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 neither candidate from the Dec. 7 election gets a majority, the race will go to a run-off.
Congress approves spending legislation. Current stopgap funding measures expire today, and Congress need to pass a $1.1 trillion federal spending bill by the end of the day to keep the government running.
The Nobel Prize ceremony. On Saturday, this year’s laureates will gather in Oslo for the physics, chemistry, 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
South Korea voted to impeach its president. The parliament voted 234 to 56 to impeach Park Geun-hye over an influence-peddling scandal featuring her close confidante, Choi Soon-sil. South Koreans have staged mass protests demanding her resignation in recent weeks. Park is now suspended and the constitutional court has six months to uphold or reject parliament’s motion.
Super Mario gave Nintendo’s shares a boost. “Super Mario Run” launches on iPhone next week and is predicted to bring in up to $71 million in revenue (paywall) in its first month alone. The company’s shares recorded their fifth consecutive day of gains, ending the week up 8.3% (paywall).
German exports slumped. Foreign sales fell by more than 4% in October (paywall), compared with the same period last year, bringing the country’s robust trade surplus down to just over $20 billion. The weaker British pound sterling and Donald Trump’s protectionist policies could slow Germany’s mighty export machine in the future.
Hong Kong’s unpopular leader said he’ll quit. Leung Chun-ying said he won’t run for re-election in March, citing his duties “as a father and a husband” and not his performance in office. Leung has been pilloried as a puppet of Beijing by pro-democracy campaigners.
Australia approved a huge private land sale. The Kidman estate will go to Gina Rinehart—the nation’s richest woman—and Chinese developer Shanghai CRED. In October, the group bid $288 million for the estate, which encompasses about 1.3% of Australia’s landmass. Concerns about foreign ownership stymied previous attempts at a sale.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford explains why the conventional wisdom 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.
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 index is comfortably outperforming most high-cost funds.
High drug prices save lives. Charging more allows pharma companies to devote more money to costly and risky research.
A 99-million-year-old piece of amber proves 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 low 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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