Nervous GM, tuberculosis vaccine, Ed Sheeran

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

General Motors reports earnings. The US-based automaker is expected to show financial repercussions from a recent walkout lasting nearly six weeks. Slowing demand from its global markets is another concern, but GM expects its sales in China to rebound next year. 

Boris Johnson tries again for a December election. The British prime minister, who has accepted the EU’s  extension of Brexit to Jan. 31, 2020, is abandoning his withdrawal agreement and instead plans to table a bill that would allow him to secure an election this year. 

Congress grills Boeing’s CEO. Dennis Muilenburg will appear before a Senate committee investigating two deadly crashes that killed 346 people, the first time the company’s executives have been questioned by Congress. Today is the anniversary of the Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

While you were sleeping

BP profits slumped. The UK-based oil giant reported underlying replacement cost profit—a proxy for net profit—of $2.3 billion for the third quarter of 2019, compared to $3.8 billion for the same period a year earlier. The company said lower oil prices, maintenance costs, and a hurricane were to blame. 

Hong Kong’s leader gave a recession warning. Chief executive Carrie Lam said months of protest had hurt the economy to the extent that third quarter figures, to be released on Thursday, will likely show a technical recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. 

A new tuberculosis vaccine is coming. Unveiled in India, it has already cleared some clinical trial stages. The vaccine could revolutionize TB immunization because it appears to confer protection, and also boost some people’s existing immunity. It could be ready to roll out by 2028. 

Britain’s firefighters faced criticism over a building disaster. According to an official report, the fire service should have more quickly abandoned a strategy of telling residents to stay inside the burning Grenfell Tower fire in West London, in which 72 people died in 2017. 

Far-right EU lawmakers went to Indian-administered Kashmir. 27 politicians from 11 countries, mostly from anti-immigrant parties, are the first foreign visitors since India revoked the disputed region’s special status in August. There has been an internet blackout ever since the change.

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We eat too much meat. Or so we’re told. Meat substitutes have appeared, and their producers are already profitable. But the next step is in the laboratory. In the second part of this week’s field guide on the future of meat, Quartz reporter Chase Purdy investigates bioreactors, which are the biggest challenge for companies trying to produce lab-grown meat.

Quartz Obsession

Our daily relationship to the sun is encoded on the cellular level. Circadian rhythms tell our bodies when to calm down at night and when to wake up in the morning, and influence body temperature, blood pressure, and hormone levels. In modern life, though, work and school schedules are much more likely to set the tempo of our lives than the sun. The Quartz Obsession gets in sync.

Matters of Debate

Do kids need smartphones? More than half of all 11-year-olds in the US now have one.

Why is Google buying Fitbit? It says a lot about where wearables are heading.

Forest preschools should be taken with a grain of salt. The jury’s still out on the kind of outdoor activity early learners should experience.

Surprising discoveries

Prince couldn’t stand Ed Sheeran and Katy Perry.His unfinished memoir is released today. 

But Sheeran might not care. He’s apparently the richest young British celebrity, with an estimated fortune of $220 million.

Elizabeth Holmes caused a turtleneck shortage. The Theranos arch-scammer is a very popular Halloween costume inspiration, apparently.

Humanity’s ancestral home is in Botswana. A contested genetic analysis claims to pinpoint the origins of Homo sapiens.

Palladium is now the most precious metal. Demand has skyrocketed for the material, which is used in pollution-control devices.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, precious metal, and black turtlenecks to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Cassie Werber and Hasit Shah.