Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

What We’re Following: Some Meeting in France

Leaders from nearly 200 countries have converged in the French capital for two-week-long talks about climate change. Negotiators are looking at voluntary efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions past 2020. Each country is setting its own target, and rich countries will pay poorer ones to reduce their emissions. Heads of state have met every year since 1992 to try to broker a deal.

The Deadly Shooting in Colorado: The man accused of killing three people and injuring nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last week made his first court appearance via video. Robert Lewis Dear, 57, is being held on an initial charge of first-degree murder, with final charges coming next week.

This Back-and-Forth: Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu defended his country’s decision to shoot down a Russian warplane last week, an incident that has further strained relations between Turkey and Russia. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the Turkish government of downing the plane so it could protect its oil trade with the Islamic State; Turkey has denied it buys oil from the terrorist organization.


Snapshot

In some parts of the world, Christmas looks a lot more like Halloween. Meet Krampus, a frightening beast-like creature who emerges during the Yule season, looking for naughty children to punish. More scary photos here. (Johannes Simon / Getty)

Quoted

Laura Olin, who ran social-media strategy for President Obama’s 2012 campaign, on Millennials: “I think they’re wise enough to realize that no one is going to fix the world for them—it’s up to them.”

Jedediah Purdy, a law professor, on climate change: “Maybe we need to become different people in relation to the natural world. And maybe that isn’t such a wildly utopian thought: That becoming different people is something that humans do, in wrestling with deep problems.”

Carola McGiffert, who runs a nonprofit that promotes the study of Mandarin in U.S. schools: “We’re not doing our part to make sure that our young people are ready to compete in this global economy where China plays a huge, growing role.”


News Quiz

1. The International Monetary Fund added the ________ to the world’s roster of reserve currencies.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

2. Republican presidential candidate ________ appeared to mock a disabled reporter.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

3. Irish translators spent months debating how to translate the English word ________ to Gaelic.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)


Evening Read

Julie Beck on the social perks of being a dog owner:

Though anyone who has found her hands itching to pet a stranger’s dog when it passes on the sidewalk looking all pettable knows this in her heart to be true, it’s nice to have the data to back it up: Dogs are great facilitators of social interaction. Especially between strangers.

In studies observing the reactions people get while out and about with dogs, researchers have found that strangers offer more smiles and friendly glances to people with dogs, and are more likely to approach and have a conversation with someone with a canine companion. In one study from 2008, people helped a stranger who dropped a handful of coins pick them up more often if he had a dog with him, and were more likely to give him money for the bus when he asked.


Reader Response

A former teacher joins the debate of our December cover story, “The Silicon Valley Suicides”:

[W]hen Hanna Rosin asks, “Why are so many kids with bright prospects killing themselves in Palo Alto?”—as a former teacher there who’s now a college counselor elsewhere—I’d identify the chief culprit: the refusal of elite universities to make their actual admissions priorities and practices transparent.

The desperate frenzy to rack up AP credits, perfect grades, awards, volunteer experiences, and recommendations—calling to mind a hamster madly spinning on a wheel—has a very simple antecedent, which is that colleges such as Yale, Duke, and Stanford play a coy game to entice applicants who have virtually no chance of acceptance, urging them to believe that running ever harder, “accomplishing” more and more, might help. Is it any wonder that some kids opt off the wheel?  

Keep reading here.


Verbs

Hoverboards banned, 10 varieties of miso soup explored, orbiting satellites tracked, Hillary Clinton’s Rodham dropped, President Obama’s final State of the Union scheduled.


Answers: RENMINBI, DONALD TRUMP, TWEET


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