US elections, Commons speaker, chemical Sanskrit

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Elections in the US. Voters will choose governors and state legislators, and weigh in on referendums in several states. The results, which could include a Democratic upset in Virginia’s Senate and governorships in Mississippi and Kentucky, will reflect voter confidence in Donald Trump’s administration.

Trump’s longtime adviser goes on trial. Roger Stone, a Republican consultant, has pleaded not guilty to charges of obstructing justice, intimidating a witness, and lying to Congress. He faces as much as 20 years in prison.

Bolivia’s opposition leader marches on La Paz. At a gathering of tens of thousands last night, Luis Fernando Camacho, a civic leader and key anti-government figure, called on protesters to “radicalize” the national strike. He also plans to head to the capital today with a resignation letter for president Evo Morales.

While you were sleeping

Lindsay Hoyle was elected Speaker of the UK House of Commons. He succeeds John Bercow, who stepped down last week after a decade in the position. Hoyle will now resign from the Labour party in order to be politically neutral in his new role.

The former US ambassador to Ukraine said she felt threatened by Trump. Marie Yovanovitch was “shocked” by a cryptic comment the president made about her in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, and remains fearful of retaliation, according to a transcript of testimony released yesterday by House impeachment investigators.

Turkey captured the sister of the slain leader of ISIS. A senior Turkish official said the little-known sibling of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a raid last month, was apprehended on a trailer container in northwestern Syria that she was living in with her family.

Uber lost $1.2 billion in the third quarter. It’s less than the $5.2 billion it lost in the previous quarter, but the news still sent its shares down as much as 5%. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company expects to be profitable by 2021. 

Xi Jinping touted China’s economic value. Delivering a keynote speech at the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai, the Chinese president called for “consultation and cooperation” to resolve global frictions. Separately, Xi said in a surprise meeting with Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam last night that he had a “high degree of trust” in her.

Quartz Membership

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Quartz Obsession

Swiss Army knives are made in Switzerland and yes, they’re standard issue for the Swiss military. They were first made in Germany though, and they didn’t always come with a corkscrew. The Quartz Obsession cuts to the chase.

Matters of Debate

Office romances are a bad idea. Just ask McDonald’s ousted CEO, who was removed over a consensual relationship with an employee.

Uber’s new safety features aren’t enough. The company’s toxic bro culture still permeates the gig economy it helped create.

Working less is good for productivity. Sales per employee jumped after Microsoft Japan tried out a four-day work week.

Surprising discoveries

The Italian town of Cammarata is giving away free houses. It’s part of the mayor’s plan to save his hometown from rapid depopulation.

The periodic table owes a debt to Sanskrit. The 19th century Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev used the ancient Indian language to name as yet undiscovered elements.

Cities are testing out delivery “nests.” The tiny hubs receive packages and are part of an effort to reduce pollution and congestion from e-commerce.

Movies can be archived forever on glass. Microsoft and Warner Bros. will store a copy of the original Superman on a glass disc that can last millennia.

Berlin banned fake US soldiers from Checkpoint Charlie. Actors dressed as Cold War troops reportedly bilked tourists for money at the historic border crossing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, free houses, and delivery nests to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Mary Hui and edited by Isabella Steger.