Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The seventh round of Syria peace talks kicks off. The UN-sponsored talks in Geneva are aimed at forming a transitional government and crafting counterterrorism strategies, but the previous six rounds have yielded little progress. The US-Russian brokered ceasefire in southwest Syria that began Sunday appears to be holding.
Amazon Prime Day is here. The e-commerce giant’s third annual sales bonanza starts at 9pm ET. Amazon has used the event to add Prime subscribers, who tend to be its most valuable customers. If you plan to shop, check out Quartz’s guide here.
The US reports consumer credit for May. In April, consumer borrowing saw its smallest increase in nearly six years, with the rise of $8.2 billion falling far below the expected $17 billion. Analysts expect a gain of around $13 billion in May.
Over the weekend
Donald Trump backtracked on his cybersecurity plan with Russia… Hours after the president tweeted about setting up a cybersecurity unit with Russia to prevent election hacking—and bipartisan ridicule ensued—he tweeted that he didn’t think it could happen. At G20 on Friday, Trump accepted Vladimir Putin’s word over US intelligence agencies’ on whether Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.
…And Trump’s son met a Russian promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr. said the 2016 encounter, where Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort were also present, took place weeks after his father secured the GOP nomination, reported the New York Times (paywall). The Kremlin-connected attorney reportedly offered damaging information on Clinton.
Elon Musk shared a glimpse of Tesla’s Model 3. The Tesla CEO tweeted images of the mass-market Model 3 after it came off the assembly line—this one will be owned by Musk, the first 30 customers will get theirs in July 28. The big reveal may distract investors from what’s going on in Hong Kong: Tesla sales fell to zero in April (paywall) from 2,939 the month before after a tax break for electric vehicles was scrapped.
Hundreds of thousands defied the Turkish president. A march that began in the capital Ankara on June 15 concluded in Istanbul 450km (280 miles) away on Sunday. Demonstrators protested Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s brutal crackdown after the failed military coup last year, demanding the release of jailed journalists and the restoration of an independent judiciary. Erdoğan accused the marchers of supporting terrorism.
Volkswagen knew cheating on emissions could cost it. A VW manager warned ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn and two other bosses that cheating on diesel emissions could cost up to $18.5 billion nearly one month before VW investors found out, according to Bild am Sonntag. VW admitted to having installed a “defeat device” to trick regulators about nitrous oxide emissions in September 2015.
Iraq’s prime minister claimed “victory” over ISIL in Mosul. Haider al-Abadi congratulated the armed forces for bringing an end to jihadist rule in Mosul, the city where ISIL declared its caliphate three years ago. Thousands of people have died and nearly 1 million have been displaced by the battle for the city.
Quartz obsession interlude
Ephrat Livni on dealing with information overload and “infobesity.” “Infobesity, a widespread problem, can be managed by balancing your diet. Try just reading an article without checking text messages or listening to music. Don’t multitask and don’t play a podcast while working. Think of your focus as a precious resource; protect it like a national forest.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The G20 is the closest thing we have to a world government. It’s theatrical, undemocratic, and nonbinding, but in an increasingly globalized world it’s also our best stage for addressing universal human challenges.
We think about the future of technology wrong. Many world-changing inventions—like toilet paper—are hiding in plain sight. We should pay more attention to them (paywall).
Men should worry about their biological clocks. Women have been the sole focus of declining fertility for too long, but old sperm can also be dangerous.
Gluten-free bread can’t be used for Holy Communion. The Vatican ruled that bread used in the Eucharist must have enough protein so additives aren’t needed. GMOs are OK, though.
Climate change may wipe out emperor penguins by 2100. All their habitats will be inhospitable by the end of the century.
Qatar’s crisis has messed up the helium supply chain. The nation produces 25% of the world’s supply, but Saudi Arabia and the UAE cut off a crucial delivery route.
Scientists made a battery-free cellphone. The prototype uses ambient power from radio signals and light to send its signal to a base station.
A $6.7 billion Silicon Valley real-estate project may be built on landfill. The complex would sit on top of 5.5 million tons (5 million metric tons) of municipal waste.
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