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
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. I think it’s very American.”
China capped UnionPay ATM withdrawals in Macau. The max daily amount will now be 5,000 patacas ($626). Shares of casino companies, including ones based in the US and Australia that have operations in Macau, took a tumble after the news. About half of mainland Chinese gamblers use UnionPay cards to withdraw money in Macau.
Australia approved the sale of its largest private landholding. The Kidman estate will go to Gina Rinehart—the nation’s richest woman—and her business partner, Chinese developer Shanghai CRED. The buyers had in October bid US$288 million for the estate, which encompasses about 1.3% of Australian land. Concerns about foreign interests had stymied previous attempts at a sale.
Former astronaut and US senator John Glenn died at 95. In the early 1960s he became the first American to orbit the planet, then in 1998, at the age of 77, he became the oldest person to fly in space, taking a trip on the shuttle Discovery. He served in the senate for decades, representing the state of Ohio, where he was born and passed away.
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 10 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 were probably meant not 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 AI to write a Christmas carol. Let’s just say Mariah Carey doesn’t have anything to worry about.
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