Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance meet in Amsterdam. Leaders from the three carmakers will gather for the first time (paywall) since the arrest of former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn. Hints of the alliance’s future could emerge, with Nissan aiming for a more equitable relationship.
NASA announces partnerships with US companies for returning to the moon. The space agency’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, tweeted this week that the US is returning to the moon “sooner than you think.” Teaming up with private companies is seen as key to that effort.
Buenos Aires begins to shut down. Residents of the Argentine capital have been told by authorities to leave if they can due to security measures, including the total closure of public transportation ahead of the G20 summit tomorrow, which has been declared a holiday.
Malaysia’s High Court opens sealed bids for a 1MDB-linked super yacht. Bidding for the $250 million Equanimity—once owned by fugitive financier Jho Low—ended yesterday. The vessel is among the myriad assets allegedly purchased with funds siphoned off from the state development fund.
While you were sleeping
Georgia elected its first female president. Salome Zurabishvili, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, beat pro-Europe opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze in a runoff. It is the last direct presidential election in the country before it switches to parliamentary government.
South Korea ruled that another Japanese company must pay reparations. The Supreme Court said that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries must compensate 28 Korean workers (paywall) for their forced labor during Japan’s occupation of the peninsula from 1910-1945, after a similar ruling last month against Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corp. The decision is likely to exacerbate tensions between the two countries.
Ukraine sought help from NATO against Russia. President Petro Poroshenko asked members of the alliance, particularly Germany, to send ships to the Sea of Azov to protect his country, after Russia seized three Ukrainian vessels on Sunday off the coast of Crimea.
The US Senate advanced a Yemen resolution. The measure calls for ending support for the Saudi-led military campaign in the war-torn country. Lawmakers outraged over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi moved it forward, despite being urged not to by secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defense chief Jim Mattis.
Democrats nominated Nancy Pelosi to be the next speaker of the House. The 78-year-old lawmaker held the position from 2007 to 2011, and looks likely to take it again, thanks to Democrats gaining a House majority in the midterms. A small group of Democrats still hopes to deny her a victory in a floor vote in January.
The world has a new kilogram. For almost 130 years, it was defined by an actual physical cylinder made of platinum and iridium, stored in Paris. But then its weight started to fluctuate. A shifting standard is no good for precision tech, so scientists have spent years trying to tie the kilogram to a universal constant. Finally they’re done, with the help of an elaborate scale and the world’s roundest object. Today’s Quartz Obsession weighs in.
“GM is already close to the 200,000 car production cap that is covered by current subsidies but has been lobbying for extension. The steel tariff cost GM $7 billion and thus the decision to close plants that were older to reduce costs. GM had already made decisions to eliminate the models produced at those plants.”
—Michael Andrews, founder and CEO at MPA Global, on “Trump Threatens to End GM Electric-Car Subsidies, Without Saying How”
Sports sneakers have evolved into the luxury fashion object that defines our time. Remake Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars in suede with slight tweaks to the silhouette and you get Ann Demeulemeester’s scamosciato sneakers. Do it in roughed-up leather and you have Yves Saint Laurent’s version. Or exaggerate the proportions, particularly on the toe cap, and the result is a pair of Rick Owens Ramones. Read more here.
Corporations are sourcing futures from sci-fi writers. Nike and Boeing pay for scenarios that show how their brands could stay relevant in an imagined future.
A library on the US-Canada border helps reunite families. Iranian families divided between the two countries have been meeting at a library straddling Vermont and Quebec.
A riddle-writing extortionist is terrorizing an animal sanctuary. A New Hampshire ranch receives rhyming letters (paywall) demanding cash to stop the attacks, including the killing of animals.
A smart dress shows just how often women get groped. Sensors tracked how often and with what degree of intensity the wearer was touched at a club—and it was a lot.
Before we know it, “All I Want for Christmas is You” will be the song of summer. Mariah Carey’s hit keeps charting earlier and earlier every year.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Mariah songs, and smart dresses 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 Isabella Steger and edited by Alice Truong.