Self-driving car vote, Hurricane Irma makes landfall, drive-thru funerals

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The US House of Representatives votes on self-driving cars. Lawmakers will vote on a bill that would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 self-driving cars without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year. This figure will rise to 100,000 vehicles annually over three years.

Narendra Modi visits Myanmar. The Indian prime minister is set to discuss the plight of the Rohingya people who are fleeing Myanmar (paywall), after the Indian government said it plans to deport the 40,000 or so refugees who are taking refuge in India.

The latest US trade deficit figures. The Commerce Department publishes its international trade report for July today. Demand for American exports narrowed the trade gap in June, and economists predict the July trade deficit was $44.6 billion.

While you were sleeping

Hurricane Irma battered the Caribbean. The Category 5 storm, one of the most powerful ever to form in the open Atlantic, lashed the islands of Barbuda and Antigua with 185 mph winds and heavy rain. It’s heading for Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Haiti, and could hit Florida over the weekend.

Scandal-hit Bell Pottinger put itself up for sale. The British PR firm has lost major clients, including HSBC bank and luxury goods company Richemont, since it was kicked off a trade body for stirring racial divisions in South Africa.

Aung San Suu Kyi broke her silence on the Rohingya crisis. Myanmar’s de-facto leader, who was slammed for not commenting on the 123,000 Rohingya people who’ve been forced to flee the county, said the news was “misinformation” promoting the interests of terrorists. The Nobel laureate also said her government had “already started defending” the people of Rakhine state, where the Rohingya live.

The second round of NAFTA talks wrapped up in Mexico City. Trade representatives from Mexico, Canada, and the US said they made minor progress on issues including digital commerce and small businesses. More complex issues like the US trade deficit will be discussed in the next round of talks.

Nissan unveiled a longer-range Leaf. The updated electric vehicle (paywall) will be able to run 150 miles on one charge, compared to 220 miles for Tesla’s Model 3, and 238 miles for the Chevrolet Bolt. The car will go on sale in Japan early next month for about $29,000, and in the US and Europe in January.

Toshiba’s new factory plans cheered investors. The company’s announcement that it would build a new chip factory (paywall) in northern Japan next year boosted its share price by almost 5% in Tokyo. It also said the long-running wrangle over the sale of its memory chip business could be nearing an end.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zheping Huang on professional female gamers in China. “Now, female pro gamers are able to earn monthly salaries of $3,000, double the amount a fresh college graduate can earn in finance in China. But their lives are grueling, involving hours of training at a computer and a daily battle against skeptics who dub female players ‘vases’—implying they have good looks but not good skills.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The world makes too much bread. An estimated one-third of US bread goes to waste, and surplus factory output is killing small bakeries in Europe.

Germany’s politics are boring in a good way. The lack of drama suggests that the country’s prosperity is in little danger from political malpractice.

Holding DREAMers hostage to get the wall funded was part of the White House’s plan all along. Donald Trump and the administration have “made it clear that they see DREAMers and DACA as bargaining chips.”

Surprising discoveries

Drive-thru funeral service is now available in Japan. Elderly attendees can pay their respects without leaving their cars.

A mid-size cruise ship emits as much daily particulate matter as a million cars. A report says the world’s cruise lines have done nothing to reduce their pollution over the past year.

Science can prove why Freddie Mercury was so great. The key to the Queen singer’s voice lies in the frequency of his vibrato.

Cars are still designed using clay. Every major carmaker uses sculptors alongside sophisticated software.

The tiny fraction of studies that deny climate change are flawed. Scientists that replicated the research found biases and errors.

Correction: Yesterday’s Daily Brief stated that the New York Daily News was sold to Tronc for nothing; it was in fact sold for $1. 

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