Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Facebook faces an “international grand committee” of parliaments. Eight countries are calling for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to provide evidence of misinformation on the social network, but it’s unclear if he will appear before the committee in London today.
Japan’s lower house votes on a new immigration bill. Opposition parties are protesting the expected passage of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s measure to relax the country’s notoriously strict naturalization policies. The number of foreign workers in Japan has more than doubled since 2010, but critics claim the influx is limiting jobs and increasing crime.
Emmanuel Macron responds to Paris’s fuel-price protests. The French president will give a speech today to rally support for the tax increases, which are part of environmental measures, after demonstrators clashed with police. The protests resulted in 101 people arrested and about 30 injured.
Theresa May tries to sell Northern Ireland on the Brexit deal. The UK prime minister is trying to build support for the agreement ahead of a parliamentary vote on Dec. 11, but the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, which will have Britain’s only land border with the EU, has said it would vote against the current deal.
While you were sleeping
NASA successfully landed its Mars explorer. After “seven minutes of terror,” the InSight lander used heat shields, parachutes, and thrusters to safely touch down on Mars soil around 3pm ET. After unfurling its solar panels, the probe will drill into the surface to measure tremors and heat flow to study the planet’s origins.
Human Rights Watch asked Argentina to probe the Saudi crown prince. The organization wants to make use of a war-crimes clause in Argentina’s constitution—which allows judicial authorities to investigate and prosecute crimes regardless of where they were committed—to look into the role of Mohammed bin Salman in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and possible war crimes in Yemen. The request comes ahead of the G20 summit this week in Buenos Aires, which the crown prince is planning to attend.
Paul Manafort lied to investigators after signing his plea deal. The office of special counsel Robert Mueller said Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman breached his agreement by lying “on a variety of subject matters,” according to a court filing. Manafort’s lawyers, however, say he “believes he provided truthful information.”
Trump said he’ll move forward with additional Chinese tariffs… Days ahead of a summit with Chinese president Xi Jinping, Trump told the Wall Street Journal (paywall) it’s “highly unlikely” he’ll accept Beijing’s request not to increase tariffs on $200 billion of goods from Jan. 1. In the absence of a deal, Trump vowed to also impose tariffs of 10% to 25% on $267 billion more of Chinese goods next year.
…And defended the use of tear gas on women and children at the US’s southern border. Trump questioned why mothers would put their children in harm’s way, while also claiming without evidence that some of the women weren’t parents but “grabbers” who steal children to increase their chances of gaining asylum in the US. Mexico, meanwhile, sent the US a diplomatic note calling for a full investigation into the deployment of tear-gas canisters.
Sand dollars: They’re famous as beach souvenirs, but the close relatives of sea urchins are also finely tuned evolutionary wonders. Distinctive oval holes reduce lift underwater, ingested metal particles reduce buoyancy—and wait until you hear how they defend themselves. Dig into today’s Quartz Obsession.
“I am glad this headline is accelerating an ethical and legal debate our society has delayed for too long. Where will we draw the line, not only as citizens, but as human beings?”
—Allison Baum, managing partner at Fresco Capital, on “The Chinese scientist who claims he made CRISPR babies is under investigation”
Fashion forward: The luxury industry, always interested in youth culture, is chasing young people as customers. But as the fashion industry reorients itself to a younger, non-Western shopper who’s more entranced by a new sneaker than by a couture gown, no one really knows what counts as luxury anymore. Read more here.
Amazon might be masquerading as a massage parlor. Clues from a US government filing suggest the company could be hiding its plans to test new wireless technology.
The tear gas used by US border troops is banned in warfare. The agent is outlawed on the battlefield in nearly every country, but can be used legally for riot control (paywall) in the US.
An American professor found the music of Auschwitz inmates. A Michigan ensemble has recorded an upbeat foxtrot called “The Most Beautiful Time of Life” 75 years after it was arranged.
Birds like to rub themselves with ants, and no one knows why. The behavior known as “anting” has been spotted in more than 200 avian species.
Kim Jong Un’s canine “peace gifts” have produced unexpected dividends. One of the dogs he gave South Korea’s president gave birth to six puppies this weekend.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, sand dollars, and inexplicable bird observations to email@example.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Alice Truong and edited by Tripti Lahiri.