Hydrogen’s big backers, #Samsung scandal, human-loving vampire bats

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Samsung’s heir faces arrest. Jay Y. Lee, the Samsung Group’s de facto leader, is being investigated in a bribery case related to South Korea’s widening corruption scandal. A court will decide whether to approve Lee’s arrest warrant, which accuses him of directing company funds to a confidant of president Park Geun-hye.

Germany plans for Brexit. A cabinet committee led by chancellor Angela Merkel will address preparations “within the federal government as well as by European institutions” ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU. The meeting comes a day after British prime minister Theresa May, in a long-awaited speech, laid out a 12-point list of objectives for Brexit.

More confirmation hearings for Trump’s cabinet. The US Senate is set to grill Tom Price, the health secretary nominee, about potential conflicts of interest. Scott Pruitt, tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, will face questions on his climate change denial. UN ambassador nominee Nikki Haley and commerce secretary pick Wilbur Ross will also be in the hot seat.

The US economy gets a report card. The labor department will release new data (paywall) on the consumer price index, which rose 1.7% in November from a year ago. Meanwhile the Federal Reserve will publish its industrial production index, with economists expecting an 0.6% increase in December to offset an 0.4% decline in November.


Auto and oil giants announced they’ll invest $10.7 billion in hydrogen-related products. Including Toyota, BMW, and Royal Dutch Shell, the 13 companies will also form a council to persuade policymakers that hydrogen is the way to go as the world transitions away from dirtier sources of energy. The investments will be made within five years, they said.

Barack Obama sent $500 million to a UN climate fund… It was the second such payment made toward $3 billion pledged to the Green Climate Fund, designed to help developing countries switch to cleaner energy. Incoming president Donald Trump has called man-made climate change a hoax and could withhold the remaining amount. Republican senators have called the payments a waste of money.

… and commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning. She isserving a 35-year sentence as a transgender woman in a male military prison, and twice tried to commit suicide last year. As a US Army private she gave hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents to Wikileaks.

Deutsche Bank signed a $7.2 billion settlement with US authorities. The bank “did not merely mislead investors” but “contributed directly” to the 2008 financial crisis, said attorney general Loretta Lynch. Having agreed last month to the amount—down from the $14 billion sought—the bank said its conduct at the time was unacceptable and that it had upped its standards.

Nigeria mistakenly bombed a refugee camp. An airstrike meant for Boko Haram extremists instead killed more than 100 refugeesand aid workers.


Steve LeVine on Quartz’s geopolitical forecasts for 2017: “The anti-elite uprisings all around us appear to signal the close of one era, and the advent of a new, unknown one… But we are in a void at the moment—the dangerous period before a new age fully takes hold, and systems, nations and movements are up for grabs.” Read more here.


New day, new chaos
Easier to lasso wind
Than parse policy.


The rules that have kept the world together since 1945 are under attack. Outgoing US ambassador to the UN Samantha Powerhad some stern words for Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump is reviving the “Great Man” theory of history.The president-elect “resists analysis as a predictable, impersonal force.”

African mobile operators and startups should work together.Large telcos can financially support smaller firms and draw talent from them in return.


A self-piloted flying car from Airbus is on the way. CEO Tom Enders said a prototype will take to the skies by the end of this year.

Fiji is getting useless donations from Australia. Instead of chainsaws, woolly sweaters, and high heels, aid agencies would rather citizens send cash instead.

Vampire bats have developed a taste for human blood.Scientists in Brazil found human DNA in feces samples from the hairy-legged winged mammals.

Putin thinks Russian prostitutes are “the best in the world.”Even so, he doesn’t believe allegations that Donald Trump made their acquaintance.

Fake news may lead to genocide in South Sudan. Falsehoods spread on social media are causing massacres in the world’s youngest country.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, flying cars, and bat repellant to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.



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