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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Germany votes on Syria, Senate blocks gun control, cocktails made of tears

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Germany votes on military support against ISIL. The Bundestag is expected to approve a plan to send troops “in and over Syria” as well as to neighboring countries and nearby seas. German forces would support those fighting the terror group, but will not engage in direct combat.

A high-stakes space rocket launch. An aircraft operated by three private companies will transport food, water, and scientific equipment to the International Space Station at 5:33pm ET. Two recent private-sector attempts to supply the station ended in spectacular explosions. You can watch today’s launch here.

OPEC tries to lift oil prices. Members of the oil cartel meet in Vienna to determine target prices and production numbers. Discord seems likely after Russia, Iran, and Iraq rejected Saudi Arabia’s surprise proposal for a round of oil production cuts.

Union protests in South Korea. After a demonstration involving 60,000 people turned violent last month, the country’s biggest labor group will hold another protest on Saturday. The group wants to do away with proposed reforms that would make it easier to fire workers.

Greece votes on a new budget. Parliament is expected to vote on a 2016 budget on Saturday, the first put forward by its coalition government, made up of Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party and the right-wing Greek Independents.

While you were sleeping

China pledged $60 billion for African development. President Xi Jinping presented a 10-point development plan for the countries involved with the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, hosted in Johannesburg.

A SABMiller company recalled 1 million bottles of beer. Carlton & United Breweries, an Australian unit of the mega-brewer, announced the recall after discovering broken glass in some of its beer. That’s unfortunate timing for SABMiller, which is looking for regulatory approval of a $106-billion buyout.

The US Senate was busy last night. It passed a bill that would essentially gut Obamacare and also defunds abortion provider Planned Parenthood. It also blocked amendments that would stop people on a federal terrorism watch list from buying guns. But president Barack Obama is expected to veto the bill.

Xi Jinping went after bankers. The Chinese president put one of the nation’s top police officers in charge of a probe investigating corruption in the securities industry, according to Bloomberg. Fu Zhenghua locked up the nation’s former security czar this summer.

A German factory gauge rebounded. Factory orders rose by 1.8% in October, beating expectations on increased demand from other euro zone countries. That will come as a relief for the bloc’s largest economy; orders had fallen in the three months beforehand.

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Frommer on whether to blame Marissa Mayer for Yahoo’s decline. “Yahoo still has a massive audience, yet its products—where Mayer’s talents were specifically supposed to shine—just aren’t that much better than they were before. Yahoo has not become Google. Is that Mayer’s fault? It is hard to simply say no.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

We should be genetically modifying human embryos, at least in labs. The promises are too great to scupper research.

City mayors, not national governments, are leading on climate change. These are the people at the forefront of the reduction in emissions.

ISIL is the Islamization of radicalism, not the other way around. It’s essentially young Muslims revolting against their parents. 

Buying a gun should be as difficult as getting an abortion. That’s what one US lawmaker is proposing with a new bill.

Babies, cooking equipment, and toilets have no business being connected to the internet. The “hyperconnected future” is getting out of hand.

Surprising discoveries

Beer drinkers are suing to block the AB InBev-SABMiller merger. The 23 ale lovers say it will mean lower-quality brews.

Climate change has one very cute winner. It means more hiding places for Alaska’s fluffy snowshoe hare.

Two artists are making cocktails from human tears. You can use them to make a martini with extra sadness.

US marijuana growers are using $6 billion a year in electricity. That’s 1% of the country’s total usage.

China’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” poster downplays non-white characters. Chewbacca also didn’t make the cut.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, snowshoe hares, and bitter tears to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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