Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Investors led by Bill Gates put $1 billion into clean energy innovation. Their new fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, hopes to commercialize promising research to fight climate change. “You need investment to take things out of a research lab,” Gates told Quartz ahead of the official announcement. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Virgin’s Richard Branson are also investors.
Christine Lagarde goes on trial. The head of the International Monetary Fund will stand trial in France in a special court charged with negligence over a €400 million payout awarded to a French businessman that dates back to the 1990s. She is the third IMF managing director in a row to face legal woes.
There’s a new UN secretary-general in town. António Guterres, former prime minister of Portugal, is to be sworn in to replace the incumbent, Ban Ki-moon of South Korea. He will become “the world’s top diplomat” for at least five years beginning on Jan. 1.
Over the weekend
Turkey was shaken by terror attacks. A Kurdish militant group has claimed responsibility for the explosions that shook Istanbul, killing 38 and injuring at least 160 on Saturday. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seems to expect more violence ahead, tweeting that Turkey will have to “keep spilling more” blood to fight terrorist groups.
Trump said he’s been shirking the traditional daily top-secret intelligence briefing. “I get it when I need it,” he said. “I’m, like, a smart person.” He added that he plans to use the “One China” position as a bargaining chip with Beijing.
A new government for Italy? Foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni was picked for prime minister by president Sergio Mattarella. Gentiloni’s new role won’t be official until he chooses his cabinet and wins parliament’s vote of confidence. Former PM Matteo Renzi’s resignation came after Italians voted against his referendum to streamline the government decision-making process.
ISIL regained ground. Nine months after being routed from Palmyra, the so-called Islamic State has retaken the ancient city, according to Syrian officials. Palmyra was previously held by ISIL for 10 months (paywall), during which time the group destroyed irreplaceable religious and historical buildings.
Iran agreed to buy $17 billion in new planes. In the first of two major deals with Western aircraft manufacturers, Iran closed a deal with Boeing to buy 80 new passenger planes. The country is also expected to sign a contract with Airbus in the coming days, for 50 to 60 additional aircraft.
Quartz obsession interlude
Ana Campoy on what Americans should teach their children under a Trump presidency. “Kahlenberg has called Trump’s election a ‘Sputnik moment’ that should spur the same kind of investment in civics education as the Soviet satellite did for science back in the late 1950s and 1960s. As the US seeks to compete with other world economies, practical subjects such as reading and math have crowded out civics lessons, he argued in a recent report.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Trump does not play by the rules when it comes to China and Taiwan. But the history of relations between the three parties holds many lessons for him.
Italy poses a huge threat to the euro. It won’t be long before the country is led by a party in favor of leaving the single currency (paywall).
Your procrastination can be overcome with science. Well, if you ever get around to reading this article.
An American posing as a police officer accidentally pulled over a real cop. He was arrested, rather than the other way around.
Diet soda is on the decline. Both Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi have reported falling sales in recent years.
An adorable goggles-wearing parrot is helping researchers understand how birds fly. The lessons could be used to make better drones and aircraft.
Hayao Miyazaki isn’t impressed with the idea of AI-made cartoons. The animation legend called a project to model new forms of movement “an insult to life itself.”
The world’s oldest-known seabird is still feeling frisky. The 66-year-old albatross is incubating another egg, making her the oldest breeding bird recorded.
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