Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—North Korea’s bomb test, Charlie Hebdo anniversary, dating Martin Shkreli

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What to watch for today

The world reacts to North Korea’s hydrogen-bomb test. South Korea is holding an emergency meeting after the North’s state media said the military tested the bomb, while earthquake sensors detected tremors of up to magnitude 5.1. But South Korean intelligence suggested the North may not be a hydrogen bomb, but a less powerful atom bomb. China was also not pleased.

Denmark, Sweden, and Germany discuss boundaries. Representatives will meet in Brussels to coordinate efforts to control the flow of migrants through Europe, after recent border closures have made travel more complicated for commuters.

Taiwan and Japan discuss so-called comfort women. After Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe formally apologized to South Korean women forced to work in Japan’s wartime brothels, officials will hold negotiations on behalf of Taiwanese victims.

Charlie Hebdo marks a painful anniversary. One year after extremists attacked the Paris office of the satirical magazine and killed 12 people, it will print one million copies of a special issue. The cover features a murderous God along with the words, “One year on: the assassin still at large.”

While you were sleeping

Republicans pushed back on the US president’s gun order. Paul Ryan, the House of Representatives speaker, accused Barack Obama’s executive action to reduce gun deaths of having “undermined liberty.” Donald Trump promised to overturn the executive orders should he become president.

Hundreds protested sex attacks in Germany. Protestors gathered to demand action following reports that scores of women were robbed and sexually assaulted on New Year’s Eve, mainly in the city of Cologne. Witnesses and police said that the suspects were of Arab or North African appearance, which could fuel anti-refugee sentiment.

Fitbit shares tanked after it tried to take on the Apple Watch. The San Francisco-based company’s stock fell more than 18% after it unveiled the Blaze color smartwatch—with more than a passing resemblance to Apple’s device—at CES in Las Vegas. The Blaze is powered by Google’s Android software.

Samsung expanded mobile payments. The South Korean smartphone maker’s payments technology will be available in Singapore, Australia, and Brazil. Samsung is competing with Apple’s mobile payments system around the world.

More bad news on China’s economy. The Caixin/Markit purchasing manager’s index for services dropped to a 17-month low of 50.2 in December, suggesting growth in the sector slowed. (A number below 50 signals contraction.) Poor manufacturing data earlier this week sent China’s stocks down.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jake Flanagin on why we can’t get enough of true crime shows. “Instead of fetishizing the criminal and the crime, Serial and Making a Murderer take a long, hard look at the contexts in which such atrocities arise, how we as a society deal with them, and whether our methods of delivering justice are as sound as they are purported to be.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Twitter would be right to expand its character limit from 140 to 10,000. Here’s why—in 10,000 characters.

The US should back Iran over Saudi Arabia. US-Iranian interests increasingly overlap, and the US-Saudi friendship is fraying.

A major global recession will begin this year. The United States will be largely insulated.

Surprising discoveries

Chameleons have the fastest tongues on Earth. The smallest species have the highest acceleration.

A woman went on a Tinder date with “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli. He was “really nervous.”

Google Translate is in trouble in Russia. It translated the country’s name to “Mordor” in Ukrainian.

The oldest and coldest mammals may fare the best under climate change. Bowhead whales are used to surviving in tough conditions.

One of New York’s most powerful men was rejected from jury duty. Mike Bloomberg did not mention he was the mayor for three terms (paywall).

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, politically incorrect translations, and Trump defenses to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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