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What to watch for today and over the weekend
Davos wraps up. The World Economic Forum comes to an end today with a final panel featuring International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, and US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. Get the news first by signing up for our special Davos Daily Brief.
The coronavirus overshadows the Lunar New Year. Public holiday celebrations are canceled in Beijing and at least eight cities are on lockdown due to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, which has killed 25. Hubei, the province where it started, raised its public health emergency response to the highest level today. However, the World Health Organization said it’s still not ready to declare the outbreak a global health emergency.
Italians vote in a key regional election. Sunday’s polls in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna will be a big test for the government as rightwing nationalists there hope to end decades of leftwing rule. The ruling Five Star coalition was dealt a blow this week when leader Luigi Di Maio stepped down.
India celebrates Republic Day. The country is marking the 71st anniversary of its constitution on Sunday with a parade in the capital. Eyes will also be on the country’s controversial guest of honor, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro who, like his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, exhibits authoritarian tendencies.
The world of music gathers in Los Angeles. The 62nd annual Grammy Awards, hosted by Alicia Keys, is scheduled to take place this Sunday. Highlights include a performance from Ariana Grande following a five-year absence from the extravaganza. Industry insiders will surely be whispering about the sudden ouster of Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan over allegations of misconduct.
While you were sleeping
Democrats presented their case that Donald Trump abused his power. They argued that the US president put his personal interests ahead of the country’s in pressuring Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and withholding US military aid as leverage. They’ll focus on the president’s obstruction of the House investigation in the final day of arguments today.
A Malaysian human rights group sued Singapore’s home minister. The city-state invoked its fake news law against Lawyers for Liberty over its statement alleging brutal execution methods at a Singapore prison, and blocked the group’s website.
North Korea appointed a new foreign affairs minister. Ri Son Gwon, a former defense commander, is now the country’s top diplomat. Analysts were surprised by the appointment of someone with such limited diplomatic experience, especially in dealing with nuclear issues and US officials.
Twenty US states sued the Trump administration over 3D printed guns. The coalition, which includes the District of Columbia, is challenging federal rules allowing blueprints for making guns on 3D printers to be posted online. The suit warns this would lead to a proliferation of “ghost guns” that are hard to trace and detect.
George Soros pledged $1 billion to fund universities to promote liberal values. Speaking at a dinner in Davos, the philanthropist and former financier said the initiative is part of his longer-term strategy to fight the growing trend of authoritarianism. He also said Hong Kong’s protesters and Italy’s youth-led “sardines” movement offer glimmers of hope.
Your quest begins here. If you want to keep up with the gaming industry and how it’s influencing other aspects of our lives, we’ve got you covered. Our syllabus for understanding gaming’s next level tells you the people, books, and podcasts you need to know.
Quartz daily obsession
Caesar salad hails from Mexico. Although there’s some debate over who invented the now-ubiquitous dish, it was first served at Caesar’s Restaurant and Bar in Tijuana in 1924. What’s not in dispute is that the salad has endured all these years thanks to the wonders of its creamy dressing, created using the culinary magic of emulsification to bind lemon juice with olive oil using egg yolks. Dig in with the Quartz Daily Obsession.
Matters of debate
China’s censorship is a public health problem. Its toxic relationship with information is shackling some of its coronavirus outbreak management efforts.
There’s no reason to be using Facebook anymore. And unless you quit the blue-walled garden, you’re part of the problem.
Companies should stop blocking websites at work. People will just waste time figuring out how to scale the firewall.
The US is addicted to bathrooms. Over the past 50 years, the number of bathrooms per capita has doubled for no good reason.
It takes six times longer to bake chocolate chip cookies in space. Additional testing is required to make sure they’re safe to eat.
The ancient Mount Vesuvius eruption turned its victims’ brains into glass. The 79 AD blast burned with a heat so intense that it vitrified a man’s brain, newly discovered fragments suggest.
Google’s suggested searches have a patriarchy problem. Type a woman’s name into Google and there’s a good chance that “husband” or “wedding” will come up as an automatic suggestion. For men, not so much.
Nigerian terms have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Find out what colloquialisms like “next tomorrow” and “send-forth” mean.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, spare bathrooms, and out-of-this-world cookies to email@example.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Mary Hui and edited by Tripti Lahiri.