Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Trump’s former campaign chair is grilled in the US senate. Paul Manafort will be questioned in a judiciary committee hearing that is looking into foreign interference in the US election. Manafort attended a meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer along with several other Trump advisors last June.
The Federal Reserve leaves interest rates unchanged. Analysts think the US central bank is highly unlikely to raise its benchmark rate while inflation is below the 2% target rate. Investors will look for signals that the Fed is preparing to offload its $4.5 trillion in treasury and mortgage bonds.
Facebook’s quarterly results. The company is expected to report slowing ad revenue growth from its core news feed, shifting attention toward its Instagram app. But it’s unwise to underestimate Mark Zuckerberg: his company has exceeded profit expectations for 16 consecutive quarters.
While you were sleeping
Donald Trump taunted his own attorney general. The US president hurled a series of insults at Jeff Sessions, blasting the AG for recusing himself in the investigation of Trump’s Russia ties and calling him “very, very weak.” Trump refused to say (paywall) whether Sessions would be fired, but was warned against doing so by Democratic lawmakers.
US officials predicted a nuclear-capable North Korean ICBM in 2018. The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that Pyongyang will have a reliable intercontinental nuclear missile about two years earlier than expected (paywall). The prediction is based on data from recent missile tests.
A jailed VW executive will plead guilty in the US. Oliver Schmidt, former chief of Volkswagen’s environmental and engineering center in Detroit, is one of eight current and former executives charged with felony offenses in the automaker’s emissions cheating scandal. He faced a maximum of 169 years in prison and has been held in jail since January.
A study linked American football to chronic brain damage. Researchers studied the brains of more than 100 former NFL players and found that more than 99% showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, with college and high school athletes showing lesser degrees of the disease. The evidence is not conclusive since the samples were not chosen randomly, but adds to the growing evidence (paywall) of football’s risks.
Greece—yes, Greece!—had to turn away buyers in its first bond sale in three years. Athens sold €3 billion ($3.5 billion) in five-year government bonds, against demand that exceeded €6.5 billion, as it tapped into enthusiasm for the euro zone’s economic recovery. Greece’s economy grew by just 0.01% in 2016, and its 20%-plus unemployment rate is by far the highest in Europe.
Quartz obsession interlude
Anne Quito on how IKEA promises domestic bliss for different cultures. “For 67 years, the IKEA catalogue has served as a product showcase, design inspiration and manifesto for the 74-year old furniture company’s grand vision of creating a ‘better everyday life for the many people.’ But ‘many people’ means many different versions of the good life.” Read more here.
Tractors and burgers: / Tech stocks take a back seat to / outfits that make things
Matters of debate
Keyboards are overrated. Cursive handwriting is making a comeback, and science shows that it makes us smarter.
Buying time makes us happier. People reported a boost in well-being after spending money on time-saving purchases versus material goods.
India and China are in a no-win standoff. A border dispute in the Himalayas threatens to undo years of economic diplomacy.
Cryptocurrencies are turning to old-fashioned bank vaults. After a series of costly hacks, issuers use Swiss safe deposit boxes to protect digital assets.
Electric cars may get rid of the brake pedal. Nissan is planning on a single accelerator to control the vehicle’s speed.
A tech company is injecting microchips into its employees. The rice-sized RFID implant allows workers to swipe into the building or pay for food in the cafeteria.
Billions of rogue planets are wandering the galaxy. The Earth-sized nomads were separated from their own galaxies and now lurk in the Milky Way.
These tiny magnetic robots can swim through your blood. The experimental Chinese nanobots could someday deliver medicine to targeted areas of the human body.
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