Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Aramco’s shares start changing hands. The oil giant will debut as the largest listed company with one of the lowest percentages—only 1.5%—of available stock, as the Saudi state keeps a tight hold of its crown jewel. By comparison, Apple, the second-biggest listed firm, has a free float of 88%.
Europe announces its “green deal.” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen is supposed to lay out an ambitious timeline for Europe to become carbon-neutral, a plan that members of the European Parliament will then debate.
France details its pension reforms. Despite days of mass protests and strikes, the country plans to go ahead with controversial plans to reduce the state’s social-security burden, reforms that president Emmanuel Macron pledged as part of his election campaign.
India’s controversial citizenship bill heads to the upper house. The Hindu nationalist government believes it can secure final passage of the bill, which makes religion a condition of naturalization for some immigrants. Critics warn the bill is another effort to diminish the rights of Muslims in the country.
While you were sleeping
Bougainville voted for independence from Papua New Guinea. About 98% of voters in the remote island group said they want their own nation, but the result is not binding and the final say will rest with the Papua New Guinea parliament. Long negotiations lie ahead.
The World Trade Organization’s appeals court shut down. The US has been blocking the appointment of judges to the WTO’s appellate body, its main forum for settling trade disputes. After two judges retired yesterday, it has only one remaining judge and can no longer hear disputes.
International experts exited Hong Kong’s police inquiry. The foreign advisers said the police department’s internal watchdog lacked sufficient power to probe complaints against the police, and backed widespread public demands for an independent inquiry.
The US grounded Saudi military trainees. The Pentagon announced it will halt any training outside the classroom for Saudi military students in the wake of an an attack by a Saudi Air Force pilot who shot and killed three people on a base in Florida.
Sign up for your free membership trial.
Is Ant Financial still worth $150 billion? It’s been more than a year since the Chinese giant became the world’s most valuable fintech, its valuation double that of Goldman Sachs. But a lot has changed since then. The China-US trade war has escalated and tariffs worth more than $600 billion have been slapped on goods. It’s a difficult environment, even for a company like Ant. Jane Li finds out how it’s doing in this week’s field guide, which looks beyond the fintech hype.
You have thoughts and feelings, and you’re aware those around you do, too. That’s called the theory of mind, a fascinating concept in philosophy that has spanned centuries. Now it’s part of a discussion on whether only humans possess it. Recent research says animals might; but can machines develop the abilities within theory of mind? Ponder it all over at the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of debate
Video games are a new form of literature. Creators employ literary elements to create rich virtual worlds we want to stay in.
Private companies should stop bankrolling the public good. Public-private partnerships often just mask or distract from corporate bad behavior.
Constant contact with our friends is bad for friendship. The distraction of an emoji-laden text makes it hard to truly connect in person.
Berliners wanted their zoo to name its panda babies “Hong” and “Kong.” But the proposed tribute to the Chinese territory was rejected.
Pakistan is finally playing a Test cricket match at home. After a terror attack in 2009, the United Arab Emirates has hosted Pakistan’s “home” matches.
Calcutta was once an anti-pollution pioneer. A century ago, its air was “cleaner than any major European industrial city.”
Apple’s top-flight computer costs more than a BMW. The newly released Mac Pro can cost over $50,000 with all its optional bells and whistles.
December is prime time for investigative reporting. Publications slip in bombshell stories ahead of the Pulitzer submission deadline.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cricket tickets, and investigative tips 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 written by Tripti Lahiri and edited by Isabella Steger.