Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Shinzo Abe goes to Argentina. Japan’s prime minister, in South America for the APEC conference, plans to talk trade with president Mauricio Macri. Their meeting will mark the first visit to Argentina by a Japanese head of state in nearly 60 years.
What crashed Europe’s Mars lander? The European Space Agency is expecting a report on the October mishap involving the Schiaparelli probe. Problems with the parachute and thrusters are believed to have sent the craft crashing into the Red Planet.
Anthem has its day in US court. The health insurer will defend its$48 billion acquisition (paywall) of Cigna Corp., which the Justice Department is challenging, arguing it reduces competition. The deal would make the combined company the biggest health insurer in the US.
SPONSOR CONTENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN
Morgan Stanley’s Chief Economist is optimistic about Japan’s economic recovery. In his “Abenomics report card,” Dr. Robert Feldman gives Japan strong marks for moving in the right direction. He points to successful reforms in agriculture, work style, and corporate governance, and notes that better budgeting and free trade agreements will keep momentum moving.
OVER THE WEEKEND
The race for the French presidency began. Former president Niçolas Sarkozy conceded defeat and François Fillon, who was polling at 8% earlier this month, is leading in the first-ever primary to be Les Républicains’ presidential candidate. He so far has more than44% of the votes (link in French). With a hugely weakened left and Marine Le Pen lurking, the winner of the run-off between Fillon and Alain Juppé is seen as the likely victor in next year’s election.
China defended globalization at the APEC summit. President Xi Jinping called on APEC nations to reject protectionism and to redouble efforts to defend free trade. Now that Trump is headed for the White House, China is gearing itself to fill a possible US-shaped hole and lead the way on global trade.
Angela Merkel said she will stand for re-election. The German chancellor, who has been dubbed the liberal West’s last defender(paywall), will run for a fourth term in office next year. After letting in 1 million migrants, Merkel is under pressure from some of the same populist forces that led to Brexit and Donald Trump. If she wins, Merkel will match the record of Helmut Kohl, Germany’s longest-serving chancellor.
Eastern Aleppo’s last hospital was destroyed. Up to 250,000 residents have been left without access to surgery or specialist care after Russian-led airstrikes pummeled the Syrian city. Hospitals have, in the past, reopened after heavy bombardment, but this destruction may be too severe to recover from.
Mitt Romney met Donald Trump… After spending monthsattacking each other, Trump (who called Romney a “failed candidate”) and Romney (who dubbed Trump a “fraud”) looked past their differences and finally made up. Romney is now being considered for secretary of state, confirmed vice-president-elect Mike Pence.
…and Mike Pence went to the theater. Pence was heckled and booed when he took his seat to watch the hit Broadway hip-hop musical Hamilton. The cast took the opportunity to address Pence directly, asking him to “to work on behalf of all of us.” Trump wasn’t happy and demanded an apology from the cast, but Pence told Fox News he wasn’t offended and praised the show.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Marc Bain on the growth of sneaker culture as he attended Sneaker Con. “They’re cool on a rapidly growing scale, and the rarest, most desirable sneakers are status symbols in much the same way as designer bags can be—the great difference being that the ‘sneakerheads’ who covet sneakers in this way are mostly men.”Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Jogging isn’t all that healthy. It’s lousy for your joints and for gaining strength.
Free trade boosts innovation. It forces companies to get creativein response to tougher competition, and through better market access, gives them higher profits with which to do so.
It’s fair to publicly shame Trump supporters. There’s nothing wrong with making people feel ashamed for doing something shameful.
The world fell in love with the polar bear petting a dog. But the viral feel-good video actually showed a predator playing with its prey.
Russia’s latest foodie craze involves a giant rodent. The nutria, also known as coypu or river rat, has found its way onto plates atseveral Moscow restaurants.
Taxis are encouraging Tunisians to read. An online book-sharing platform has put books in cabs in collaboration with an Uber-style cab-hailing service.
Chinese websites block searches for “Fatty Kim the Third.”Many in China have mockingly used the term to describe the rotundNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
A woman fought off a sword-wielding robber with a plastic fork. The woman pushed the robber and chased him out of her shop—in Glasgow, of course.
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