Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
The US stock market closes out 2017. Donald Trump has repeatedly pointed to the market as an indicator of his success (paywall). While the Dow has hit record highs this year, it would 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.
China’s ban on ivory sales begins Sunday. The ban by the world’s largest ivory importer should help curb the poaching and slaughter of endangered elephants. But the sales ban doesn’t apply in Hong Kong, which imports most of the ivory that goes into mainland China.
A record-breaking cold snap engulfs much of the US and Canada. Mount Washington in New Hampshire recorded a new low of -34.6 °F, and temperatures in New York City are likely to fall below 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.”
While you were sleeping
A fire in a Bronx apartment killed 12 people… The cause of the blaze in the five-story building on Thursday night is still unknown. Mayor Bill de Blasio called it the “worst fire tragedy in this city in at least a quarter century.” The youngest victim was 1 year old, the oldest was over 50, and four more people were injured.
… And a fire in a Mumbai high-rise also claimed 12 lives. Most of those who died in the fire in a multi-story building were at a birthday party in a rooftop restaurant. The fire took hold in the top floor and spread throughout the building in the wealthy Kamala Hills area within 30 minutes.
Netflix will bump executive salaries next year. The new Republican tax plan makes it impossible for a company to deduct the performance-based bonuses of top managers who earn over $1 million. The streaming service will scrap cash bonuses and boost salaries instead. That means chief content officer Ted Sarandos is set to earn a $12 million base salary (paywall) next year.
South Korea seized a Hong-Kong flagged ship for selling oil to North Korea. Authorities said the ship, supposed to be heading to Taiwan, had broken international sanctions in October by secretly transferring oil to North Korean vessels in international waters. On Thursday, China hit back at similar accusations.
Apple said sorry. The company officially apologized 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.
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 bad 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.
Margaret Thatcher refused to share a plane with a panda. They were not “happy omens” for politicians she said to the proposal that the panda board her Concorde to the US.
“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 huge event every two years draws people who live in remote, underpopulated areas where Tinder is useless.
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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