What to watch for today
Volkswagen faces the press. The German automaker will hold a press conference at 11am Central European Time to bring the public up to speed on its diesel emissions-cheating crisis. The conference will be shown live online here.
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.
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.
Adobe Systems reports earnings. Hit by the strong dollar, the Photoshop maker is expected to report fourth-quarter results in line with estimates after it lowered its profit forecast for 2016 in October.
While you were sleeping
A legal challenge to Uber in California grew. The scope of a class-action lawsuit saying Uber drivers are employees, and thus entitled to benefits, expanded dramatically. It will now include a set of drivers previously excluded—those who didn’t opt out of an arbitration clause in their Uber contracts. Uber said it will appeal the decision.
Australia announced suspiciously strong employment growth. In November the economy added over 71,000 jobs, according to the nation’s statistics bureau. This surprised economists, who expected a loss of 10,000 jobs. It also brought into question the veracity of the numbers—strong gains in October came as a surprise, too.
The Philippines reported mixed results. The unemployment rate fell to a record low 5.6% in October (paywall), having been 6.5% in September. But worryingly, exports fell 10.8% year-on-year in October, versus expectations of a 3.3% fall.
Dow Chemical and DuPont shares skyrocketed on merger talks. Both Dow and DuPont stocks closed the day about 12% higher on expectations that a merger deal will be announced soon. 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.
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 plan to ban foreign Muslims 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.“