Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The UN hosts climate negotiations. Experts stressed the urgency of action on climate change ahead of the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland. The talks are the first since the release of a landmark report on global temperature rise last month.
A new crew heads to the ISS… NASA will livestream the 6am US eastern time launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying an American, Canadian, and Russian to the International Space Station. Expedition 58 is the first manned Soyuz expedition since a booster malfunction blew up the last rocket on Oct. 11. (The two astronauts onboard survived.)
…while SpaceX launches a record-breaking cargo into space. The launch of 64 small satellites—operated by 34 customers from 17 countries—is the biggest load carried by an American rocket yet.
Benjamin Netanyahu meets Mike Pompeo in Brussels. The Israeli prime minister’s meeting with the US secretary of state will focus on “developments in the region,” according to a statement from Netanyahu’s office. He will be accompanied by the head of Mossad, Israel’s spy agency.
Over the weekend
George H.W. Bush died at the age of 94. As the 41st US president, he is remembered as a “calm statesman” (paywall) who helped end the Cold War and ordered the first Iraq War. His legacy was tainted, however, by recent allegations of groping women and the troubled tenure of his son George W. Bush. Donald Trump hailed Bush as a “truly wonderful man,” despite having objected to some of his policies.
Qatar is leaving OPEC. The country, which relies more on natural gas exports than it does on crude, will pull out of the oil cartel on Jan. 1. Qatar has been under economic sanctions from some neighbors, including OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia. It is the first Gulf nation to pull out of the group.
A productive G20 summit. Trump and Xi Jinping called a temporary trade truce—including an agreement that US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods won’t be raised on Jan. 1 (paywall)—after a dinner in Buenos Aires. The summit exposed some of the biggest fault lines between participating countries, including on migration and climate change.
France held an emergency meeting. President Emmanuel Macron gathered his ministers after hundreds were arrested and injured in anti-government protests in Paris. Macron criticized the violence of the rallies, which began weeks ago in response to a fuel tax and rising living expenses.
Mexico swore in its first leftist president in decades. Huge crowds turned out to watch the inauguration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. In his 90-minute speech, he promised to end corruption, undo policies that have privatized most of Mexico’s economy, and “never seek re-election.”
The hamster wheel is a metaphor for mindless momentum. But not for animals. In one study, researchers set up a wheel in the wild and tracked 200,000 mice, shrews, and frogs indulging in a run, suggesting the practice is not just a byproduct of pet boredom. Read more in the Quartz Obsession.
“There are major issues that we will not be able to solve without robots: climate change, space junk, space exploration, deforestation, pollution, trash in impoverished cities, etc. We just don’t have the economic and business models nor willing people to solve these problems.”
—Minh Do, executive director at Vertex Ventures, on “Robot Reality Check: They Create Wealth—and Jobs”
A Scottish boy sent a birthday card to his dad in heaven. A Royal Mail official confirmed the delivery despite “a difficult challenge avoiding stars and other galactic objects.”
A Chinese translation app is self-censoring. The iFlyTranslate Android app won’t say politically sensitive terms like “Taiwan independence,” “Tiananmen,” or even “Xi Jinping.”
George H.W. Bush had a great domain name. The president’s retirement office used to live online at FLFW.com—for former leader of the free world.
NASA’s Curiosity rover stumbled upon a super-shiny stone on Mars. The object looks like gold at first glance, but is likely a meteor fragment.
A 4,000-year-old pot spent years as a toothbrush holder. The owner of the cheap flea-market find had no clue it dated back to the Indus Valley civilization.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, celestial mail, and Martian objects 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 Cassie Werber and edited by Jackie Bischof.