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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—UK’s case against Syria, Hollande meets Putin, the evolving smile

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

David Cameron pushes his case for bombing Syria. The British prime minister will argue that the UK must attack ISIL abroad “to stop terrorism here in Britain.” Cameron’s proposal can be read beforehand here (pdf); live coverage can be found here.

François Hollande visits Vladimir Putin. The French president is going to Moscow for the same reason he went to Washington earlier this week: to discuss the fight against ISIL.

India’s parliament begins its winter session. The most contentious issue lawmakers have to settle during the coming month is a proposed goods and services tax, which would go into effect in April 2016.

The US celebrates Thanksgiving. Many Americans will be loosening their belts and sharpening their tongues for the holiday that, ironically enough, originates from a refugee story. US equity and bond markets are closed, as are most (but not all) major retail stores.

While you were sleeping

North and South Korea held rare talks. Officials convened in the demilitarized zone, essentially to discuss how to maintain more, higher level talks in the future. That suggests a willingness to support peace, after the north raised tensions in August.

Bush fires killed two in South Australia. At least 13 others have been hospitalized and homes have been destroyed after fires spread over 900 square kilometers (347 square miles) of land north of Adelaide. It could take fire services several days to bring the fire under control.

South Korea fined Volkswagen over its emissions scandal. The government issued a 14.1-billion won ($12-million) penalty (paywall) and ordered the German auto maker to recall 125,000 diesel cars, including some made under the Audi brand. The environment ministry said it will continue investigating other models.

Adele set a new record for first-week album sales. The British singer sold at least 2.8 million copies of her album, 25, in the first five days of its release, according to Nielsen Music. Adele, who did not put the album on streaming services, sold 1.5 million digital copies.

The euro neared a seven-month low. The currency dropped against the dollar and the yen on speculation that the European Central Bank will introduce more stimulus next week. More easing would highlight the economy’s divergence with the US, which is preparing to raise the cost of borrowing.

Quartz obsession interlude

Anne Quito on the secret history of everyday patterns. “As it turns out, cheerful polka dots once signaled disease. English royalty’s posh sport coat pattern of choice, the houndstooth, originated from the commoners. And those preppy stripes were reserved for prisoners and prostitutes in the medieval ages.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Internet use should be regulated like gambling or drugs. Websites are built to be habit-forming.

The Boy Scouts have a legal defense against admitting girls. But, faced with a challenge in the courts, it may hurt them to use it.

Is Donald Trump a fascist? According to historian Robert Paxton’s nine-point guide: Maybe.

We have to teach kids to code. It’s the simplest way to make the internet less racist, less sexist, and generally less offensive.

Surprising discoveries

Showing signs of sadness can help you win negotiations. It only works if you are already perceived as powerless.

A man stole brains from a former insane asylum and put them on eBay. Yup. This really happened.

A painting of Judas survived 500 years because it was turned over. The portrait was otherwise destined for destruction in the Reformation.

Donald Trump’s hat factory is full of Mexicans and Salvadorans. And many pay no mind to his bombastic remarks about immigrants.

Smiling has evolved. An algorithm found increasing lip curvature over time in high school yearbook photographs dating back to 1905.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, a big smile, and un-brined turkey for the table tonight to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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