Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
Paul Manafort goes to court. Donald Trump’s former campaign manager will respond to allegations that he lied to the special counsel’s office, violating his plea deal. Manafort, who has been in jail since mid-June, will be allowed to wear his infamously expensive suits rather than a prison uniform.
US diplomats in Venezuela face a deadline to leave. The US said it would defy orders (paywall) from president Nicolás Maduro to pull its diplomatic personnel out of Venezuela by this weekend as the White House now recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaidó as interim president, raising the possibility that Maduro could use force to throw them out.
Greece holds a controversial vote on Macedonia’s name change. Delayed by a day, parliament is now expected today to ratify a UN-brokered deal that would see its neighbor’s name changed to North Macedonia to avoid confusion with the northern Greek province of Macedonia. Thousands of Greeks protested the deal outside the legislature.
A new White House policy for asylum seekers south of the border. Starting today, the Trump administration will require asylum seekers at the San Ysidro crossing in San Diego, the country’s busiest, to turn back and wait in Mexico while their claims are being processed in US courts. The policy is expected to further strain Mexico’s border cities, which are dealing with a huge influx of migrants from Central American nations.
World Youth Day reaches its climax. Pope Francis will lead Mass in Panama on the final day of his visit to the country, with hundreds of thousands of young devotees expected to be in attendance. On his trip, the pope has expressed messages (paywall) of support to Central American migrants.
While you were sleeping
Two bills to reopen the US government died in the Senate… A Republican measure to allocate $5.7 billion for Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and a Democrat measure to re-open the government without wall funding both failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to pass.
…As the US commerce secretary advised furloughed federal workers to take out loans. Wilbur Ross, who made billions in the private-equity industry, said he did not understand why thousands are being forced to use food banks. About 800,000 federal workers are not being paid as a result of the shutdown.
Venezuela’s opposition challenger spoke. Juan Guaidó hasn’t been seen in public since he declared himself interim president of the country on Wednesday, but in an interview with Spanish-language broadcaster Univision, the head of the national assembly—whose location was kept secret—said he would be willing to grant amnesty to president Maduro if he helped restore democracy.
George Soros launched a blistering attack against China at Davos. Speaking at his annual dinner during the World Economic Forum, the philanthropist said he wanted to “call attention to the mortal danger facing open societies from the instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can put in the hands of repressive regimes,” referring specifically to China’s social credit system.
Quartz obsession interlude
Business class is worth it—to airlines at least. Luxury tiers of premium travel—including the more recent trend of subdivided economy classes—are becoming an ever more potent symbol of class polarization in the friendly skies. Take a peek behind the curtain in our latest Quartz Obsession.
Our latest deep dive on the science behind Crispr includes a sit-down session with Josiah Zayner, chief executive of DIY gene-modifying kit supplier The ODIN. Plus: Quartz’s Youyou Zhou outlines the complex history of how Crispr went from a laboratory breakthrough to an industry disruptor.
Matters of debate
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America needs a wealth tax. Presidential hopefuls are campaigning on the idea of making millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.
Earth’s dysfunctional politics shouldn’t extend to space. Davos attendees worry that international conflicts could become a major hurdle in orbit and beyond.
Journalists should never tweet. Twitter is the world’s most damaging social network for reporters and editors alike.
The White House is photoshopping Donald Trump. Not-so-subtle alterations are slimming the president’s bulk and lengthening his fingers.
This is the year of bendable phones. Samsung, Motorola, and Xiaomi are already touting their next-gen prototypes.
Australia’s heatwave is killing horses. More than 90 horses perished at a dried-up waterhole in the outback, as many places hit temperatures well over 40°C (104°F).
A board game based on the Novichok nerve-agent attack is on sale in Russia. The makers of “Our Guys in Salisbury” said the game was a response to biased coverage of Russia in Western media.
A German man is suing over women-only parking spots. The Bavarian town of Eichstätt designated well-lit and accessible spaces for women after a sexual assault.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, bendy phones, and shelter for animals 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 Tripti Lahiri.