Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The EU releases fourth-quarter GDP. Economists estimate that the region grew by 2.4% in 2017 (paywall), the strongest increase in a decade. Further signs of a robust recovery could fuel the euro’s yearlong rally.
German industrial workers go on strike. Workers at metals and engineering companies across the country will walk out after labor union IG Metall said negotiations over wages and working hours failed to result in an agreement. Around 260 companies will be affected.
Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address. The US president has said that he plans to unveil more details on his immigration policy in the speech. Multiple Democratic members of Congress have said that they do not plan to attend the event.
While you were sleeping
Blackstone plans to buy a huge chunk of Thomson Reuters. The private-equity group is in talks to acquire a majority stake in the media company’s financial and risk business for $17 billion. The unit supplies financial data and news to banks and other financial firms around the world.
Jamie Dimon announced plans to stay on at JPMorgan. Dimon, who is Wall Street’s longest-serving CEO, said he plans to remain as the chief of the investment bank for another five years. He will have been in charge for 17 years by 2023.
Facebook said it would prioritize local news. In yet another announcement about its News Feed, the company said users will see more posts from local sources “so that you can see topics that have a direct impact on you and your community and discover what’s happening in your local area,” as part of its ongoing efforts to “prioritize high-quality news.”
Tensions eased as a round of NAFTA talks ended. Officials from the US, Canada, and Mexico said they made progress in the penultimate round of negotiations over the future of the free-trade treaty. Differences remain, but negotiators said there is less risk of the US withdrawing completely, as Trump has threatened.
Quartz obsession interlude
Echo Huang on China’s love for Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. “Deng Junyi, a sophomore from Hainan Normal Unversity in southern China, said she became a fan of Khan in high school, when she watched Three Idiots, which depicted academic pressure at an Indian engineering school and screened in China in 2011. Deng said the movie touched her because she felt China’s education system also needed to be challenged, yet she found few domestic movies touching the same topic.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Apologists for colonialism are on the rise. They argue that Western countries brought economic development, the rule of law, and liberties to their colonies.
Awards shows are worsening America’s political divide. Many viewers don’t like it when liberal-minded celebrities use awards galas as soapboxes (paywall) to air their political messages.
Paternity leave doesn’t mitigate the motherhood penalty. Mothers’ wages are still dramatically lower than those of women without children, while fathers’ pay is unaffected.
France’s Nutella riots were no joke. After customers literally fought to get their hands on heavily discounted Nutella last week, the government is now investigating whether the promotion was a sale or an instance of product dumping.
YouTube has been hosting ads that secretly mine cryptocurrency. They used malicious code that hijacked viewers’ CPUs.
The Middle Ages weren’t really that puritanical when it came to sex. Having too little sex was also seen as a medical problem, as excessive semen retention could affect the heart and other organs.
Elon Musk is in the flamethrower business. His Boring Company has allegedly pre-sold 7,000 dangerous devices at $500 a pop.
Japanese farmers created a banana with an edible peel. The “freeze thaw awakening” technique creates a thin, soft, peel that can be eaten along with the rest of the fruit.
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