also suggests “trying to be positive.“