Obama meets Xi, bombshell Uber letter, super-spider silk

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Barack Obama sits down with Xi Jinping. The former US president is “looking forward to catching up with his former counterpart” on a swing through several summits in Asia and Europe. Obama will meet with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi later in the week.

Bali’s airport is closed another day by volcanic ash. Authorities say the closure will last through at least part of Wednesday as Mount Agung spews smoke and ash into flight paths. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled, and about 100,000 residents are under evacuation orders.

The EU decides on aircraft emission limits. The European Commission proposes that the European Aviation Safety Agency should have leeway to impose tougher limits, but EU member states lean towards protecting the interests of the aviation industry.

While you were sleeping

North Korea resumed ballistic missile tests. Undeterred by Donald Trump’s bluster, United Nations sanctions, and Chinese pressure, Kim Jong-un’s regime launched an intercontinental missile—its 20th test of the year—after a two-month pause. The exact trajectory has not been disclosed, but it landed within 200 miles of the Japanese coast.

A bombshell letter derailed the Uber-Waymo trial. US prosecutors shared a letter from a former Uber employee documenting the existence of a hush-hush unit charged with stealing trade secrets from competitors. The judge accused Uber of withholding evidence and delayed the trial in a billion-dollar lawsuit, filed by Waymo for the alleged theft of autonomous vehicle technology.

The owner of Arby’s bought Buffalo Wild Wings for $2.9 billion. The acquisition by private equity firm Roark Capital Group, which also owns Cinnabon, comes after the chain known for “Wings, Beer, Sports” lost a bruising proxy fight with an activist shareholder.

A rocket launch from Russia’s new spaceport failed. A Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket took off from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, but it failed to hit its target orbit or carry its cargo into space. The misfire, blamed on human error, is the latest in a series of mishaps that has raised doubts about Russia’s aging technology.

WeWork added Meetup to its rapidly growing roster. The coworking startup, which has $760 million in new funding and a $20 billion valuation, is buying a site known for bringing enthusiasts together offline. The deal, whose terms were not disclosed, comes on the heels of recent investments in a women-only social club and coding program The Flatiron School.

Quartz obsession interlude

Mike Murphy on why the Nintendo Switch is damn near perfect: “I’ve played with the console in just about every way possible. I’ve detached the controllers and played quick games of Mario Kart with friends. I’ve played on my TV, I’ve played in handheld mode, and I’ve played with it docked and flailed around with the controllers like I was playing on a Wii. There’s no other console on the market that has this level of flexibility, and it’s part of what makes the Switch unique.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The global offshore system means we can’t trust economic data. Funneling money into tax havens causes serious information distortion.

Who’s allowed to make money on the moon? Nation states agreed to only use celestial bodies for peaceful purposes, but there’s no process in place for ambitious entrepreneurs (paywall).

Financial indexes rule the world. The decision to include countries or companies in an index can redraw markets and sectors.

Surprising discoveries

Feeding spiders graphene can make super-strength webs. A solution that also contains carbon nanotubes could create “bionicomposites” in other animals as well.

Google can tell if somebody is peeping your phone. The company wants to introduce AI-powered “gaze-detection” functionality in Pixel smartphones.

German gamblers were using radioactive iodine to cheat at cards. Daubing Iodine-125 onto certain cards so an accomplice could spot them.

High-speed trains killed 100 reindeer in Norway last week. Owners of the country’s roving reindeer herds are angry that the railroad hasn’t installed fencing.

Big tobacco did the bare minimum for its US public health ads. The stark, court-mandated commercials feature bare text and a disenchanted robot.

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