Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The NATO summit begins in London. With a banquet at Buckingham Palace tonight, and the main talks in Watford, near London tomorrow. But there are doubts about the health of the defense alliance at 70. US president Donald Trump got things going on Tuesday with criticism of France’s Emmanuel Macron for calling NATO “brain dead.”
The House intelligence committee votes on its impeachment report. It ends more than two months of inquiry by the panel into Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. House Republicans released their own report. “Great job!” Trump tweeted from London.
Elon Musk testifies in Los Angeles. A defamation suit was brought against the Tesla CEO by Vernon Unsworth, a British man who helped rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a Thai cave. Musk called him a “pedo guy.” Members of the jury will be excused from the trial if they hold strong views about billionaires.
While you were sleeping
The US threatened heavy tariffs on French goods. Duties on cheese, champagne, cosmetics and other products could reach 100%. The US says it’s retaliation for France’s new digital services tax on technology companies. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire promised a “strong” EU response.
North Korea threatened the US with a bad “Christmas gift.” A top official said that the US needs to find a new approach to denuclearization talks. Previous “gifts” from Pyongyang have included a short-range rocket test on Thanksgiving, and an intercontinental ballistic missile test on the Fourth of July two years ago.
Millions of 15-year-olds were tested around the world. The latest results of the OECD’s global standardized test on math, science, and reading were released. China and Singapore ranked top, again, and Estonia also stood out for its high scores. Finland had the most “efficient” education system, in terms of the time kids spend studying versus the test scores they achieve.
A California student accused TikTok of sending her data to China. Misty Hong filed a lawsuit against the video-sharing app, claiming it stored her personal information on Chinese servers. TikTok denies sending US user data to China. The app is being investigated by the US government over national security concerns.
Prince Andrew could be forced to testify in a US court. The lawyer for five women who have accused the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse said he would serve subpoenas to the British royal. On Monday night, Virginia Giuffre, who claims she was trafficked by Epstein to London, appeared in a BBC television interview.
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Matters of debate
Distracted walking should be made illegal. Pedestrians, their eyes fixed on the screens in their hands, are road safety hazards.
What’s wrong with manipulation? Human beings influence each other all the time.
Modern wars can’t be won. Today’s conflicts tend to become long drawn out endgames.
Only 9% of 15-year-olds can tell the difference between fact and opinion. Students often fail to pick up on “implicit cues pertaining to the content or source of the information.”
The Roger Federer silver coin has more value than one might have thought. Demand for the 20-franc coin caused the Swiss mint’s retail site to buckle.
Hong Kong is still a popular international destination. A new report found that months of political unrest hasn’t changed much—so far.
North Korea opened a new “socialist utopia” city. State media called Samjiyon, Kim Jong Un’s signature construction project, the “epitome of modern civilization.”
Ikea gave a Mars-like habitat a makeover. A designer redecorated a model research facility and now it looks like something in the catalog.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, TikTok videos, and Federer coins to email@example.com. 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 Luiz Romero and Rashmee Roshan Lall.