Saudi blame game, US deficit rises, royal baby taxes

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Netflix reports earnings. Skittish investors are hoping for good news from the streaming giant after tech stocks tanked last week. To hit its target, Netflix needs at least 5.1 million net new subscribers (paywall)—and is hoping a major boost from India will help.

Jim Mattis returns to Vietnam. It’s the second trip to the country this year for the US defense secretary, as Washington seeks to shore up its alliance with Hanoi in the face of worsening US-China relations.

China enforces new anti-dumping tariffs. Beijing will institute penalties of 123% and 41% on imports of hydroiodic acid products—used in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications—on the US and Japan, respectively.

While you were sleeping

New developments in the death of a Saudi journalist. CNN reported that Saudi Arabia was preparing to claim responsibility for an “unauthorized” interrogation that led to Jamal Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Donald Trump told reporters earlier that “rogue killers” may have been responsible.

The US budget deficit hit a six-year high of $799 billion. The gap between income and outlays grew 17% after Donald Trump’s tax cuts slashed rates for corporations and individuals, and spending spiked on the military, Medicaid, Social Security, and disaster relief. US budget director Mick Mulvaney called for a reduction in “irresponsible and unnecessary spending.”

Elizabeth Warren released her DNA results. An analysis of the Massachusetts senator’s heritage by a Stanford geneticist showed that she has Native American ancestry, in a rebuke to frequent taunts from Trump. Warren, a 2020 US presidential contender, called on the president to fulfill his offer to donate $1 million to charity if her ancestry was confirmed.

MIT launched an AI college. A $1 billion investment (paywall) will cover an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on artificial intelligence that welcomes students without a coding background. Courses will cover ethics, biology, chemistry, history, and linguistics, which could help lessen the unintended consequence of biased systems.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is coming to China after all. The romantic comedy blockbuster will make a late debut in Chinese theaters on Nov. 30. Industry insiders expected the film to be banned over its portrayal of rich socialites, but bureaucratic delays at the China Film Bureau may have been responsible.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Zoë Schlanger on the psychic pain of climate change: “Solastalgia is a combination of three elements: ‘Solas’ references the English word ‘solace,’ which comes from the Latin root solari meaning comfort in the face of distressing forces. But it is also a reference to ‘desolation,’ which has its origins in the Latin solus and desolare, which both connote ideas of abandonment and loneliness. ‘Algia’ comes from the Greek root -algia, which means pain, suffering, or sickness.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Instagram is a cesspool of sexual harassment. The beautiful lifestyle shots hide an ugly underbelly of toxic behavior.

Currency manipulation could be the next frontier of the US-China trade war.  The US has “expressed concern” about the yuan’s sharp slide against the dollar.

Poverty is the best way to limit your carbon footprint. And if you’re already rich, don’t fly so much.

Surprising discoveries

Male gorillas like hanging around with infants. New research is puzzling from an evolutionary standpoint, but also adorable.

Shame is part of human evolution. Embarrassment helped people conform to societal standards and secure help from others.

Meghan Markle’s royal baby may owe US taxes. The offspring of the California-born Duchess of Sussex will have dual-citizen obligations.

Coca-Cola’s vending machines wished doom upon New Zealand. “Kia ora, mate” means “Hello, death,” in Māori.

New Zealand has a gluttonous, glamorous bird of the year. The kererū gorges on rotting berries in their peak season, and loafs around in the sun.

Climate change is threatening our beer. In the worst-case scenario, prices could triple.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ancestry claims, and death soda 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 Adam Pasick.