Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Europe’s big banks meet. The Bank of England is expected to keep rates steady after a November raise, but it could give a hint about the pace of hikes next year. Meanwhile the European Central Bank will release its 2020 inflation projection, and president Mario Draghi could indicate how and when the central bank’s stimulus program will end.
Fox and Disney close a deal. Comcast dropped its offer to purchase major parts of 21st Century Fox earlier this week, leaving Disney as the sole bidder. The deal’s details aren’t clear, though analysts estimate that Fox’s assets top $60 billion. A lengthy regulatory review is sure to follow.
Net neutrality could be repealed in the US. Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai has said the existing regulations, which guarantee that providers treat internet content equally, discourage investment. If the commission votes to repeal, the move would open the way for providers to slow or block specific content.
While you were sleeping
Theresa May suffered a humiliating Brexit defeat. The House of Commons voted 309 to 305 in favor of an amendment to give parliament the final say on any Brexit agreement, with members of the UK prime minister’s own Conservative Party defying her wishes. The victory heartened proponents of a soft Brexit, who want a closer ongoing relationship with the EU.
The UN secretary-general called for the full implementation of sanctions against North Korea. Antonio Guterres made the comments today after meeting with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who argued that now is the time to maximize pressure on—not hold talks with—Pyongyang. Surprisingly, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson said Tuesday he was open to such talks “without preconditions.”
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter of a point. The US central bank also improved its forecast of economic growth to 2.5% for 2018, up from September’s forecast of 2.1%. The Fed indicated three rate increases for next year.
Republicans reached an agreement on the final version of the tax bill. The legislation includes a reduced corporate tax rate of 21% from the current rate of 35% and cuts taxes for the nation’s wealthiest families and individuals. Some details are still in flux, but Republicans expect to have the legislation approved by Congress by next week.
Quartz obsession interlude
Lynsey Chutel on the collapse of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s textile industry. “The Chinese entry was subtle. At first they only supplied the bales of plain cotton fabric. Then printed fabric began to arrive, the quality seeming to improve with every run until they were able to mimic the Congolese designs. Soon, it required a meticulous eye to notice the difference.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
AI is destroying our free will. Replacing human curation with data-backed judgment narrows our perspective in a way that chokes our social and economic choices.
Saying “you are capable” is the best way to compliment girls and young women. They’re at risk of internalizing social biases about their own potential.
Republicans no longer fear Stephen Bannon. Trump’s onetime Rasputin could not prevent Alabama from electing a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in 25 years.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is being sent to space. Astronauts in the International Space Station are getting their own digital copy of the space opera.
Human-sized penguins once waddled the Earth. Scientists estimate the bird weighed about 220 lbs (100 kg) and stood just shy of 6 ft (1.8 m).
Amazon in Germany sells Nazi-style Legos. One father’s Change.org petition to stop their sale has garnered nearly 1,500 signatures.
A volcanic region of Ethiopia gives us clues about life on Mars. The Danakil Depression is an inhospitable region where toxic gases saturate the air.
Ticks feasted on dinosaur blood. The parasitic organisms have been around for at least 99 million years.
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