Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
General Motors makes a big announcement. Reuters reports that the news will have implications for its global operations and may involve shutting down a big assembly plant in Ontario. GM has been cutting jobs to deal with a drop in North America car sales.
An Apple antitrust case reaches the US Supreme Court. The tech giant is accused of monopolizing the market for iPhone apps, leading to inflated prices. A key issue is the 30% commission it gets from App Store purchases.
The shopping frenzy continues. Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest US online-shopping day ever, with sales of almost $8 billion.
Over the weekend
Mitsubishi ousted Carlos Ghosn as chairman. The carmaker’s board in Tokyo voted to remove Ghosn from the role, after Nissan did the same last week following his arrest over allegations of financial misconduct. Nissan has a 34% stake in Mitsubishi. Executives from Renault and Nissan will meet this week as a power struggle threatens the carmakers’ alliance.
Taiwan’s ruling party took an election beating. Voters rejected the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party in favor of the China-friendly opposition Kuomintang in local elections; Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the Democratic Progressive Party after the defeat. Voters also rejected same-sex marriage in Saturday referendums.
The US fired tear gas into Mexico to stop Central American migrants. US authorities shut down the busy San Diego border crossing with Mexico for several hours on Sunday as they used tear gas to disperse a group of approaching asylum seekers. Mexico said it would deport 500 Central American migrants, after hundreds of people tried to cross the fence at the US border near Tijuana.
Brussels endorsed Theresa May’s Brexit deal. EU leaders sounded unenthused but promised “as close as possible a partnership” with the UK after it leaves the bloc on March 29. May now needs to rally support amongst the public and lawmakers for the deal, which currently looks unlikely to clear parliament.
Tensions flared after Russia fired on Ukrainian army ships. The Ukrainian military said Russian boats opened fire and seized three of its naval vessels near Crimea, claiming they had illegally entered Russian waters. The Ukraine parliament votes today on whether to declare martial law, and an emergency UN Security Council meeting has been called.
A Chinese scientist claimed he has created the world’s first genetically modified babies. He Jiankui said he altered embryos during fertility treatments using CRISPR technology, resulting in twin girls with edited DNA; his goal is to create humans with HIV resistance. There’s been no independent confirmation of his claim, but several scientists have condemned it as ethically wrong.
Quartz obsession interlude
Amanda Shendruk on how Canadians are more polite than Americans—on Twitter: “Researchers at McMaster University analyzed 40 million tweets from English speakers both north and south of the 49th parallel. They discovered that words used disproportionately by Canadians or Americans on the social media platform match commonly held national stereotypes. Words over-represented in Canadian tweets tended to be more positive, while those over-represented in American tweets include negative language and profanity.” Read more here.
Fashion in flux: This week, we’re diving into the world of fashion, which is being transformed by youth, China, and a redefinition of luxury. Our state-of-play memo shows how the ground is shifting beneath the industry—and who stands to lose or gain. We also have a roster of the essential people to know in fashion: the key names who control the moving parts of this global machine. For more from our field guide to the future of fashion, sign up here for a free trial membership.
“Time’s up. The movies never show us who has to clean up the destruction after the house party. It’s us. Economic losses at 2x the Great Recession by 2100. Let’s hope this gets the action we need.”
—Beth Comstock, author, on “U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy“
NASA’s InSight must suffer “seven minutes of terror” before landing… The probe, set to land on Mars today, has to transition from hypersonic speed to a walking pace as it passes through the planet’s thin atmosphere.
…And Elon Musk is ready to die on Mars. The SpaceX CEO told Axios that he thinks he could fly to Mars “in a little can” in seven year’s time, but coming back successfully looked unlikely.
Quasars are disappearing. Scientists have a few working theories as to why some of the radiant celestial bodies are winking out.
This Black Friday was a historic one for e-commerce. Over a third of sales happened on smartphones.
Ohio is letting businesses pay taxes in bitcoin. The US state hopes to show that it is tech-savvy and forward-thinking.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Canadian tweets, and quasars to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Jill Petzinger and edited by Jackie Bischof.