Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The International Olympic Committee rules on a possible Russia ban. The IOC will consider evidence of widespread doping at the 2014 Sochi games, just two months ahead of the 2018 games in South Korea. Last week, an IOC disciplinary commission slapped more than 20 lifetime bans (paywall) on Russian athletes and revoked 11 medals.
The UN sends a diplomat to North Korea. Jeffrey Feltman, the UN’s political affairs chief and a former senior US state department official, will meet with North Korean officials in Pyongyang including foreign minister Ri Yong-ho on a four-day trip. He is the first senior UN official to visit the country since 2011.
The Turner Prize is announced. The winner of one of the art world’s most prestigious awards will be unveiled in the northern British city of Hull. The shortlist, which previously excluded people over 50, includes the favorite to win, 63-year-old Zanzibar-born Lubaina Himid.
While you were sleeping
US judges allowed Trump’s travel ban to go ahead. The Supreme Court ruled that the third version of Trump’s travel ban against eight countries, six of them predominantly Muslim, can go ahead while appeals are being heard. Citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, North Korea, and some groups of people from Venezuela, will not be allowed into the US, with some exceptions.
Australia announced new laws against foreign interference. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed new legislation that includes banning foreign political donations, and mandatory disclosure by people who are working on behalf of a foreign power to influence domestic politics. The comes as concern grows over Chinese influence in Australian politics.
Trump slashed the size of two national parks. Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah will be reduced by over 2 million acres, or about 85%, reversing a move by Barack Obama. The decision will likely trigger legal battles from conservationists and Native American groups—outdoor-wear company Patagonia is suing.
Apple agreed to give almost 6% of its cash pile to Ireland. Apple reached an agreement with the European Union to begin paying €13 billion ($15.5 billion) to the Irish government in taxes. However, as Apple’s appeals process continues, its tax payments to Ireland will remain in escrow.
Honduras’s elite police force stopped obeying government orders. National police, including the US-trained Cobras unit, said they would remain in their barracks instead of enforcing a curfew called by incumbent president Juan Orlando Hernandez following last weekend’s contested election. Hernandez was declared the winner by a narrow margin but the opposition is calling for a recount.
Quartz obsession interlude
Akshat Rathi on the only technology that could reverse our failing fight against climate change. “For decades, certain scientists have hoped carbon-capture technologies, deployed at large scales, could save humanity from catastrophic climate change by providing a bridge to a future in which we’ll have enough capacity to create, store, and supply all the world’s energy from only renewable sources.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Deep corporate-tax cuts don’t work in the US. When Ronald Reagan tried doing it, business investment actually plunged.
Concerns about net neutrality are overblown. Neutral broadband access (paywall) is a cash cow for service providers—they need Google and its billions of users a lot more than Google needs them.
Big banks should issue cryptocurrencies. They replicate the anonymity of cash on a digital scale.
Amazon added 75,000 robots in 2017. Meanwhile, human jobs in the US retail industry dropped by 170,000.
A Chinese zoo has an inflatable animal exhibit. Visitors were disappointed by a flock of blow-up penguins.
Mercedes got caught trashing a rental Tesla Model X. It almost got away with putting the car through rigorous tests that included a complete dismantling and reassembly, had a note not been left in the glove compartment.
Germany is offering rejected asylum seekers up to €3,000 to go home. The scheme, dubbed “Your country. Your future. Now!” is meant to help reintegrate rejected asylum seekers in their home countries.
A fifth of people can “hear” a silent GIF. A small portion of the population that experiences synesthesia may hear a thudding noise while watching this.
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