Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The Fed chairman gives a speech after Trump tore him apart. Jerome Powell’s talk at the Economic Club of New York comes a day after the president blamed him—again, in the strongest terms yet—for hurting the US economy. “So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay,” Trump told the Washington Post (paywall).
Will Tiffany’s earnings sparkle? The high-end jeweler posts third-quarter results, with analysts keen to see how the push to attract younger consumers is going and get an update on the health of the Chinese luxury market.
Democrats decide on Nancy Pelosi. After 15 years leading House Democrats, Pelosi faces her biggest leadership threat in a vote behind closed doors. She’s expected to prevail, but with some party members opposing her, it’s unclear whether she can secure the 218 votes needed to be elected speaker of the House in January.
While you were sleeping
Lion Air pilots fought to keep a faulty plane in the air. A preliminary report on the fatal crash of JT610 last month detailed how the pilots struggled repeatedly to pull the nose of the plane back up until finally losing control. The report doesn’t say what caused the accident but noted that a mechanic had worked on the plane’s sensors and equipment—but not the crucial “angle-of-attack” sensor—the night before it crashed.
Republicans grew their majority in the US Senate. Three weeks after the midterm elections, incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was endorsed by Trump, defeated Mike Espy in a runoff for a Mississippi seat. In the racially charged election, Hyde-Smith drew criticism for a photo of her posing with Confederate artifacts and a video in which she joked about suppressing votes. Republicans now command a 53-47 majority in the Senate.
The scientist who claims he created genetically edited babies said he’s proud of his work. At a genome summit in Hong Kong, He Jiankui defended his study, which he says he has submitted to a journal for review (he didn’t say which one). He also mentioned another “potential pregnancy.” The Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen said it was unaware of He’s work and would investigate.
Ikea’s annual operating profit dropped by 26%. The Swedish furniture giant invested more than $3 billion during the year into stores, distribution networks, shopping centers, and renewable energy initiatives.
New Zealand rejected Huawei’s 5G equipment. The government cited national security risks for its decision against a local telecom operator’s plan to use the Chinese company’s technology in its 5G network. The US has been actively lobbying foreign allies (paywall) to shun Huawei equipment, fearing Chinese surveillance.
Plaid: It’s hip to be square. Once a symbol of violent rebellion, it morphed into a signifier of diplomatic order and royal good taste. And that’s before 20th-century fashion designers got a hold of it. Read between the lines in today’s Quartz Obsession.
“Do consumers really care which parent company owns what brand they’re consuming? The meta game is to consume less factory-produced garbage food. That’s how you tear away at monopolies.”
—Jan Zheng, co-founder of Phage Directory, on America’s monopoly problem, in one chart
The fashion insider charged with upending the influencer economy: YouTube’s Derek Blasberg, the former CNN Style host once known as “The Gatsby of Instagram,” is trying to make the world’s largest video-sharing site a go-to destination for fashion brands: “Cash isn’t always the key to content … I’d much rather see an intimate moment shot selfie-style with a fascinating person than a boring video shot on a picturesque mountaintop.” Read Alexandra Mondalek’s exclusive interview.
Overworked South Koreans are relaxing in a fake prison. “Inmates” pay to withdraw from the world—and from each other—in austere conditions.
A Siberian unicorn once lived among humans. The massive horned rhino was felled by climate change about 36,000 years ago.
Turkey is looking for onions. The government is hunting down wholesalers it accuses of hoarding onions to drive up prices.
Knickers the steer earned a reprieve. An Australian abattoir said it didn’t have machines big enough to handle the 6 ft 4 in, 3,000 pound animal.
A Swiss hotel chain offers an Instagram “sitter” as an amenity. For $90, you hand over your password to someone who’ll shoot and post vacation photos on your behalf.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, XXL saddles, and secret onion stashes 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 Jason Karaian.