Trump vs NATO, Walmart revenues, PornHub propaganda

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Donald Trump hosts NATO’s chief. Jens Stoltenberg visits the White House to help the US president prepare for a key meeting in London next month. On the agenda is Europe’s defense spending and financial contributions, a frequent lament of Trump.

The Fed chairman addresses lawmakers, again. Jerome Powell testifies on the US economic outlook before the House Budget Committee. Yesterday, he hinted at a pause on any further interest rate cuts.

Walmart looks up. The world’s biggest retailer is expected to post a growth in revenue, as its shift to online sales continues to pay off. Meanwhile, Nvidia also reports, with strong sales in the gaming industry expected to give the chip giant a boost.

While you were sleeping

The US recognized Bolivia’s interim president. Jeanine Áñez declared herself leader on Tuesday (Nov. 12), after Evo Morales resigned days earlier and took exile in Mexico. Some consider his departure a coup by the country’s police and armed forces.

Major economies stalled. Germany posted 0.1% growth, narrowly avoiding a recession after last quarter’s contraction. Meanwhile, Japan saw growth slow to a near standstill amid plummeting exports.

The death toll in Gaza surged. According to Palestinian officials, a family of six was killed in Israeli airstrikes, bringing the total number of deaths to 32 since both sides started exchanging fire on Nov. 12, following a targeted killing in Gaza. There have been no Israeli deaths so far.

Hong Kong’s schools were shut down. The government decision, which includes universities, comes after protesters set up roadblocks to bring much of the city to a near standstill. A weekend curfew may or may not be announced today.

Daimler hit the brakes. The German automaker told investors its move towards electric vehicles would hurt profits in 2020 and 2021, news that caused its shares to drop more than 5%. The company in turn plans to cut more than $1 billion in employment costs by 2022.

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Should Big Tech be broken up? As part of this week’s field guide, Quartz’s economics reporter Allison Schrager argues that the size of the major companies isn’t necessarily a problem—instead, anti-competitive behavior, poor data privacy, and misinformation are where solutions must be found.

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.

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

The cable TV bundle is back. Consumers want all-in-one packages that make viewing more convenient.

Surprising discoveries

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

Rod Stewart likes models. OK, unsurprising. But the rock legend has spent 23 years completing a huge and intricate model of a US city and its railway.

Chinese propaganda is now on PornHub. Resourceful anti-Hong Kong activists are uploading videos that are unwelcome on Twitter and YouTube.

Motorola unveiled its new “razr.” The mid-2000s hit is back, in lower case, as an all-screen foldable phone.

Wild hogs foiled an Italian drug ring. The animals dug up and destroyed more than $20,000 of cocaine.

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 brought to you by Adam Rasmi and Hasit Shah.