Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Turkey’s prime minister visits Saudi Arabia. Binali Yıldırım will be in Riyadh for two days to discuss several issues in the region, including development around Jerusalem and the Qatar oil blockade. Meanwhile, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is heading to Tunisia as part of his three-day tour across Africa to bolster economic ties.
South Korea and Japan revisit sex slavery reparations. The results of a five-month investigation will address public outcry against state decisions made in 2015 on behalf of Korean “comfort women” enslaved in World War II. South Korea says the victims will have input on whether to nullify the deal, but Japan’s government maintains that the original contract—including 1 billion yen in foundation funding—should stand on its own.
India marks the start of its fiber-optic future. The Andhra Pradesh Fibre Grid project sets an ambitious plan to bring reliable cable TV, telephone service, and high-speed internet to every household in the state for 149 rupees (about $2.33) per month, not to mention a critical infrastructure boost for several schools, medical services, and a variety of local government resources.
While you were sleeping
Bitcoin came out of its year-end slump. The scare is over for now, but the cryptocurrency still hasn’t quite regained the ground it lost during its frightening 30% dip on Friday. Though last week was its worst since 2013, bitcoin rose 10% Tuesday morning and held steady throughout the day.
Uber isn’t leasing cars in the US anymore. The ride-hailing service lost $9,000 per car (paywall) from running Xchange Leasing—a side business that leased new cars to potential Uber drivers who otherwise may not have been able to afford joining up. Startup auto company Fair.com will acquire the inventory for an undisclosed amount in a deal expected to close early next year.
A suspected US drone struck militants on the Pakistan-Afghan border. A Pakistani official claims that a vehicle was targeted by missiles from the drone, which allegedly killed a Taliban-allied Haqqani Network commander. Accounts differ regarding which side of the border it struck, but US president Donald Trump has been outspoken in his disapproval of Pakistan’s practice of providing safe haven for terrorists.
Liberia completed its presidential election. Heated opposition between football star George Weah and former vice president Joseph Boakai didn’t spark any violence (paywall) at the polls. The final tally won’t be available for a few days, but the successor to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is sure to have his work cut out for him—Liberia’s living conditions rank among the worst in the world.
A pipeline explosion in Libya rocked oil supplies. The blast dropped oil production in the OPEC country’s biggest export hub by an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 barrels per day, causing a two-year-high surge in crude oil prices during an already tightened holiday season.
Quartz obsession interlude
Marcel Zentner on what dating could look like 100 years in the future: “What if a society actually did achieve perfect gender equality? Would women and men hold essentially identical partner preferences? My hunch is that women’s and men’s choices might never completely converge. The key difference is likely to come down to the demands of breastfeeding following the birth of a child – an activity that’s energy-intensive, time-consuming, and quite difficult to integrate with paid work, at least as work is currently structured.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Twitter might cross the line into censorship. The social media platform’s tougher rules are still dangerously subjective and could threaten free speech.
Digital innovation is a blessing and a curse for Africa’s workers. The informal sector represents from 30% of the GDP in South Africa to 60% in Nigeria.
Eliminating work-week restrictions won’t boost UK productivity. British workers clock in an average of 37 hours per week—not even close to the existing limit of 48 hours.
“Gaming disorder” could become an official mental health problem. The World Health Organization says the affliction’s symptoms include prioritizing gameplay above all else.
Repeat traffic offenders in Estonia get disturbing Christmas cards. Scenes of road accidents and grim statistics seem to be working—road deaths have dropped sharply over the past decade.
Your festive bling probably came from Yiwu, China. A booming business in cheap lights and ornaments gives residents a higher disposable income than workers in Beijing.
A giant, skull-faced asteroid is coming back. It haunted Earth back in 2015, and will return for the sequel in November 2018.
UPS had to ask its US office workers to deliver packages. Online shopping spiked so high that the company had to recruit its own accountants and marketers.
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