Weinstein’s trial begins, WHO debates coronavirus, Trump’s trial resumes

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What to watch for today 

The World Health Organization meets to discuss China’s coronavirus crisis. A panel of experts in Geneva are to decide if the outbreak, which has killed nine people, is a global health emergency, meaning a “serious, sudden, and unusual” public health crisis, like last year’s Ebola outbreak in the Congo.

Harvey Weinstein’s trial begins in New York. Although the Hollywood producer has been accused of assaulting at least 100 women, the trial centers on the specific cases of two alleged victims. The New York Times reports that the defense’s strategy will be to undermine the credibility of the accusers.

Davos continues, while Donald Trump heads home to face the music. The US president is having breakfast with Apple CEO Tim Cook before flying back to the US, where his trial resumes today at 1pm ET. On the Davos agenda are Sundar Pichai on AI,  Steven Mnuchin on the future of finance, and Prince Charles, who may or may not address Megxit.

While you were sleeping

Senators rejected a request for more evidence in the impeachment trial. After 12 hours of heated debates, which at one point saw chief justice John Roberts asking participants for decorum, US senators voted to approve Republican Mitch McConnell’s rules for the trial, and to block requests by Democrat Chuck Schumer for testimonies and documents.

Australia evacuated Canberra suburbs. Authorities told residents east of the capital to leave or avoid the area. The fires, which have killed 29 people and burned thousands of homes, had weakened for about a week, but are returning as temperatures and wind speeds rise.

French workers maintained their strike with radical measures. A more hardline branch of the CGT union cut the electricity of a food market in Paris yesterday, and shut down the country’s biggest hydro-electric power site today.

Saudi Arabia denied hacking the phone of Jeff Bezos. UK newspapers reported that an encrypted video (paywall) sent by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman via WhatsApp to the Amazon and Washington Post chief caused his phone to start secretly leaking data. Saudi Arabia said the report was “absurd.”

India’s supreme court issued a decision on a controversial law. Judges refused to stop the Citizenship Amendment Act from taking effect, but asked the government to respond to complaints about the law, which has fueled protests from Indians who say it is anti-Muslim.

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Matters of debate

Should Boeing rename its most notorious aircraft? An executive suggests that the company loses the “Max.”

Transport costs should factor into a city’s affordability. Sprawling suburbs’ cheap housing belies the cost of interminable commutes.

Sure, we should enjoy the moment. The Museum of Ice Cream, which is mostly famous because of Instagram, now wants people to spend less time preoccupied with pictures.

Surprising discoveries

The world’s oldest asteroid impact might have ended an ice age. The crater is 2.2 billion years old, and is in western Australia.

Ivanka Trump’s car rentals are very expensive. They have helped push the cost of Davos to the US taxpayer beyond $4 million.

The fires in Australia reveal an ancient aquatic system older than the pyramids. For centuries, they’ve been covered in thick vegetation.

The US census begins in a remote corner of Alaska. The first person counted is a tribal elder in Toksook Bay.

A woman claims she was paid to support an indicted Huawei executive. The Canadian says she received $150 to hold a sign backing Meng Wanzhou outside a Vancouver court.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ancient Australian asteroids, and even more ancient Australian aquatic systems to hi@qz.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Luiz Romero and Hasit Shah.