What to watch for today
An annual India-Russia meeting concludes in Moscow. The two-day summit is Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s first official visit to the Russian capital, and a crucial bit of maintenance for Indo-Russian relations. Oil, defense, and nuclear energy were topics on the table during Modi’s private dinner with Vladimir Putin last night; today, the two heads of state are expected to sign a major weapons deal.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda gives a speech. The head of Japan’s central bank is speaking at the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, in Tokyo. Days after the bank announced a change in its asset-buying program, which was perceived as a desperate move to create inflation, investors will be listening keenly to Kuroda’s remarks.
Record-high temperatures on the US east coast. A major chunk of the eastern seaboard will experience temperatures above 70 degrees fahrenheit; in some places, this will be a 30-to-40-degree deviation from historical norms. Meteorologists say the anomalies are powered by a stream of warm tropical air linked to this year’s strong El Niño.
A holiday break for the markets. On the night before Christmas, the markets close early. US stock brokers wrap up business at 1 pm in New York, and bond traders can go home at 2 pm. Many European markets will also shut early.
While you were sleeping
Rescue workers reached one more survivor from the Shenzhen landslide. Migrant worker Tian Zeming was found 67 hours after the pile of construction waste collapsed in Shenzhen, China; he was hospitalized and reported to be in stable condition. More than 70 people remain missing—Tian said he was next to another survivor, but state media reported that rescuers found him dead.
Russia was accused of going too far in Syria. An Amnesty International report says Russian air strikes killed at least 200 Syrian civilians in October and November—charges that could amount to war crimes. The Kremlin called the report “fake information” and said it is conducting operations within international law.
Lyft got an edge over Uber in Los Angeles. Lyft became the first ride-hailing service allowed to pick up passengers from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), just in time for the holidays. LA opened up license applications to both companies earlier this year; Uber would not comment on the status of its application.
India tried to stop Facebook’s free internet. Regulators reportedly asked Facebook’s Indian telecommunications partner to shut down Internet.org, Facebook’s initiative to bring limited internet access to developing countries. Internet.org is still accessible in India, and Facebook has said it is committed to working with local authorities to get India’s poor connected.
France remains divided on how to fight terrorism. Prime minister Manuel Valls said the government would move to strip those involved in terrorism cases of dual French citizenship, a measure president Francois Hollande called for after the Nov. 13 Paris attacks. France’s justice minister strongly opposes the bill on grounds it challenges the right of French citizenship based on birthplace.
Quartz obsession interlude
Bobby Ghosh on the 15 best things he ate in 2015. “I can’t explain what makes one dish better than another, much less parse the fine points of ingredients and recipes. But I know good food when I eat it. This is part of the reason why, a few years ago, I started the Instagram hashtag #GhoshEats… a photo album of my gastronomic adventures, from Hong Kong to New York, Oslo to Cape Town.” Read more here.
Pulling energy with them,
Matters of debate
“Wearables” aren’t a thing. The term we thought we needed to describe integrated technology ended up describing everything—and nothing.
America is becoming more liberal. Even if conservative politicians win big in 2016, the country at large is tilting leftward.
India needs to get over its obsession with fair skin. And it’s irresponsible for Bollywood actors to endorse lightening creams.
3,200 American prison inmates were accidentally released early. Officials are tracking down the ex-offenders, and will give them credit for time spent in the community.
Women can save money by shopping in the men’s aisle. On average, beauty products like razors and soap aimed at men cost less than the same products for women.
The KKK was once a pyramid scheme. Now seen as fringe, the white-supremacist group gained millions of followers in the 1920s thank to its “wildly successful multi-level marketing structure.”
An endangered species of frog is benefiting from Puerto Rico’s debt. The lowland coquís stands a chance at survival now that industrial projects have come to a halt.
A psychologist tricked kids into turning down sugar. It involved a small dose of peer pressure, and inventing a fictional, less popular snack called “hemlock.”