Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Pope and Xi in the US, Volkswagen’s criminal probe, Stonehenge for sale

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What to watch for today

The pope lands in DC. Francis will meet personally with US president Barack Obama and congressional leaders before heading to New York City for two days, where he will lead a memorial service at the Sept. 11 memorial. During his visit, the pope is expected to address topics including criminal justice, climate change, and abortion.

Xi Jinping lands in Seattle. The Chinese president’s visit starts with meetings in Washington state, where he’ll be welcomed by tech and aerospace honchos. Xi then proceeds to the other Washington (D.C.) for a state dinner at the White House, and eventually to New York to give a speech at the UN.

A crucial Bank of America shareholder vote. CEO Brian Moynihan is vying to keep his dual role as chairman; investors voted against him holding the dual titles last year, but were overruled by the board. Proxy advisors and activist investors are actively lobbying for a “no” vote, and may oust other BofA board members if they are foiled again..

Carnival, ConAgra, and General Mills report earnings. The cruise giant is expected to fall short of expectations because of higher expenses and China’s economic slowdown. ConAgra and General Mills will also likely miss revenue estimates as they discard struggling food brands.

While you were sleeping

Apple is full-speed ahead with its electric car. The company plans to triple the size of its “Project Titan team to 1,800 people, according to the Wall Street Journal, and is aiming to finalize the car’s features sometime in 2019. The car will reportedly have some autonomous capabilities but will not be fully driverless.

The US launched a criminal probe of Volkswagen. The Justice Department is investigating whether the world’s largest automaker broke laws when it systematically cheated on air pollution tests, anonymous sources told Bloomberg. Volkswagen’s stock plunged on Monday and analysts speculated that the company may be due for a leadership shake-up.

France won the right to censor search results worldwide. The so-called “right to be forgotten”—which allows individuals to remove search engine results that contain their names—will be enforced globally, after the French data regulator dismissed an appeal from Google.

Russia started drone flights in Syria. Moscow’s first aerial military operations within Syria have begun, US officials said, in the form of drone surveillance missions. Russia has also positioned dozens of fighter jets and other military equipment in Syria, where it supports president Bashar al-Assad in the country’s nearly five-year-long civil war.

Kickstarter re-incorporated as a public benefit corporation. As a B-corp, the tech darling will be legally obligated to act for the public good. The site also won’t ever go public, which may diminish returns for its venture capital backers.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how US conservatives are using abortion to threaten a government shutdown. “If it’s September and Barack Obama is the US president, it means the spending bills necessary to keep the country’s government operating are being held up by symbolic ideological demand made by conservative lawmakers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

David Cameron’s “pig-gate” shows how the elite control each other. The cost of entry is participation in humiliating acts.

Pope Francis should stand up to Cuba. He needs to send a stronger message to the Castros about political liberty.

There is no such thing as having it all. Even flexible workplaces can be hard on working parents.

Donald Trump is saving democracy. Pointing out the US government’s shortcomings is the strongest bipartisan message of the 2016 campaign.

Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is supposed to be fat. But modern ideas about heroism have given him a crash diet.

Surprising discoveries

A man once bought Stonehenge for his wife. She was reportedly not pleased; Cecil Chubb gave it back to the public three years later.

The moon is shrinking. The culprit: the Earth’s tidal forces are causing the moon’s crust to buckle and contract.

US political mega-donors sound a lot like ’80s rock bands. Can you tell a Super PAC from a one-hit wonder?

Neuroscience has confirmed what Buddism always knew. The self isn’t constant, but ever-changing.

New York rats are getting ambitious. A rodent was filmed carrying an entire piece of pizza into the subway.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Super PAC band names, and grandiose marital gifts to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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