Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Joint US-South Korea military drills are putting North Korea on edge. A military exercise scheduled to take place across the Korean Peninsula from Dec. 4-8 may further inflame tensions with North Korea. North Korea’s state-run newspaper said over the weekend that the exercise, involving stealth fighter jets, “is a dangerous provocation as it is driving the tension on the Korean peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war.”
The extradition trial of Indian business magnate Vijay Mallya begins. Mallya, who has been living in the UK since March 2016, faces money-laundering charges in India. Known for his lavish lifestyle, Mallya left India after defaulting on over $1 billion in loans made to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Theresa May heads to Brussels to talk Brexit. The British prime minister’s lunch with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, is aimed at hashing out an agreement on the first phase of the UK’s withdrawal. Key issues include the fate of the Northern Ireland border and the rights of EU citizens in the UK.
Over the weekend
The US Senate passed the Republican tax bill, 51 to 49. The nearly 500-page bill was rushed through in the early hours of Saturday morning, with last-minute amendments hastily scribbled onto the text in handwriting, in some cases illegibly. The House and Senate now go to a committee to hash out the differences between their two versions of the bill before the president can sign it into law.
CVS agreed to buy Aetna for $69 billion. Analysts say the deal between the pharmacy chain and major US insurer could create a new model (paywall) for the health-care industry, with CVS providing health services directly from its storefronts.
Disney resumed talks with 21st Century Fox. Disney is reportedly interested in scooping up some of Fox’s assets, including its movie studio, some of its US cable channels, and its holdings in Indian broadcaster Star and British TV platform Sky. Comcast is another potential buyer, as are Sony and Verizon.
Donald Trump grappled with the latest twists in the Russia inquiry. Trump took to Twitter in the wake of the news that his former national security director, Michael Flynn, is pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with the Russian ambassador. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI”—a line that some interpreted as evidence of obstruction of justice. In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump reacted to those interpretations, denying he had asked former FBI director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn.
German police said a foiled bomb plot was an attempt at extortion. The bomb, discovered in the city of Potsdam on Friday, was an apparent effort to extort millions of euros from the German postal service.
Quartz obsession interlude
Olivia Goldhill on the flawed science of implicit bias. “The implicit bias narrative also lets us off the hook. We can’t feel guilty or be held to account for racism that isn’t conscious. The forgiving notion of unconscious prejudice has become the go-to explanation for all manner of discrimination, but the shaky science behind the IAT suggests this theory isn’t simply easy, but false. And if implicit bias is a weak scapegoat, we must confront the troubling reality that society is still, disturbingly, all too consciously racist and sexist.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
You should talk to your kids about Harvey Weinstein. Answer their questions about sexual harassment now, and they won’t have to do the same for their children in 30 years’ time.
Russia’s 2018 World Cup poster is a sign it sees the tournament as politics. It references the mid-century space race and 1920s constructivist art to send subtle messages about Russian power.
Bitcoin is a frankly terrible currency. But it could still transform the world economy.
Prehistoric women packed a serious punch. The average woman 7,000 years ago was stronger than the ladies on Cambridge University’s elite rowing team are today.
Donald Trump eats fast food in heroic quantities. One chow-down during his campaign involved “two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted,” former aides say.
A Chinese man repainted a road to speed up his commute. He was fined 1,000 yuan ($150) for painting new arrows to streamline traffic that regularly hindered his bus.
A “smart condom” provides data on your most intimate moments. Men can now get stats on their thrusting, endurance, and calories burned—should they really feel the need.
User of a top blockchain are obsessed with cartoon cats. “CryptoKitties” have sold for thousands of dollars on Ethereum.
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