Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The Fed hikes interest rates. Almost every analyst expects the US central bank to raise its benchmark rate for only the second time since 2006, but there is more uncertainty about future increases in the months to come. Markets are feeling optimistic, with the Dow closing 50 points shy of a record 20,000 (paywall).
Donald Trump holds a tech summit. Tim Cook, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and Sheryl Sandberg are among the executives expected to attend a high-profile meeting with the president-elect. Separately, more than 100 tech employees vowed not to help Trump register Muslims or facilitate immigrant deportations.
Taiwan, the US, and Japan discuss security. An annual security dialog in Taipei will draw more scrutiny than usual in the wake of Trump’s unprecedented contact with the Taiwanese government.
While you were sleeping
The bloody battle for Aleppo drew to a horrific close. Russia said that the Syrian government had taken control of the last rebel-held areas in the east of the city, as anti-government forces reached an agreement to leave amid a heavy Russian bombardment. The UN reported that civilians were being summarily executed by pro-government forces.
Protests erupted across Brazil after an austerity bill cleared the senate. The measure puts a 20-year cap on federal spending. Proponents hope it will restore confidence in the economy, luring investors back to the country. Demonstrators worry about the bill hurting social programs, but it now looks set to become law, possibly by tomorrow.
Trump tapped Montana congressman Ryan Zinke as interior secretary. If confirmed by the senate, the former Navy SEAL commander would head a department that oversees more than 20% of federal land, including national parks. A proponent of US energy independence, Zinke has voted to weaken environmental safeguards on public land.
Google’s driverless car unit was reborn as Waymo. The new company is a freestanding business owned by Google’s Alphabet holding company, focused on bringing products quickly to market. Waymo is partnering with Fiat Chrysler to create a semi-autonomous ride-sharing service as soon as 2017.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz explains how Goldman Sachs’ Gary Cohn became Donald Trump’s top economic adviser: “Real estate barons are used to turning to Wall Street to finance their grandiose ambitions, and Donald Trump is no exception. When Cohn came into his Trump Tower office on Nov. 30 with a Wall Street-inspired plan for financing big-ticket government infrastructure investments, the US president-elect was smitten.” Read more here.
Quartz haiku interlude
Dow Jones: Up! Oil: Up!
S&P: Up! Nasdaq: Up!
Such times we live in.
Matters of debate
Trump’s cabinet consists of people running agencies they hate. “Draining the swamp” seems to mean undermining the government.
Decentralized hacking attacks are a new form of warfare. The internet’s greatest strength is its greatest vulnerability.
Rodrigo Duterte’s “drug war” is genocide. His campaign of extrajudicial killings ignores the fact that drug addiction is a disease.
The UN fired Wonder Woman as its goodwill ambassador. Critics argued there are better real-world options than the scantily dressed comic book heroine.
Paris is losing its war with rats. The overrun city had to close parks and tourist attractions, including the Eiffel Tower (paywall), over the weekend.
There are bestsellers, and there’s Harry Potter. “Cursed Child—Parts I and II”—a script based on a play about Potter’s son—sold four times more than the No. 2 book in the US.
A $16 million Leonardo da Vinci drawing was found in France. A doctor discovered the 530-year-old sketch among his father’s drawings.
In 1973, the entire internet fit on a cocktail napkin. Arpanet, the predecessor of the modern-day internet, consisted of just 45 computers.
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