Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
The European Central Bank decides the fate of its stimulus efforts. Most investors are expecting the bank to announce (paywall) at least a six-month extension of its extensive bond-buying program. If the bank has a surprise, the sell-off in bonds could be severe.
Widespread strikes rattle Greece. The nation’s largest private sector union, GSEE, has called for nationwide strikes today to protest austerity measures. It contends the latter have squeezed wages, driven many out of work, and hurt the economy.
A trial begins for a high-profile Pakistan “honor killing.” A local court has indicted three men, including her brother and cousin, in the murder of Qandeel Baloch, a controversial Pakistani social media star.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
China reported upbeat trade figures. Both imports and exportssurpassed expectations. Imports jumped the most in two years, with resource imports being particularly strong, which helps explain the rising prices of bulk commodities. The news was especially welcome in Australia, which supplies China with many a raw material.
Bill English emerged as New Zealand’s next prime minister. He still faces a vote on Monday by MPs of his National Party, but that’s looking like a formality now that 30 have indicated their support for him. The current PM John Key announced his resignation on Dec. 5, suggesting that English, currently the deputy PM and finance minister, succeed him.
Shell signed a deal with Iran’s state oil company. Thepreliminary agreement flies in the face of US president-elect Trump’s vow to reverse or renegotiate the deal to end sanctions against the nation. Last month France’s Total SA signed a deal (paywall) to develop a natural-gas field in Iran.
Michael Jordon won the rights to his Chinese name in China.The basketball legend finally emerged victorious in a long-running trademark dispute, with China’s top court overturning earlier decisions against him. On the losing side is Chinese company Qiaodan Sports, which will have to give up its registration of the Chinese version of his last name.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Anne Quito on the millions of 100-lb. gift boxes Filipinos send their relatives every Christmas: “The word “balikbayan” is a Tagalog compound word that translates to “return [to] country.” As the most iconic symbol of the Filipino diaspora, the balikbayan box serves as an emotional bridge between parents and siblings who part with their families to earn a higher wage abroad collectively known as ‘Overseas Filipino Workers.’” Read more here.
QUARTZ HAIKU INTERLUDE
Winter winds blow cold
for the disfavored. Today
Pharma feels the chill.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
“Seasteading” could blur the boundaries of business.Autonomous ocean platforms might sell health care and finance services to the rest of the world.
Identity politics is the politics of survival. For years, marginalized Americans have been repressed into silence.
If you give the poor cash, they don’t waste it. Direct transfers lead to more spending on children’s food and health—especially when women are in charge.
Cheerleading and Muay Thai may be Olympic sports in Tokyo 2020. They were both provisionally recognized by a key committeethis week.
Strobe lighting could fight Alzheimer’s disease. Flashing lights stimulate immune cells to absorb the sticky amyloid proteins that are a hallmark of the disease.
A robot is guarding the world’s biggest physics experiment.“TIM” is patrolling the 27 km tunnel that houses the Large Hadron Collider.
Japan loves it when the First Lady criticizes the president. Aki Abe describes her role as “a bit like an opposition party.”
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