Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
The UN Security Council votes on new North Korea sanctions. The US-led resolution would tighten the cap on petroleum exports to the nation and ban many exports from it, including wood, industrial metals, and food products. It also calls for the repatriation of North Koreans working abroad—an important source of income for the ruling regime—within a year.
China and India discuss their border dispute. Officials will meet in New Delhi for the first major dialog between the two nations since a military standoff in the Doklam plateau earlier this year. They’ll look for ways to avoid such incidents, and China might try to persuade India to get involved in its “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative.
The US releases its durable-goods report for November. The commerce department will offer the latest snapshot of business investment, which has trended upward this year, with another increase expected (paywall). It will also share data on consumer spending.
While you were sleeping
Catalan separatists won an absolute majority in the regional parliament. It was a blow for Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who called the election in hopes of calming the nation’s constitutional crisis. Rajoy invoked emergency powers after Catalonia’s separatist lawmakers declared independence in October.
Japan’s cabinet approved a record defense budget. With the North Korea threat looming, prime minister Shinzo Abe’s team set next year’s budget at $46 billion, a 1.3% increase over this year. Approval from parliament is still required. After a decade of cuts, Abe has upped the budget every year since taking office in 2012.
Peru’s president survived an impeachment vote. In a congressional session that lasted more than 13 hours, opposition lawmakers fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to oust Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. They had leveled corruption charges against him tied to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
Alphabet said Eric Schmidt will step down as executive chairman. His role as Alphabet’s “ambassador” included political outreach, but since Donald Trump came to power, the influence of Schmidt, a prominent Hillary Clinton backer, has waned in Washington (paywall). Meanwhile regulatory scrutiny into the tech giant has increased this year.
Nikki Haley attacked the UN for its vote on Jerusalem. The US ambassador to the United Nations lashed out at the body after it voted 128-9 to censure Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there. Haley warned of repercussions, noting the US is the “single largest contributor” to the UN.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on US nuclear tests killing more civilians than previously estimated. “When the US entered the nuclear age, it did so recklessly. New research suggests that the hidden cost of developing nuclear weapons were far larger than previous estimates, with radioactive fallout responsible for 340,000 to 690,000 American deaths from 1951 to 1973.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
2018 is the year something will finally give on North Korea. The country’s advancing weapons, the UN’s increasing sanctions, and Donald Trump’s flippant rhetoric could be a recipe for disaster.
Signing a noncompete agreement is bad for you—and the economy. Employees bound by one have lower starting pay and career earnings than their unbounded peers.
The internet sport of finding sexual anatomy in every logo is ruining graphic design. Snarky comments make clients nervous and, as a result, limits designers to a range of safe options that no one will notice.
A beverage company’s shares jumped more than 500% after it added “blockchain” to its name. Changing its name to Long Blockchain—from Long Island Iced Tea Corp.—was all it took.
A baby born last month was conceived in 1992. Little Emma developed from the oldest known embryo to result in a successful birth.
Jakarta is sinking faster than any other big city on the planet. Illegal wells are draining the underground aquifers (paywall) on which the Indonesian capital rests.
One of America’s greatest ventriloquists pioneered female-friendly sex toys. Ted Marche realized that the dildos of the 1960s were in need of a makeover.
Global disasters in 2017 cost $306 billion—nearly double the cost of 2016. The world should prepare for greater losses in the future.
The Daily Brief will be taking a holiday break on Monday, Dec. 25.
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