UN sanctions vote, Irma weakens, cosmic cliffs of Dover

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The UK parliament votes on the Brexit withdrawal bill. The so-called Great Repeal Bill seeks to transpose EU laws into British legislation to provide continuity when the UK leaves the the EU. Opposition party Labour said it would vote against it, but Brexit minister David Davis warned this would cause a “chaotic exit.”

The UN Security Council votes on new North Korea sanctions. A ban on textile exports, worth over $750 million last year, is on the list of potential sanctions. An earlier version called for an oil embargo, but neither China nor Russia—both of whom have veto power as permanent council members—were thrilled with the idea.

Norway concludes a contested election. The two-day vote ending Monday pits prime minister Erna Solberg’s center-right party, which wants lower taxes, against an opposition center-left bloc that wants increased spending on public services. The winner will likely have to enter difficult coalition negotiations with smaller parties.

Over the weekend

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida. Irma, now downgraded to a Category 1 storm, hit the Florida Keys before veering west toward the uniquely vulnerable Tampa Bay area. Miami and the rest of the state experienced heavy rainfall and flooding, and nearly 4 million people were left without electricity. Flash flooding remains a threat.

China tried to slow the yuan’s appreciation. The People’s Bank of China scrapped a rule that made it more expensive for traders to buy the US dollar. Regulators are concerned about the steep climb of China’s currency versus the dollar in recent weeks, which has started to drag on China’s export growth.

Myanmar spurned a ceasefire offer by Rohingya rebels. The government said it would not make a deal with “terrorists” after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, the militant wing of the country’s repressed Muslim minority, announced a truce on Sunday. The United Nations said the targeting of Rohingya Muslims ”seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

A Brazilian meat tycoon surrendered to police. The head of the world’s largest meatpacking company JBS, Joesley Batista, was arrested after lawyers accidentally sent a tape to the prosecutor’s office incriminating him. In the recording, Batista appeared to admit that he hid key info from prosecutors in a corruption probe involving Brazilian president Michel Temer.

A make-up chat between Saudi Arabia and Qatar failed. A phone call between Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman went badly awry after the countries could not agree on how to characterize their conversation. Qatar claimed that US president Donald Trump set up the peace talks, which the Saudis denied before suspending negotiations.

China vowed to end fossil-fuel car sales. The world’s largest auto market is working on a timetable to end sales of vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel. The UK and France have set a deadline of 2040 to phase out fossil-fuel-powered cars.

Quartz obsession interlude

Abigail Gardner on “crate digging” through Africa’s pop music archives. “Crate digging is part and parcel of a compulsion to collect shaped by addiction… And it feeds into a DJ’s sub-cultural capital, whereby unknown African tracks bestow respect within a dance culture that has always fetishised obscurity and the ‘white label.’” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Ending terrorism is more complex now than ever before. The vast majority of terrorist groups in recent history were quashed or faded out, but ISIS and the Taliban in particular may be undefeatable.

By ignoring climate science, TV networks are missing an opportunity to tell a great story. In the recent spate of extreme climate events, only one of the three major US networks discussed climate change.

TV reporters need to go stand outside during a major storm. Viewers require visual proof of how dangerous something is to deter them from going outside and doing the same.

Surprising discoveries

The remains of a Viking warrior chief turned out to be female. The anonymous warrior was buried along with her weapons, horses, and a strategy board game.

Zoo Miami didn’t evacuate any animals ahead of Hurricane Irma. The stress of being moved alone can kill an animal, so the zoo kept animals safe indoors.

The cliffs of Dover are full of fossilized cosmic dust. It could provide information about the water content in comets and asteroids.

Tesla automatically upgraded the batteries of vehicles fleeing the hurricane in Florida. A software update gave Irma refugees a few dozen more miles per charge.

An observant nurse is the heroine of Viagra’s origin story. She noted that men in a heart drug study were embarrassed by its unexpected side effect.

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