Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The UN awaits a response from Myanmar, following its ruling on Rohingya Muslims. The International Court of Justice today ordered the government to carry out emergency measures to protect Rohingya, and said there is evidence of breaches of the genocide convention.
The European Central Bank meets. Christine Lagarde’s statement and press conference may provide clues about the bank’s views on ultra-low interest rates that have rattled financial executives. A strategy review could spark a rethink of how the ECB approaches things like inflation, inequality, climate change.
Davos enters its third day. Germany’s Angela Merkel is scheduled to speak at the World Economic Forum, while Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte canceled his trip there amid turmoil in Rome. Get the scoop by signing up for our special Davos Daily Brief.
While you were sleeping
Two Chinese cities have been placed on lockdown as coronavirus spreads. Nobody is allowed in or out of Wuhan, where the outbreak began, and Huanggang, as the country’s official death toll climbed to 17. The cities’ combined population is 17 million.
The US treasury secretary aimed a dig at Greta Thunberg. “After she goes and studies economics in college, she can come back and explain that to us,” said Steven Mnuchin in Davos, referring to the activist’s call for investors to divest fossil fuels.
Prosecutors in Angola accused Africa’s richest woman of fraud. Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the former president of Angola, has been under intense scrutiny this week, following the release of the Luanda Leaks, detailing the extent of her business empire.
France and the UK discussed the digital tax. The French finance minister said talks are “moving in the right direction” on a global digital tax on Big Tech companies, even after failing to strike an agreement with the US. Britain’s business minister said the UK wants a trade deal with the US, but will still impose a digital tax.
Three Americans died fighting bushfires in Australia. An air tanker crashed in a fireball in New South Wales, killing all three people on board. The cause of the crash is not yet known.
In the 2000s, the average open-world game took just under 30 hours to complete. But by the 2010s, many had stretched into 50-hour sagas. Quartz takes a look at how major game studios came to decide that longer is better.
Quartz daily obsession
Is the Mona Lisa all it’s cracked up to be? At least 30,000 people line up each day at the Louvre to see Leonardo da Vinci’s painting for only 30 seconds. The piece only came to fame via a heist, and there may be another Mona Lisa out there. Dive deep in today’s Quartz Daily Obsession.
Matters of debate
Ending legacy admissions can fight inequality in America. Johns Hopkins, which banned the practice, also doesn’t consider students’ financial status.
Should tech lock out law enforcement? On one hand, data encryption should account for authorities with a warrant—on the other, privacy should be the first priority.
Books are magical, but not magical objects. Ripping them in half, writing in them, dog-earing them—their purpose is to deliver content, not to be fetishized.
Identifying a new virus can be done incredibly quickly. Coronavirus researchers may already be en route to a possible vaccine.
Nigerian terms have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Find out what colloquialisms like “next tomorrow” and “send-forth” mean.
Tech budgets could be a clue in the next financial crisis. Banks that adopted more IT before the credit crunch in 2008 had fewer defaults when the panic hit.
You can actually see atoms bonding and separating. The tiny event has long eluded researchers, who have captured it on camera for the first time.
Questionable painting restorers strike again. A lamb in a 15th-century oil painting now sports humanoid eyes, sultry lips, and ears that are not where ears go.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, the first half of a book, and the second half when we’re ready to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 John Detrixhe and Hasit Shah.