Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Japan’s prime minister starts a two-day visit to the Philippines.Shinzo Abe will meet Filipino business leaders in Manila before flying to the home of president Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City.
Nepal meets India to discuss demonetization. It still has plenty of the now-defunct Rs500 and Rs1000 notes and will ask its neighborto allow the notes to be exchanged through banking channels. The nations share an open border, and Indian currency is widely accepted in Nepal.
Germany’s GDP. The EU’s strongest economy is expected to report growth of 1.9% in 2016, up from 1.7% in 2015. The data will be watched closely by the European Central Bank as it plots the future of its bond-buying program.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Trump declined to separate himself from his global business empire. He’ll still be its primary owner, though his two sons will control his companies. The arrangement falls well short of the blind trust prescribed by ethics watchdogs, who fear that Trump could enrich himself and fall prey to myriad conflicts of interest.
Rex Tillerson was grilled in his confirmation hearing. Senator Marco Rubio pressed the former ExxonMobil CEO to address Russia’s cyberattacks on the US and alleged war crimes in Syria. Rubio could be the swing vote on the Senate foreign affairs committee that will decide the fate of Tillerson’s nomination.
The US indicted six Volkswagen executives as part of a $4.3 billion settlement. The Department of Justice charged them withconspiring to cheat emissions tests; five of the defendants are currently in Germany. The company itself also agreed to plead guilty to three felony charges.
Alphabet gave up on using solar-powered drones for delivering internet access to remote areas. Google’s parent company decided other methods look more promising, namely the deployment of high-altitude balloons, which it’s exploring through its Project Loon initiative. In 2015 one of the drones crashed in New Mexico during testing.
Amazon almost got kicked out of India. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj threatened to bar all Amazon executives from getting visasafter its Canadian portal was found to be selling doormats featuring the Indian flag. Amazon averted the crisis by delisting the products.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Zoë Schlanger on the plight of the bumblebee: “Neonicotinoids, the class of widely used agricultural pesticides many experts believe is helping decimate the bee population, are unlikely to be banned while Donald Trump and his cabinet are in office… Myron Ebell, Trump’s pick to lead the EPA’s transition, directly opposes the regulation of neonicotinoids through the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy group.” Read more here.
QUARTZ HAIKU INTERLUDE
Trump loves business and
they love Trump. But not pharma:
They are scared to death
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Global elites are worried about environmental catastrophes.The World Economic Forum says the fear of climate change disasters outpaces concerns about financial markets.
Mark Zuckerberg’s presidential to-do list is nearly complete.The Facebook CEO is ticking all the boxes for a 2020 run.
Poland is the China of Europe when it comes to air pollution.Unlike most of the continent, Poles still rely on coal for most of their electricity.
A baroque hacking scandal in Italy is worthy of a Dan Brown novel. An Italian brother and sister used malware to target 18,000 political and business leaders.
The FTSE 100 has set a new record high every day since Christmas. The dramatic run-up is mostly due to the pound’s sharp decline.
Apple has already cornered over 40% of the wireless headphone market. AirPods are a much-needed hit right out of the gate.
Half a million Dutch cows are facing death. Their prodigious generation of manure threatens to violate EU environmental regulations.
A newly discovered Chinese primate is named after the first family of Star Wars. The Skywalker hoolock gibbon is already in danger of extinction.
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