Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The Nobel prize in medicine is awarded. A Thomson Reuters analysis of possible contenders includes researchers studying microbes in the human gut and a protein mechanism behind the death of cells. Other Nobel prizes will be announced this week and next.
Oil prices take another hit. In its most aggressive effort to grab and hold market share since the price plunge began 16 months ago, Saudi Aramco has dropped its prices by $2 a barrel. Look for a blow to Brent benchmark prices, which have already been trading below $50 a barrel.
Britain’s Conservative party sets out its agenda. The second day of the annual party conference, which is aiming to brand the Conservatives as a “party of working people,” will include a speech from chancellor George Osborne, its possible future leader. So far, several MPs used their speeches to warn against socialist Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The US Supreme Court starts a new term. The court is expected to consider cases involving affirmative action, labor unions, class-action suits, abortion, and the death penalty, with rulings coming in June 2016.
Over the weekend
A dozen Pacific nations neared a deal on a major trade pact.Negotiators reported breakthroughs on key issues blocking agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, anchored by the US and Japan and including countries representing two-fifths of the world’s economy.
The World Bank downgraded Asia growth… The institution expects developing East Asian economies to grow at 6.5% this year, down from an anticipated 6.7% earlier. That comes after it lowered its forecast for China growth, to 6.9% from 7.1% earlier; slower China growth is expected to strain regional resources, trade, and tourism.
…And is asking for more cash. President Jim Yong Kim is pushing for an increase to the bank’s capital base, to counteract a slowdown in emerging markets (paywall). The request for an addition to the $253 billion it holds in its main development arm also comes after world leaders signed up for the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
A US airstrike hit a charity-run hospital in Afghanistan—killing doctors and patients. Médecins Sans Frontières said 22 people were killed, and called the US bombing a war crime.
Islamic State destroyed another monument in Palmyra. The Arch of Triumph, built by the Romans around 1,800 years ago, was “pulverized,” several sources have confirmed. That follows the destruction of two other major monuments in the Unesco-recognized ancient city.
Pope Francis reiterated Catholic church opposition to same-sex marriage. His remarks came during a mass Sunday; the Vatican also dismissed a priest who had come out as gay. Here’s a review of the pope’s comments on gay rights.
Portugal’s center-right government likely won re-election. Exit polls suggested a victory for the governing coalition, which has deployed austerity policies in the wake of a bailout of the country.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on why giving money to random entrepreneurs might be the best way for developing countries to create jobs. “In 2011, then-Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala launched a business plan competition in cooperation with the World Bank that would award $58 million in grants to 1,200 entrepreneurs, who could use the money to start a new business or expand an existing one. Now a new study of this program led Columbia University political scientist Chris Blattman to wonder if this scheme was ‘the most effective development program in history.’” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Stock-market performance will be weak for at least 10 more years.The US is in the middle of a lengthy bear market because stocks are highly overvalued.
The US is engaged in a proxy war with Russia in Syria. And the flood of Syrian refugees to Europe is a direct result of failed American policy.
Tim Cook’s Apple has forced the rest of the tech world to adjust to it. Even enterprise-technology companies orbit Apple now.
The higher your credit score, the higher your chances of a lasting relationship. Creditworthiness is a proxy for “an individual’s general trustworthiness and commitment to non-debt obligations.”
Your Twitter language hints at your salary. A study of 10 million tweets accurately predicted the socioeconomic backgrounds of the tweeters.
An artist converted an Ikea bookcase into a coffin. Because who doesn’t have an extra Billy shelving unit hanging around.
Subtle rule changes are having an impact on American football strategy. There are now more missed extra-point kicks than in recent memory.
Scientists are working on an “exercise pill.” They’re studying how to replicate molecular reactions to exercise, so you’ll never have to work out again.
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