Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
Ghana’s tight presidential race is decided. The contest between incumbent John Mahama and opponent Nana Akufo-Addo is too close to call. If no majority winner from the Dec. 7 election is declared, the race will go to a run-off.
South Korea’s president may be impeached. If parliament moves against the deeply unpopular and scandal-ridden Park Geun-Hye, a nine-judge constitutional court will have six months to uphold or reject the motion.
The Nobel Prize Ceremony. On Saturday, the laureates will gather in Oslo for the physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature awards; the prize for economics will be awarded in Stockholm. Bob Dylan, the first singer-songwriter to win the literature prize, has opted not to attend.
While you were sleeping
The European Central Bank shrank and prolonged its stimulus at the same time. President Mario Draghi sent the euro on a wild ride with a convoluted plan that confused many investors. The ECB will buy €60 billion of bonds a month through 2017.
ThyssenKrupp was the target of a massive cyberattack. Hackers based in southeast Asia stole trade secrets and manufacturing plant designs from the German industrial giant.
Donald Trump named a fast-food executive as his labor secretary. Andy Puzder, CEO of the company that owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, is a staunch opponent of labor unions and minimum wage hikes. He also likes raunchy ads, saying: “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. It’s very American.”
The US warned against teenage vaping. Surgeon general Vivek Murthy said e-cigarettes “put a new generation at risk” of nicotine addiction. In six years, they have gone from being a rarity to the most-used tobacco product among teenagers.
Vietnam began dredging work on a disputed South China Sea reef. Reuters reports that satellite imagery shows activity in the Spratly Islands, which is likely to raise tensions with Beijing, which also claims sovereignty. Vietnamese vessels were seen digging a new channel that could be the precursor to more extensive construction.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford explains why everything we thought we knew about free trade is wrong. “Starting with Ronald Reagan, American presidents of both parties have oversimplified and overemphasized the benefits of free trade … That lapse has now invited a populist demagogue into the White House. Trump has correctly identified a problem. But by focusing only on free trade deals he risks repeating the very mistakes that conjured him forth in the first place.” Read more here.
Quartz haiku interlude
Step up, place your bets:
What will come first? Saint Nick, or
Dow twenty thousand?
Matters of debate
Get ready to never talk to strangers again. In the future we won’t have to interact with anyone we don’t want to.
Nine out of ten hedge funds are a waste of time and money. The S&P 500 is growing 3 percentage points faster on average.
High drug prices save lives. Charging more means pharma companies can plunge more money into risky innovations.
A 99-million-year-old piece of amber proved that dinosaurs had feathers. They probably weren’t meant for flight, but for signaling or cooling.
A curvy squirrel was rescued from a manhole in Munich. Wide-hipped “Olivio” is now safe and recuperating on a diet of nuts.
Japan is staking its future on robot babies. They’re designed to convince couples to become parents, and boost the country’s dismal fertility rate.
Sir Mick Jagger became a father at age 73. The rock legend just had his eighth child.
Researchers used an AI to write a Christmas carol. Let’s just say Mariah Carey doesn’t have anything to worry about.
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