Nikki Haley resigns, Taiwan’s anti-China speech, BBC burns Bowie

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Taiwan’s president accuses China of destabilizing the world… Tsai Ing-wen’s national day speech, which promises to provide “a ray of light in the dark for all those seeking democracy,” (paywall) is bound to inflame Beijing.

…And Japan and Australia bolster their alliance. The countries’ foreign and defense ministers will meet in Sydney, primarily to discuss rising tensions with China in the South and East China seas.

The EU–UK divorce talks approach the finish line. EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is scheduled to brief the European Commission as part of a crowded schedule of talks ahead of a pivotal summit on Oct. 17.

While you were sleeping

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley abruptly resigned. The exit of one of the few moderate voices on Donald Trump’s national security team puzzled observers, and triggered a fresh wave of speculation about a potential 2020 run by the former South Carolina governor. Former Goldman executive Dina Powell and first daughter Ivanka Trump are under consideration to replace Haley.

Geely is reportedly in talks to set up a ride-sharing service with Daimler. Bloomberg reports that the Chinese automaker, which obtained a 10% stake in its German counterpart earlier this year, wants to launch a Chinese mobility service (paywall) to compete with market leader Didi Chuxing.

Turkey searched the Saudi consulate for signs of a missing journalist. Police released still footage of Jamal Khashoggi entering the Istanbul building last week, next to a black van that was allegedly used to take his body to a private Saudi plane. An advisor to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Saudi “deep state” could be responsible for killing the journalist.

Activist investor Bill Ackman took aim at Starbucks. His Pershing Square Capital fund revealed that it owns about 1% of the coffee giant, worth about $900 million, and predicted the shares could double in three years. Ackman, whose reputation has taken a beating over several recent bad bets, also owns major stakes in Chipotle and other food companies.

Walmart may be getting into the cannabis business. Walmart’s Canadian unit is exploring CBD products as the country’s legalization date nears. Major brands like Coca-Cola and Constellation are pursuing a stake in Canada’s marijuana market, but a spokesperson for Walmart Canada insisted it had not set plans yet.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Dan Kopf on why giving Nigerian entrepreneurs cash was a great idea: “YouWin seems to have been an astonishing success. … grant winners were far more likely to have businesses with over 10 employees, and that their businesses were both more innovative and profitable than businesses created by those who weren’t selected.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Future cities should be made of wood. It’s a sustainable choice, especially if modern techniques can make timber-frame buildings more fire-resistant.

RIP, Black Friday. With deep discounts readily available all year long, there’s no point making US retail employees work on a holiday.

“America First” is starting to hinder the global economy. Trade wars and tax cut-related debt unsustainability will cast a long shadow (paywall) the IMF says.

Surprising discoveries

SpaceX’s rocket launch looked like an alien nebula. The effect was caused by the sun’s rays shining through frozen chemicals over the LA night sky.

Indian airport police have to downgrade their smiles. Officers have been ordered to grin less broadly in order to appear “more vigilant than friendly.”

Tech-killing glasses could cure your screen addiction. Their creator used a special film to truly unplug from the news.

A Hawaii veterinary hospital found an unlikely “butt-dial” culprit. A rogue gecko was found making calls with his feet on the director’s mobile phone.

A BBC talent judge called a young David Bowie “devoid of personality.” A new documentary reveals scathing reviews from the star’s early days.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tepid smiles, and missed gecko calls to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by Susan Howson and Adam Pasick.