Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
Trump announces a new UN ambassador. State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is expected to be named to the post today. The former TV anchor replaces Nikki Haley and is one of a number of Fox News personalities (paywall) recruited to the administration by the president.
Meng Wanzhou’s bail hearing. Huawei’s chief financial officer, who was arrested last week for allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran, is expected to appear in court today in Vancouver, and is facing extradition to America.
Angela Merkel’s party votes for a new leader. The frontrunners to lead the Christian Democrats in today’s contest are Merkel protégé Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and Friedrich Merz, a rival who lost to the chancellor in a power struggle in 2002.
China’s journey to the moon. The Chang’e 4 mission will launch Saturday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, starting a 27-day flight for a first-ever attempt to send a lander and rover to the far side of the moon.
France braces for more protests. Though the government will scrap the unpopular fuel-tax hike that spurred the “yellow jacket” protests, demonstrators have a list of about 40 other demands. Paris landmarks and businesses will close and 89,000 police will be deployed across the country this weekend over fears of rioting.
Filings reveal how Trump’s former confidantes cooperated with the FBI. Special counsel Robert Mueller will submit a sentencing memo (paywall) today for Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and another filing in the case of ex-campaign chief Paul Manafort. The filings come after a memo this week revealed former national security adviser Michael Flynn provided “substantial assistance.”
While you were sleeping
Bitcoin prices hit a new 2018 low. The cryptocurrency dropped 11% to $3,306, a fresh indication sellers are trading for US dollars. Fears of a bubble and the cost of bitcoin mining are contributing to tanking prices.
Fiat Chrysler will build Detroit’s first assembly plant in nearly three decades. Riding on strong SUV sales, the automaker also reportedly plans to add a three-row Jeep SUV to its lineup. The move could bring 400 auto jobs to the city and will cushion the blow from GM’s announcement last month that it will lay off nearly 6,000 people.
CNN evacuated its New York City offices due to a bomb threat. The network went to taped programming and briefly took Don Lemon’s CNN Tonight off the air as staffers were evacuated Thursday night. The incident follows an evacuation in October after the discovery of an explosive device addressed to former CIA director John Brennan.
Comedian Kevin Hart dropped out as Oscars host. The US actor stepped down from what he had called his “dream job” after homophobic tweets resurfaced this week. The Academy asked Hart to apologize, but he declined, citing previous apologies.
Amazon eyes checkout-free stores at airports. Reuters reported the online retail giant is in talks to bring Amazon Go to several major US transit hubs. The store allows customers to scan their phones on entry, select items, and have their cards billed after they leave.
Nissan was hit with another recall. The carmaker announced it would bring back 150,000 cars in Japan as a result of improper inspections. The issue has forced the company to recall more than 1 million cars in Japan since October last year.
Vinegar is the original sports drink. Long before fermentation was a food fad, humans were slaking their thirst with vinegar concoctions. It added interest—and also made water safer to drink. Read more in today’s Quartz Obsession.
Matters of debate
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More privacy could mean an online economic collapse. Fraud may become more rare, but the frequency of transactions could dwindle to a dangerous low.
Lyft has a first-mover advantage in beating Uber to an IPO. Since Wall Street is unsure how to value ride-hailing companies, Lyft will be given the benefit of the doubt if it goes public first.
Poorer countries should encourage their kids to play. The World Bank believes “play labs” could close the gap between poor kids and their wealthier peers.
The charts that show how trucking is changing. Hauling freight over roads has long been a part of business, but due to the rapid growth of e-commerce, that practice in the US has dramatically increased in the past 20 years. Plus, trucking is still one of the most deadly occupations in America, and safety numbers have remained stubbornly flat for the last decade. Read more here.
Your vacuum cleaner could be spying on you. The US Drug Enforcement Administration is hiding surveillance cameras in vacuums to assist in some investigations.
Barnes & Noble’s holiday gift ideas lists just one book. The bookseller’s Top 20 includes four pairs of socks, Mickey Mouse speakers, and one more book than last year’s list.
US radio stations are banning “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” In the era of #MeToo, the holiday song’s controversial lyrics have been construed as a “date-rape anthem.”
Coyote armor keeps dogs looking fierce. The mohawk of spikes (paywall) could help curb a recent spate of canine casualties caused by coyotes.
Boeing’s share price is a good gauge of the US-China trade war. While it hasn’t been hit too hard by tariffs, the stock has been buffeted when concerns about trade have risen.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fierce dog outfits, and holiday reading lists 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 Adam Rasmi and edited by Jackie Bischof.