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Plus: How does corporate misbehavior affect the bottom line?

Farmers participate in a tractor rally to protest against the newly passed farm bills, on a highway on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, January 7, 2021.
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Here’s what you need to know

India’s Supreme Court put the country’s new agriculture laws on pause. But farmers said they will keep protesting.

Zoom is looking for another $1.5 billion. The videoconferencing company’s new stock offering will be its largest since going public in 2019.

Another Chinese city locked down. A seven-day home quarantine was imposed on the 5 million residents of Langfeng in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing. Meanwhile, Japan will today expand a state of emergency.

International visitors to the US will need to show a negative Covid-19 test. The new rule for airline passengers is expected to take effect Jan. 26, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Trump said last week’s riot wasn’t his fault… Sitting US president Donald Trump called his comments before and during the insurrection at the Capitol that left several dead “totally appropriate.”

…but the House disagrees. Representatives will vote on a resolution on Tuesday (local time) calling on vice president Mike Pence to remove Trump from office.

What to watch for

Uganda’s upcoming election. Yesterday, the East African country’s government blocked access to social media platforms just two days before Jan. 14’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Attempts at suppressing the opposition are reminiscent of the country’s 2016 elections—and tech giants are being sucked into the bitter fight. The continent is looking closely at the election to see if Uganda’s current president’s long-standing regime can be ousted.

The two presidential candidates to watch:

Yoweri Museveni: 76-year-old incumbent who has been in office for 34 years, and was instrumental in Uganda’s revolution against Idi Amin but has since employed brutal suppression tactics to silence any opposition. Museveni oversaw a change in the presidential age limit shortly before campaigns began.

Bobi Wine: 38-year-old singer and lawmaker (real name Robert Kyagulanyi) who is wildly popular with younger generations, and who accuses Museveni’s regime of rampant corruption. Riots surrounding his arrest in November led to the death of 50 people.

Charting crypto’s global worth

Comparing the market value of crypto to the value of hard currency in circulation offers perspective on the size and pace of today’s cryptocurrency mania.

Based on data collected from central banks and other economic databases, crypto is, by value, now the fifth-most circulated currency. It outstrips the sum of circulating coins and bills in even large economies like India and the UK—at least, unless another cycle of volatility sends it spiraling down again.

A bar charting showing the value of six major fiat currencies in cash circulation, compared to crypto. The US dollar has $2 trillion in circulation. The euro, Chinese yuan, and Japanese yen have more than $1 trillion. Cryptocurrencies have $1 trillion. The Indian rupee and British pound have less than $1 trillion.

The lasting impact of corporate misbehavior

Can companies that violate human rights be held accountable? The answer, historically, has often been no. But a recent working paper on the killings of mining activists shows the financial fortunes of companies associated with those murders often take a big hit.

A line chart showing the loss in market capitalization of public mining companies after assassination event over time. After 10 days, companies lose an average of $10 million.

Does this change corporate behavior in the long run? Institutional investors sensitive to reputational risk tend to reduce stakes in companies linked to ethical and legal changes. Some corporations make adjustments in less meaningful ways, such as a name change.

Ultimately, investor revolts, declining share prices, and litigation threats drive changes in corporate boardrooms, even more than customer boycotts.

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Surprising discoveries

US emissions hit their lowest levels since 1990. The pandemic brought a steeper drop than seen during the 2009 recession.

Have you seen these shoes? A pair of rare Nike sneakers may help the FBI capture an individual caught planting explosive devices during last week’s Capitol riot.

A Japanese man receives thanks for nothing. The 37-year-old man has been supporting strangers by doing nothing at all.

French wine is set to return from outer space… The 12 unopened bottles of Bordeaux and snippets of grapevines spent a year on the International Space Station.

while samosas crash-landed in France. British-based restaurant Chai Walla sent its tasty morsels into the sky with weather balloons.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, space wine, and space snacks to hi@qz.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Stephen Kafeero, Samanth Subramanian, Michael J. Coren, Jordan Lebeau, Liz Webber, and Susan Howson.

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