China gathering, North Korean warning, impeachment tweak

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What to watch for today

China’s leaders start a major meeting. At the fourth plenum—a secretive gathering of the ruling party’s central committee—president Xi Jinping is expected to address the nation’s many challenges as it enters a period of “concentrated risks.” Hong Kong might come up.

HSBC reports its earnings. The bank is in the midst of a cost-cutting drive and could announce major job cuts. The US-China trade war and unrest in Hong Kong have not been kind to the bank.

The ECB says farewell to its president. Mario Draghi will deliver a speech at a European Central Bank event held in his honor. Many credit him for having saved the euro during his eight-year term.

Over the weekend

The world’s most wanted man was found. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a raid by US special forces in Syria. Donald Trump thanked Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq for providing assistance to the military operation.

North Korea warned the US against ignoring a deadline. State media carried a message by high-ranking official Kim Yong Chol reiterating that denuclearization talks with Washington must take place by year’s end. Kim Jong Un often reveals his intentions in his New Year’s address.

Hong Kong’s protesters showed no quit. On Sunday demonstrators gathered in a popular tourist area and tussled with police, who again deployed tear gas. The city issued an injunction Friday that could protect police from “doxxing” but might also put journalists at risk.

Taipei celebrated a milestone. The city held its first Pride parade since Taiwan made history in Asia by legalizing same-sex marriage in May. Nearly 200,000 revelers, including many foreigners, marched through the city in a riot of colors.

Germany’s far-right party made more gains. Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged to second place in elections in the eastern state of Thuringia. The party recently placed second in two other states, as well, in a sign of its growing support.

Quartz Obsession

There’s a new generation of pinball wizards. The arcade standby was on tilt after game rooms (and the malls that housed them) went into decline and video games took over, but retro bar arcades, collectors, and overseas markets have kept the industry from going STDM to the outhole. Flip out at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of Debate

Mark Zuckerberg should shut down Facebook’s political ads. The proliferation of disinformation online is starting to look like digital Ebola for democracy.

London needs a major memorial honoring slavery’s victims. Britain still hasn’t properly acknowledged its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

US Supreme Court justices talk too much. They barely let arguing attorneys speak before interrupting them with questions.

Surprising discoveries

The era of $25 million TV episodes is upon us. Disney and Apple are sparing no expense to take on Netflix.

A scrivener slyly tweaked the US Constitution. His subtle modification to the impeachment clause in the 1780s could soon loom large.

Russian eagles are data hogs. A project tracking the migrating birds with SMS transmitters ran out of money due to roaming charges.

A treehouse that burned down this week had 80 rooms. The five-story structure had become a tourist attraction in Tennessee.

Apple may help upgrade United’s dated SFO terminal. The airline is inclined to listen since the tech giant pays it about $150 million a year for corporate travel.

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