Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
The US stock market closes out a banner 2017. Donald Trump has repeatedly pointed to the market as an indicator of his success (paywall), but while the Dow has hit record highs this year, it will need to gain 580 points by today’s close for Trump to have matched the gains made during Barack Obama’s first year in office.
A record-breaking cold snap engulfs much of the US and Canada. Mount Washington in New Hampshire recorded a new low of -37 °C (-34.6 °F), and temperatures in New York City are likely to fall below -12 °C (10.4 °F) on New Year’s Eve. Trump tweeted that the East Coast could “use a little bit of that good old Global Warming.”
A controversial film about Narendra Modi debuts. Modi Kaka Ka Gaon, loosely inspired by the Indian prime minister’s development agenda, is finally hitting Indian theaters after being denied a censor certificate for nearly a year.
While you were sleeping
George Weah was elected Liberia’s new president. The 51-year-old former soccer star and current senator won over 60% of the vote against opponent Joseph Boakai, in the country’s first democratic handover of power in decades. It is Weah’s third attempt at the Liberian presidency.
Apple apologized. The company officially said sorry for reducing older iPhones’ performance to compensate for dying batteries, and called it a “misunderstanding.” From January 2018 until the end of the year, anyone who owns an iPhone 6 or newer model can get a battery replacement for $29, $50 less than the normal price for the service.
SoftBank completed its acquisition of a large Uber stake. The deal values Uber at around $48 billion, down from $68 billion, and likely strips Uber of its title as the world’s most valuable startup. SoftBank would control up to 20% of Uber, which has seen its value eroded by leadership problems and sexual harassment scandals.
The US and Turkey lifted mutual visa restrictions. After the arrest of a consulate employee in October, the US suspended non-immigrant visa services at its Turkish diplomatic facilities, and Ankara responded by suspending visa services in Washington. Those restrictions are now gone, but relations between the nations remain strained.
Quartz obsession interlude
Anne Quito on “Adobe Jesus,” savior of tech-challenged designers. “Last year, about 11,000 creative professionals attending the Adobe MAX conference watched in rapture as Levine showcased upgrades to film editing software. There was chanting, there was group clapping, there was singing. In previous years, there was even high-kicking—all in an effort to make Adobe’s latest software features stick.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Development aid in Africa is flowing to the rich in urban areas. Aid dispersal to poor areas is hampered by poor infrastructure, exacerbating inequality as a result.
Despite #MeToo, patriarchy still wins the day. Even as transgressors like Harvey Weinstein are getting their comeuppance, millions of American women are losing essential rights and protections (paywall).
The decline of US influence is the great global story of our age. America is losing its desire and capacity (paywall) to use its still-considerable power to shape the world.
For the third consecutive year, one of the busiest death chambers in the US has not carried out an execution. A series of blunders is forcing Oklahoma to rethink its procedures.
“Doggo” dates back 130 years. The slang term for “dog” is derived from the phrase to “lie doggo,” which means to lay low or under the radar.
Young, rural New Zealanders flock to a singles’ ball to find love. The event draws people who live in areas that are often too remote or sparsely populated for apps like Tinder to be effective.
People are using PornHub to stream Hamilton and Zootopia. Where YouTube fights to keep porn off its site, PornHub now has to purge its platform of videos that are decidedly safe for work.
Some Amazonian frogs are “functional necrophiliacs.” Male rhinella proboscidea fertilize eggs after extracting them from the bodies of dead female frogs.
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