Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
Paul Manafort goes to court. Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, who has been in jail since June, will respond today to allegations that he lied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, violating his plea deal. Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced in the coming weeks for tax and bank fraud convictions, as well as his guilty plea on conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy against the US.
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. The White House has recognized 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 have been protesting 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 celebrations wrap up. The five-day international Catholic gathering will conclude with a mass by Pope Francis in Panama on Sunday, with hundreds of thousands of young devotees expected to attend. The pope has used his trip to Central America this week to defend migrants (paywall) fleeing poverty in the region.
The US gets a manufacturing snapshot. The Commerce Department’s December figures for durable goods orders are expected to show a healthy bump from the previous month. Industrial output rose (paywall) at the end of last year as domestic demand partially made up for the global unease over trade.
While you were sleeping
Venezuela’s opposition challenger spoke. Juan Guaidó hasn’t been seen in public since declaring himself interim president of the country on Wednesday. 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.
Hyundai revisits its China plans. Reuters reported that the South Korean automaker is exploring “optimization plans” for its joint venture in China, including staff buyouts. Car sales in 2018 declined in China for the first time in two decades, with Hyundai experiencing a 23% drop in the fourth quarter.
Vodafone hit pause on Huawei supplies. The British telecom giant cited political concerns for its decision to halt the installation (paywall) of Huawei equipment for core parts of its network as it expands its 4G service and rolls out 5G. Huawei’s chairman hit back this week (paywall) on US claims that the company’s tech is being used for spying by the Chinese government.
Indonesia’s floods claimed more victims. At least 59 people have died since flooding hit the island of Sulawesi, located east of Borneo. Rescuers are searching for more than two dozen who are still missing, prompting concerns the death toll could still go higher. Around 3,400 people were evacuated as heavy rain hit the island this week, bursting river banks.
Deadly protests continued in Sudan. Two more died in demonstrations that have rocked the capital Khartoum in recent weeks, as protesters call for the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir. Rights groups say more than 40 people have died in the largest protests to hit the African country in “living memory.”
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.
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 foldable next-gen prototypes.
Australia’s heatwave is killing horses. More than 90 horses perished at a dried-up waterhole in the outback, as temperatures hit 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 Russian board games 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.