Climate bank, Gaza violence, PornHub propaganda

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Carla Ponsati turns herself in to Scottish police. The former Catalan education minister and professor at the University of St. Andrews is wanted in Spain on a charge of sedition for her role in Catalonia’s 2017 independence referendum. She has denied any wrongdoing and will fight the extradition request.

The European Investment Bank decides whether to be greener. The Luxembourg-based lender will vote on a proposal that would see it become a “climate bank” by ditching all fossil fuel lending from the end of 2020, including to natural gas projects. Member states are divided on the issue, and Germany is expected to abstain.

Germany releases its third quarter GDP figures. The economy is expected to have contracted 0.1% as it did in the previous quarter, which would leave the economy in recession for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell addresses Congress again, where he has hinted at a pause on any further rate reductions.

Japan’s emperor communes with the gods. In his last major accession rite, Naruhito will perform a secretive and expensive ritual to give thanks for Japan’s harvest in a $27 million shrine that will be demolished immediately afterward.

While you were sleeping

The UK’s Conservatives pledged to cut immigration. Home secretary Priti Patel said the Tories will end free movement from the EU on Jan. 1, 2021, should they win the December election and pass their Brexit deal by Jan. 31. The party plans to reduce overall immigration numbers, and use a points-based system to attract highly skilled professionals.

Australian universities will list overseas ties to combat foreign interference. Education minister Dan Tehan unveiled new guidelines that would see higher education institutions detail offshore research partners and financial donors, amid increasing threats of cyberattacks and influence, particularly from China.

The death toll from Israel-Gaza clashes surged. Palestinian officials said today that a family of six was killed in Israeli airstrikes, bringing the total number of deaths to 32 since both sides started exchanging fire on Tuesday (Nov. 12). There have been no Israeli deaths so far.

US impeachment hearings provided new details on Donald Trump’s Ukraine dealings. Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat in Kyiv, provided new details in his testimony about the US president’s active role in urging Ukraine to investigate his Democratic political rival Joe Biden in exchange for US military aid. Hearings will resume tomorrow.

Aung San Suu Kyi was named in a genocide lawsuit. Rohingya Muslims and Latin American human rights groups sued the Myanmar leader and several other officials in an Argentine court under the principle of “universal jurisdiction.” Gambia filed a suit against Myanmar in the United Nations’ highest court on Monday.

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Are monopolies inevitable in the digital era? As part of this week’s field guide on taming Big Tech, Quartz reporter Alison Griswold interviewed Matt Stoller, a leading expert on the history of antitrust in the US, about his book, his favorite corporate villain, and whether the tech giants’ power can be checked.

Quartz Obsession

The quiet growth of white noise is combating noise pollution. The public health crisis of sound pollution is creating demand for the white noise technology found in baby rooms, mobile apps, and even cars. But some question whether too much white noise crosses any red lines. Hear all the background chatter in the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of Debate

Artificial intelligence can’t create copyrighted material. As AI becomes increasingly advanced, its hand in creative works gets more complicated.

Europe needs another cultural revolution. Artists and creative figures can can save the continent from rising nationalism.

Tech shaming is ruining the outdoors. We shouldn’t feel guilty about using our gadgets in nature.

Surprising discoveries

A 2020 US election simulation ended in chaos. The imaginary 16-hour day left 32 dead and 200 injured.

Power lines could disrupt honeybees’ behavior. The busy buzzers might suffer neurological effects from being exposed to electromagnetic fields.

Wild hogs foiled an Italian drug ring. The animals dug up and destroyed €20,000 ($21,500) of cocaine.

China’s Hong Kong disinformation campaign has moved to PornHub. Resourceful propagandists upload videos that are unwelcome on Twitter and YouTube.

More than 2,000 birds turned up dead at India’s largest inland lake. And the cause of death is still unknown.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, drug-busting hogs, and simulated chaos to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Mary Hui and edited by Isabella Steger.