Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
China and Japan take center stage at Davos. Wang Qishan, China’s vice president, will address the World Economic Forum in Switzerland today as he aims to reassure investors amid the trade war. He’ll be preceded by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. Sign up for Quartz’s free Davos Daily Brief to follow along with our journalists on the ground.
The EU warns against “golden visa” schemes. The European commission is expected to issue a report that says attempts by the UK and other countries to attract outside investment in return for residency or citizenship are a boon to corruption and organized crime.
Venezuela’s opposition mounts a protest on a provocative anniversary. Sixty-one years after the uprising that toppled dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez, opposition leader Juan Guaidó will hold a march calling for the resignation of president Nicolás Maduro. The country’s national guard reportedly quelled a mutiny attempt on Monday.
Hong Kong presents a bill to make mocking China’s anthem a crime. The proposed law would impose jail terms of up to three years for disrespecting the “March of the Volunteers.” The move is widely seen as another attack on free speech in the city, where the Chinese national anthem has been booed at sports events as a form of political protest.
While you were sleeping
US Senate leaders reached a deal that could end the government shutdown. Majority leader Mitch McConnell and minority leader Chuck Schumer agreed to hold votes (paywall) Thursday on competing proposals to temporarily fund shuttered agencies through Feb. 8, and to allocate $5.7 billion for Donald Trump’s border wall.
The US cancelled a pivotal trade meeting with China. CNBC reported that the US trade representative abruptly cancelled talks this week due to disagreements over intellectual property rules ahead of the March 1 expiration of a truce between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. The news helped send US stocks dramatically downward. The White House disputed the report and said talks slated for the end of the month are on track.
The Bank of Japan didn’t touch interest rates. The unsurprising decision came as the central bank cut its forecast for inflation for the financial year starting in April for the fourth time. Meanwhile, trade data released today showed the impact of weakening global demand, as Japan’s exports saw their worst drop in two years.
Drone sightings disrupted flights at Newark airport. Flights to and from Newark International Airport in New Jersey were temporarily halted after two pilots reported seeing a drone Tuesday evening. The incident came after Gatwick, the UK’s second-busiest airport, saw three days of disruption and hundreds of flights cancelled due to drone sightings in December.
The FBI warned that it can’t pay informants during the government shutdown. Agents say they are unable to pursue investigations into terrorism, drug trafficking, and sexual predators during the government shutdown, which has also forced tens of thousands of agents to work without pay.
Correction: The name of Huawei’s CFO was incorrectly spelled Meng Wangzhou in this section yesterday. It is Meng Wanzhou.
Quartz obsession interlude
Fondue became a global trend thanks to a well-executed marketing campaign. Faced with a cheese surplus in 1914, Swiss producers formed a union that controlled the dairy market for decades. To stoke cheese consumption around the world, it started advertising the fireside fondue session. Dip into this rich history in today’s Davos-themed Quartz Obsession.
Today we’re looking at the patent battles over Crispr and talking to John Cumbers, who runs a synthetic-biology conference that is at the epicenter of the gene-engineering industry. We also have a bonus article from Davos exploring the ultra-elite lounge where world leaders hang out and are served coffee by robots.
Matters of debate
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Iran was the only victor of the US-Iraq War. The Pentagon made a disastrous strategic error by failing to apply the lessons of the Vietnam War.
Music is essential for people with dementia. Personalized playlists may alleviate some symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s.
Apple Pay is a huge sleeper hit. Most major retailers now accept the digital payment system, though Walmart and Home Depot are still holdouts.
Stranded United passengers are spamming the CEO. Travelers who spent 12 hours in Newfoundland were given Oscar Munoz’s email address (paywall) by their irate captain.
Facebook is reportedly building its very own space lasers. Satellites and base stations would enable Facebook to beam the internet to remote places.
The ocean’s surface is an endangered ecosystem. The neuston—a vast, hidden system of organisms that functions like an upside-down coral reef—is in danger from misguided plastic clean-up efforts.
A lawmaker wants to fund Trump’s wall with a porn tax. An Arizona state senator suggested charging $20 to access “obscene material” online.
Naomi Osaka was whitewashed for a ramen ad. The Japanese tennis star, whose father is Haitian, was depicted with light skin by her noodle-making sponsor, Nissin.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fondue invitations, and woke cup noodle ads to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Tripti Lahiri and edited by Maria Thomas.