SCO summit, G7 summit, 3D-printed houses

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What to watch for today and over the weekend

G7 countries convene in Quebec. Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the EU are expected to give US president Donald Trump a tense reception (paywall) on Friday after the latest tariff announcements. Trump himself would rather skip the summit entirely, says the Washington Post (paywall).

China releases trade data. Analysts expect the Friday announcement to show the country’s surplus to have reached $32.5 billion, up from $28.8 billion last month. Exports and imports have both shown expansion, reports the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

The SCO summit begins. Starting Saturday, Chinese president Xi Jinping will chair the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting in Qingdao—the first since India and Pakistan were admitted as member states. The attending countries are expected to finalize cooperation treaties.

While you were sleeping

The US eased sanctions on ZTE. The Chinese telecom giant will pay a $1 billion penalty for violating trade agreements, replace its executive board, and hire a US-approved compliance team. Many critics have accused Donald Trump of assisting China’s government to further his own international business interests.

Trump teased victory at the North Korea summit. As Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe looked on, the US president predicted “a terrific success or a modified success” (paywall) for his June 12 meeting with Kim Jong Un, claiming that his abandonment of the Iran deal showed the world that he means business.

Putin slammed the West and criticized the #MeToo movement. In his annual call-in Q&A show, the Russian president reiterated messaging that western countries are threatened by Russia’s strength and seek to hold the country back. Putin also spoke of US tariffs as Europe’s just deserts (paywall), and said sexual harassment cases should be handled in courts.

The gig economy may not be the future of work. In 2005, economists predicted that gigs would make up most of the jobs created in the next decade. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released numbers that showed the share of workers in “alternative” arrangements to have shrunk, not risen, from 10.9% in 2005 to 10.1%.

More evidence of life on Mars. NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered chemical compounds in soil samples and seasonal methane gas fluctuations in the planet’s atmosphere—both are often associated with life, although scientists don’t know where the material came from or how old it is.

Google won’t let its AI be used for “overall harm.” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai released a set of “concrete standards” pledging that Google’s research and software tools won’t be used in weapons development or illegal surveillance, after thousands of employees protested the use of Project Maven. Google will still work with the US military in other areas.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Max de Haldevang on how repressive Singapore is the perfect place for Trump and Kim to compare human rights records: “One is the leader of one of the world’s worst dictatorships. The other is pro-torture (paywall), calls the media ‘the enemy of the American people,’ and once dismissed the United Nations—which wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—as ‘just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.’” Read more here.

Matters of debate

America isn’t ready for Africa’s future. The world’s population will be 40% African by 2099, and the US has done nothing (paywall) to improve relationships with African nations or their communities.

Public companies need to abandon quarterly earnings. Companies forced to focus on short-term gains (paywall) sacrifice productivity, product cycles, and investor benefits.

It’s not weird to walk your cat. Not every feline likes a leash, but ones that do can become healthier, more confident, and closer with their owners.

Surprising discoveries

The Netherlands is printing houses. Dutch company Van Wijnen is solving a bricklayer shortage with the world’s first commercially-developed 3D-printed homes.

Antarctica has a plastics problem. Greenpeace found traces of man-made fibers used to make clothes, packaging, cookware, and pizza boxes.

Facebook has red flags for emojis. The company has a fully developed protocol for judging when seemingly innocent symbols are being used for hate speech.

Uzbeks are cheering for a World Cup referee. Beloved international icon Ravshan Irmatov has refereed more World Cup games than anyone else.

Fossil trails show the oldest animal tracks ever discovered. Southern China’s Wuhe County had extremely tiny ocean-dwellers walking on land roughly 550 million years ago.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, nice emojis, and tiny fossils to 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 and edited by McKinley Noble and Susan Howson.