“Plan B” for Iran, Venezuela’s election, mayochup

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The US unveils its “Plan B” for countering Iran. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo will lay out a strategy for applying maximum pressure on the country, addressing not just nuclear but also terrorist threats. But with the EU still miffed about the Trump administration exiting the Iran nuclear deal, forming a unified coalition to apply such pressure might prove difficult.

Italy gets closer to having a new prime minister. The leaders of the League and the Five Star Movement, who agreed to form a coalition after months of talks, will meet with president Sergio Mattarella to discuss their planned government and who will lead it. Italian bonds and stocks fell last week on fears over their populist agenda.

Donald Trump hunts for impropriety in the counterintelligence investigation of his presidential campaign. He tweeted on Sunday he would instruct the justice department today to investigate whether the FBI “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign for political purposes, and whether the Obama administration was behind demands to do so.

Over the weekend

The US and China called a trade ceasefire. Officials in Washington reached an agreement with their Chinese counterparts on a framework for fair competition and protecting intellectual property, which they say will reduce the US’s $335 billion annual trade deficit with China. “We’re putting the trade war on hold,” US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

Nicolás Maduro “won” reelection in Venezuela. Opposition parties boycotted the election, which they said was rigged, a view backed by much of the international community. The government claimed a 46% voter turnout, but the opposition said it was more like 30%, with near-empty polling stations seen across the country.

A Japanese film won at the Cannes Film Festival. Shoplifters, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, was a surprise winner for the Palme d’Or. Spike Lee’s comedy BlacKkKlansman took home another prize, and actress Asia Argento accused some members of the audience of having “covered up” for disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, whom she claimed raped her.

Starbucks opened its bathrooms in the US for everyone. The decision comes after a Philadelphia store manager summoned police when two black men asked to use a bathroom. The company told employees that anyone who enters Starbucks—whether or not they buy something—is seen as a customer.

Millions watched two people get married. Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle were wed in Windsor, England in a ceremony that featured a black American preacher and a dress created by the British artistic director of French couture house Givenchy. Here’s everything you need to know to pretend you watched.

Quartz Obsession Interlude

Ephrat Livni on a controversial study that suggests octopuses are from outer space.

“But the paper is not just about the provenance of cephalopods. Its proposal that octopuses could be extraterrestrials is just a small part of a much more extensive discussion of a theory called ‘panspermia,’ which has its roots in the ideas of ancient Greece.”

Read more here


Get smarter in a minute

Are you keeping up with the day’s events? Quartz has a news quiz called Headlines that will test your knowledge—and fill in the blanks. Give it a try!

Matters of debate

France is one of the best investments out there. The Fifth Republic is undergoing reform (paywall) at the fastest rate ever.

Writing in a journal is good for you—and so is throwing it out. Very little writing withstands the test of time, and that’s fine.

You should never trust an on-stage tech demo. Pretty much of all them are faked in some way.

Surprising discoveries

Kerry James Marshall is the most expensive living African-American artist. Sean “Diddy” Combs bought one of his paintings for $21.1 million.

Prepare for “mayochup.” This is a mayonnaise-ketchup combination that Heinz is rolling out (paywall) to win the condiment wars.

Venezuela has its own version of The Onion. And it has been satirizing Nicolás Maduro’s reign to its millions of readers.

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is having UK visa problems. The Chelsea FC owner’s paperwork hassle comes amid increased diplomatic tensions between London and Moscow.

A US island has an average wage of $2.5 million a year. Along with places like Palo Alto, it is one of the country’s richest zip codes.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Kerry James Marshall paintings, and discarded journals to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Steve Mollman and edited by Isabella Steger.