Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Emmanuel Macron hosts a global climate summit. More than 50 world leaders will meet to mark the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate accord, which was weakened after the US pulled out in June. Leaders will honor US climate scientists, with Macron offering to relocate them to France. Donald Trump was not invited.
Moon Jae In heads to China. The South Korean president will make his first state visit to Beijing to meet his Chinese counterpart, president Xi Jinping. The two nations are seeking to strengthen bilateral ties after a tense year, and discuss North Korea’s nuclear program.
The Federal Reserve raises interest rates. The US central bank is expected to increase its benchmark interest rate from 1.25% to 1.5%. It will be the last interest rate decision made by chairwoman Janet Yellen, who will step down in February (paywall).
While you were sleeping
A pipe bomb exploded in the New York City subway. Four people were injured in a blast carried out by 27-year-old Akayed Ullah, a Brooklyn resident from Bangladesh who had the bomb strapped to his body. Ullah, who was among the injured, was taken into custody.
Mario Batali was accused of sexual misconduct. The celebrity chef stepped away from operational control of his restaurant empire and was suspended from his TV talk show, after four women accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior that spans two decades. Batali said in an equivocal apology that many of the accusations “match up” with his behavior.
Saudi Arabia lifted its 35-year-old ban on movie theaters. In the latest round of liberal reforms rolled out by 32-year-old crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom is repealing a long-standing law imposed by Islamist conservatives. Films are expected to begin showing in March.
Trump directed NASA to send astronauts to the moon and beyond. He signed Space Policy Directive 1, which calls for long-term exploration of the moon and Mars. Three previous presidents have pushed for similar missions only to be hindered by financial and political difficulties, but an array of private space companies may make Trump’s order more successful.
Volkswagen’s CEO called for ending tax breaks on diesel. Matthias Müller said the German government should begin phasing out subsidies designed to boost diesel car sales. Volkswagen is still reeling from its emissions-rigging scandal for diesel-powered vehicles, which has cost it over €25 billion.
Quartz obsession interlude
Dave Gershgorn on the AIs that are so complex it can’t be trusted. “As machine learning becomes more prevalent in society—and the stakes keep getting higher and higher—people are beginning to realize that we can’t treat these systems as infallible and impartial black boxes,” Hanna Wallach, a senior researcher at Microsoft, tells Quartz. “We need to understand what’s going on inside them and how they are being used.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Map apps are terrible for traffic. Routing drivers through out-of-the-way thoroughfares causes traffic jams, late-night speed demons, and fatal accidents.
Spotify is ruining music. The service’s algorithmic playlists are made for background listening, which means only clickbait music survives.
The Philippines is still at risk from ISIL. The Muslim-majority city of Marawi is in ruins, and peace talks are needed with Muslim rebel groups.
Corporate jets are worth the money. A new study found that “business-related flights increase firm performance.”
China’s hottest cryptocurrency is not bitcoin. OneCoin, designed by Chinese tech company Xunlei, has increased more than 80-fold in the 40 days since launch.
The oldest form of life could solve the world’s biggest energy-storage problem. Feeding energy to a family of microbes called archaea produces methane, which can be stored indefinitely.
Marine organisms can shred a single plastic bag into 1.75 million fragments. The amphipod Orchestia gammarellus, seeking a meal, spreads the particles throughout the ocean.
New Zealand has the highest rate of homelessness in the developing world. The country may ban foreign real estate purchases (paywall) to tackle an affordable housing shortage.
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