New US attorney general, mining strikes, #Oprah’s painting flip

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Donald Trump meets with CEOs of US airlines. He’s expected to repeat the same request he made to auto chiefs last month: boost US production and create American jobs. The leaders of Delta and United will push for restrictions on US destinations available to competitors like Emirates and Qatar Airways—recipients, they contend, of “massive” subsidies from their government owners.

Workers strike at the world’s two largest copper mines. A work stoppage is expected at BHP Billiton’s Escondida site in Chile, and Freeport-McMoRan said it would cut back output at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia, due in part to an ongoing strike. More than 5,000 metric tons (5,512 tons) of daily copper production could be lost.

Gaming-fueled earnings. Analysts expect video-game makers Zynga (of Farmville fame) and Activision Blizzard (World of Warcraft)to report rising revenue (pdf) for their fourth quarters. The same goes for chipmaker Nvidia, enjoying strong demand for its game processors. Also reporting are Twitter, Viacom, and News Corp.—all of which must contend with more attention going to games.


Jeff Sessions was confirmed as US attorney general. The senator from Alabama will now shape how the government protects civil rights and applies immigration laws. Leading up to the vote, senator Elizabeth Warren read out a letter by Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow criticizing Sessions’ civil rights record, before being silenced via a rarely used rule. That led to the hashtag #ShePersisted going viral.

Facebook hired an MTV executive to develop original video content. Mina Lefevre will lead development of scripted and unscripted programming for the world’s largest social network. The hire further suggests Facebook is preparing to launch high-quality shows and clips that could pit it against major video streamers like Netflix, YouTube, and Snapchat.

Alibaba’s finance arm is raising billions for global expansion. Ant Financial, which recently bought MoneyGram International for $880 million, is reportedly in talks with bankers to raise about $3 billion to invest in India and the United States. The fundraising, which could involve bank loans or issuing new bonds, would be in addition to a planned IPO.

Trump bullied Nordstrom for dumping his daughter’s brand.The president tweeted from both his personal and @POTUS accounts that Ivanka Trump had been treated “so unfairly.” White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed the company’s business decision was a “direct attack” on the president’s policies.

Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was elected president of Somalia.The former prime minister, who is a dual US citizen, defeated incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud after two rounds of parliamentary voting. The election, which aimed to create the first functioning central government in 25 years, was held under tight security at a former air force base.


Lily Kuo on a pop-up hair salon in Uganda that treats black hair as a science and an art. “The issue of black hair is especially fraught in parts of the continent. In South Africa, several high schools ban girls from wearing their hair naturally… In Uganda, many schools demand that black female students shave their hair if it can’t be kept ‘neat.’” Read more here.


Coding is the next blue-collar job. You don’t need a four-year degree to sling Java­Script for the local bank.

A carbon tax would get more support as “environmental insurance.” A group of US Republicans is promoting a hedgeagainst the risks associated with climate change.

The US-India alliance is looking dicey under Trump. Immigration restrictions could put the relationship in peril.


Oprah made more than $60 million by flipping a painting. She bought a piece by Gustav Klimt for $87.9 million and sold it for $150 million to a Chinese buyer.

Mercedes-Benz is using “pink noise” to save your ears in a crash. A microburst of static braces the eardrum when the carsenses an imminent collision.

DC lobbyists are selling insurance policies for mean Trump tweets. Companies are advised to treat them like a natural disaster.

Endangered bumblebees are too fat to mate. Scientists are investigating a parasite that bloats male bees until they become impotent.

Apple spent years obsessing over the door handles at its new headquarters. The astonishing attention to detail is a tribute to Steve Jobs.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pink noise, and Trump insurance to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.



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