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 this month, 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 meets chieftains of tech. Tim Cook, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, and Sheryl Sandberg are among the dozen-odd luminaries expected to attend attend a meeting with the president-elect. (Several others declined.) Separately, nearly 600 tech employees and entrepreneurs have so far vowed to resist technological measures to 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
Aleppo’s short-lived ceasefire broke. The evacuation of civilians and rebel fighters was meant to begin today, after Syrian forces took control of the last rebel-held areas in the city’s east during a horrific bombardment. But renewed fighting broke out after the Syrian government demanded its own loyalists be evacuated from nearby towns.
Sanofi made a move on Actelion. The French pharma firm has emerged as a potential buyer after Johnson & Johnson abandoned its takeover bid for Sanofi, reportedly because they couldn’t agree on a price. Sanofi is now in talks to take over the Swiss biotech firm and could offer as much as $30 billion. Actelion shares dropped by 8% (paywall) on the news that J&J had suddenly withdrawn its bid to buy the company.
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.
Inditex put its best foot forward. The world’s largest fashion retailer, which owns Zara and Massimo Dutti, reported a 14% rise in sales and a 9% growth in profit for the year to date—boosted by new store openings and its online sales platform. Inditex produces most of its clothes near its base in Spain, which, it says, allows it to get its clothes on the racks faster than competitors.
Goldman Sachs named its new co-chiefs. David Solomon and Harvey Schwarz will fill the empty space left by COO Gary Cohn (paywall), whom Donald Trump has picked as his chief economic adviser. Schwarz has been CFO of the bank for three years; Solomon has been with it since 1999 and currently heads up the mergers and capital-raising businesses.
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.
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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