What to watch for today
China tests longer trading hours. The Chinese Foreign Exchange Trade will close at 11:30pm instead of 4:30pm local time. The trial, which lasts until Dec. 30, will allow China to overlap with European markets and potentially boost its case for the yuan as a global reserve currency.
India’s parliament closes. It’s the last day of the Indian parliament’s winter session and a number of bills are pending, as prime minister Narendra Modi visits president Vladimir Putin in Russia. After a standoff last week, the Modi government and its opposition have promised to pass certain measures by today.
London may crack down on Uber. The city’s transport authority wraps up deliberations on a set of rules and restrictions for private hire vehicles. Uber, naturally, has protested the proposed regulations (paywall), saying they would “mean an end” to the ride-hailing service as London knows it.
Turkey’s opposition leaders visit Moscow. Leaders of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP party will meet with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Relations between Moscow and Ankara have been strained since Turkish forces downed a Russian jet last month.
A ceasefire for the holidays in the Philippines. In honor of holiday celebrations, the nation’s underground Communist Party has ordered guerillas to hold all attacks until Jan. 3. The Philippine Armed Forces calls the ceasefire “unilateral” and will continue operations.
While you were sleeping
Iraqi forces moved to take back Ramadi. After months of trying, Iraqi government forces moved to wrest control of the city from the Islamic State (ISIL), backed by US air strikes. This offensive is reportedly the most successful effort yet, thanks to a change in tactics.
A US jury passed on charging jail employees for a woman’s death in custody. A Texas grand jury announced that it will not indict any employees of the sheriff’s office or jail associated with the controversial death of Sandra Bland, earlier this year. It did not reach a decision regarding Brian Encinia, the officer responsible for Bland’s arrest.
Hillary Clinton revealed her plan to cure Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. The Democratic presidential candidate is proposing a $2 billion-a-year research initiative for the neurodegenerative disease, which affects some 6 million Americans. Unchecked, Alzheimer’s could affect 16 million Americans by 2050.
French officials announced a foiled terror plot. Two French citizens with ties to a known terrorist were arrested, according to an announcement by the interior minister. They were allegedly planning an attack on soldiers, police, and other state employees around the city of Orléans, a few hours from Paris.
NASA delayed its upcoming Mars mission. The Mars lander InSight, designed to listen for tremors (or “marsquakes”) on the planet, was supposed to launch in March 2016, but its key instrument, a French-made seismometer, has a vacuum leak that technicians can’t fix. The next possible launch date would be after May 2018.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on how SpaceX’s reusable rockets could transform the space industry: “SpaceX has already proven itself a real competitor to aerospace giants, offering the cheapest prices to reach low-earth orbit—at about $60 million per launch—thanks to its focus on simple design, cheap materials, and advanced manufacturing techniques. But the ability to reuse their rockets could cut tens of millions, if not more, from that number… it could make hitherto cost-prohibitive schemes a reality, the same way the falling cost of microprocessors opened up new business opportunities.” Read more.
Taking it easy,
Look: Chipotle barely even stirred,
Winding down the year.
Matters of debate
2015 is the year we embraced designer babies. Countries making way for new kinds of gene therapy made the idea of genetically-engineered humans acceptable.
Austerity is pushing EU voters to the fringes. Just look at Spain this week, says Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi.
Collaborative work isn’t all that collaborative. Nearly one third of value-added collaborations comes from just 3% to 5% of employees.
Scientists have discovered a glow-in-the-dark shark. They call it the “Ninja Lanternshark.”
Nicolas Cage owns a stolen dinosaur skull. The Hollywood actor says he’ll send the specimen back to Mongolia right away.
Maintaining your beard can be a career. This man makes a living (video) off his exquisitely-groomed facial hair.
London Underground is using “Star Wars” to discourage fare-dodging. In addition to regular penalty fees, violators will be told plot spoilers.
Being a world leader can shorten your life. Expect to lose more than two years if you’re elected the head of a Western country, according to a new study.