Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He’s set to make it official in a White House speech, upending decades of US foreign policy, and defying the warnings of world leaders that the move could fatally disrupt the peace process. Trump also plans to eventually move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
A former VW boss is sentenced in the emissions scandal. Oliver Schmidt, previously head of an environmental and engineering center at Volkswagen, faces hefty fines and up to seven years in prison for his role in the carmaker’s emissions scandal. He has admitted to conspiring to mislead regulators.
Brazil and Canada make interest rate decisions. Analysts expect Brazil to cut its benchmark rate to a record low of 7%, down by more than half from last year. Meanwhile experts are split on whether Canada will nudge rates higher.
While you were sleeping
Bitcoin surpassed $12,000 for the first time. The cryptocurrency reached new heights amid speculation that the widespread use of futures will lead to digital currencies being considered as a legitimate asset class for mainstream investors. Observers warned the trading frenzy is a dangerous bubble waiting to burst.
UK authorities said they foiled a plot to kill Theresa May. A man will appear in court on terrorism charges today. He’s accused of making a plan to blow up the gates of Downing Street and attack the British prime minister with a knife.
Steve Bannon came out to bat for Roy Moore. At a Tuesday night rally in Alabama, Bannon said that the sexual assault allegations against the GOP’s Senate candidate were a set-up—multiple women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct toward them when they were teenagers. Trump has already thrown his support behind Moore.
Amazon doubled down in Singapore. It launched its subscription-based Prime service there on Wednesday, ramping up its fight with rival Lazada, which is backed by China’s Alibaba. Amazon is banking on faster delivery times and access to more than 5 million products from Amazon US to lure away Lazada customers.
The “French Elvis” passed away. Johnny Hallyday, France’s biggest rock star, died aged 74 from lung cancer. Hallyday sold around 100 million records over his career and was made a Chevalier of the Legion D’Honneur by president Jacques Chirac in 1997. French president Emmanuel Macron led the tributes, which also poured in from musicians around the world.
Quartz obsession interlude
Heather Timmons on the three ultra-rich families battling for control of the Republican party. “American historians see a titanic clash on the horizon. What’s coming next is a battle between ‘the very idea of democracy, and that human beings are created equal’ against the notion that power in America should be concentrated in the hands of a very few, very wealthy people, just as it once was in medieval Europe.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Bitcoin may be standing in the way of clean energy. The cryptocurrency’s massive carbon footprint is ridiculously unsustainable.
Women still can’t win when it comes to taking maternity leave. New moms—particularly powerful CEOs—are scrutinized about their leave choices in a way men will never be.
The world should copy Portugal’s drugs policy. Overdoses, HIV infection, and drug-related crime have all plunged since the country decriminalized all drugs in 2001.
Republicans accidentally killed a favorite tax break of big business. In a mad scramble to approve legislation that lowers corporate taxes, the Senate eliminated a treasured credit for corporate R&D.
The secret diary of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito is up for auction. It was written at the request of US general Douglas MacArthur and covers events from 1928 to 1945.
The Icelandic translation of Dracula is an entirely different book. Makt Myrkranna (Powers of Darkness) is, by some accounts, better (and “markedly sexier”) than Bram Stoker’s original.
A time capsule was found in a statue of Jesus. Two letters found in its hollow buttocks will help historians understand daily life in 18th-century Spain.
An AI metal band shredded like a human one. Programmers fed a real album through a neural network and Coditany of Timeness was born.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, AI metal tunes, and revisionist Dracula translations to email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.