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WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND
Europe goes to the polls. Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has staked his political career on a referendum that would make it easier to pass government reforms—especially his plan to rescue the country’s banking system. In Austria, a far-right, anti-immigrant presidential candidate is running neck-and-neck against a former Green Party leader.
The US jobs report. The closely watched November figures are expected to show the economy added 181,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9%.
India closes a demonetization loophole. Gas stations and airline counters, which were given a temporary exemption, will no longer recognize the discontinued Rs500 notes, as the government continues its attempt to squelch the shadow economy.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
François Hollande said he would not seek another term. That makes him the first French president since 1958 to not run for re-election. Hollande is deeply unpopular after a string of terrorists attacks and worsening unemployment.
Donald Trump picked his defense secretary. The US president-elect named James “Mad Dog” Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, to the post. Mattis, 66, oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2010 to 2013 as the head of US Central Command. Among his controversial statements is “It’s fun to shoot some people,” made in reference to fighting the Taliban.
Twitter bought a little-known startup and made its CEO the head of its product team. Keith Coleman will shut down the two mobile apps his venture Yes was running—one for sharing status updates and the other for making plans with friends—to tackle one of the toughest jobs in Silicon Valley. Twitter has struggled to make money and grow its user base.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is stepping down. The longtime leader of the chain will remain as chairman, but will focus on a plan to open high-end coffee shops to compete with hipster cafes. COO Kevin Johnson, a tech industry veteran with experience at Microsoft, will become the new CEO.
An unmanned Russian spacecraft failed. It was carrying supplies to the International Space Station when it lost contact with mission control and burned up over the sparsely populated mountains of southern Siberia. The ISS crew should be fine—another supply ship will launch next week—but the incident will cast doubt upon the reliability of Russia’s rockets.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Tim Fernholz on why Donald Trump’s deal for American jobs doesn’t look so good in the light of day: “To solve the US jobs problem, broader solutions will be needed, from education to infrastructure to, yes, sensible corporate tax reform. So far, Trump’s deal-making skills in this arena appear to be mostly giving corporations what they want; in this case, cash out of the public coffers.” Read more here.
QUARTZ HAIKU INTERLUDE
Days are getting short
And nights are long. It’s darkest
For treasury bonds.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
The fear of AI is actually a fear of human irrelevance. We’re not really worried about robots killing us—we’re scared of each other.
The antidote to fake news is good design. People made these systems, and people can correct them.
Forcing people to stand up for a national anthem isn’t patriotism. Especially when it comes at the cost of individual expression.
Mushrooms are magic at treating depression and anxiety. One dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin helped distressed cancer patients for months.
US maternity leave policies hurt high-paid US white women the most. They lose 10% of wage per kid, compared with 4.7% for those with lower incomes.
Trees may actually increase urban pollution. Leaves and branches can slow air currents and cause pollutants to settle.
In Alaska, kindergarteners are learning to butcher moose.Students across all years are being equipped with life skills to survive in the wilderness.
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