Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
The 2018 Winter Olympics begin in South Korea. The opening ceremony will take place in Pyeongchang, where North Korea and South Korea will march under one flag, and where vice president Mike Pence could brush shoulders with North Korean officials. South Korean president Moon Jae-in is also expected to meet with Kim Jong-un’s sister over the weekend.
A small asteroid flies by Earth. The NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey spotted Asteroid 2018 CB four days ago. The asteroid, between 50 and 130 feet wide, will miss Earth by a mere 39,000 miles (64,000 km), bringing it five times closer to us than the Moon.
It may rain in Cape Town. An approaching cold front is bringing a forecast of showers, which may hit dam catchment areas in the parched city. Cape Town is at risk of running out of water by April.
While you were sleeping
Reuters uncovered a massacre of Rohingya men in Myanmar. The news agency released its investigation into the killing of 10 men from the Muslim minority by Buddhist villagers and Myanmar troops in Rakhine state. Two Reuters reporters who investigated the massacre, Wa Lone and Kyaw Seo Oo, have been charged with violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act and are awaiting trial.
The US government shut down—again. The shutdown is the second this year, and came after a Kentucky senator stalled a vote on a temporary funding bill. The Senate is expected to vote on a stopgap funding bill early Friday local time.
An activist investor plans to oust the board of Newell Brands. Hedge fund Starboard Value wants to replace the entire board and chief executive of the conglomerate, which owns brands such as Elmer’s glue and Yankee Candle, the Wall Street Journal reported (paywall).
The last two British ISIL fighters were captured. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, known as “the Beatles,” were captured by US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria close to the Iraq border. The two are allegedly responsible for murdering two dozen hostages in Syria.
A Cambodian opposition figure in exile is suing Facebook. Lawyers for Sam Rainsy filed a petition in a California court alleging that prime minister Hun Sen bought fake followers on Facebook to abet human rights abuses in the country. “The Petition raises fundamental questions about how Facebook should deal with human rights abusers who manipulate elections,” said one of the lawyers.
Quartz obsession interlude
Marc Bain on the ever-evolving fashion of figure skating. “Unlike other sports, where the clothes are designed for utility more than appearance, in figure skating the costumes are a crucial component of a skater’s whole creative presentation, alongside the music and the routine itself. It’s the skating, of course, that the Olympians will be judged on, but when all the elements come together, the costume can become part of the margin between victory and loss.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Beating yourself up is not as helpful as you think. Taming your inner critic is a better way to keep your professional edge.
Donald Trump’s America looks a lot like an earlier gilded age. The post-Civil War era was marked by economic inequality, political corruption, and a divisive president.
Mankind fears AI over aliens. Malevolent computers have replaced little green men as the most terrifying threat to life as we know it.
Pyeongchang might be the last Olympics without AI judges. Fujitsu is developing software that analyzes gymnastics events for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Researchers ran Shakespeare through plagiarism software. The Bard is known to have borrowed stories and turns of phrases from writers ranging from Giovanni Boccaccio to Christopher Marlowe.
Two Indian athletes qualified for the Winter Olympics. Shiva Keshavan, a luge champion often called India’s “fastest man,” has previously competed in five Winter Olympics with the help of borrowed equipment and crowdfunding.
The 2018 emoji list includes pirate flags, cupcakes, and toilet paper. The Unicode Consortium has finalized the Emoji 11.0 set, but software makers like Apple and Google still need to design their own artwork.
Chinese police are wearing augmented reality glasses. They’re connected to the country’s massive facial recognition database to help spot criminals.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Shakespeare texts, and emoji nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Isabella Steger, and edited by Tripti Lahiri.