Trump and Kim prepare, G7 melts down, Amazon shakes seltzer

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

A change in US visa policy targets Chinese nationals. The US is expected to limit Chinese graduate students working in high-tech fields to one-year visas. Other Chinese nationals working at specific US companies might also require special clearance from multiple agencies.

Angela Merkel meets with global economic organizations. The German chancellor sits down with World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and IMF director Christine Lagarde. Merkel has previously called for greater EU independence from the IMF and proposed a European Monetary Fund instead.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un limber up for their big meeting. The US and North Korean leaders arrived in Singapore on Sunday. They both sounded positive about the historic talks on Sentosa island tomorrow.

Over the weekend

The G7 summit ended on an acrimonious note. Trump retracted his support for the leaders’ joint communiqué after he left the summit, lashing out his allies, and singling out Canada’s Justin Trudeau in particular. French president Emmanuel Macron condemned Trump for his “fits of anger and throwaway remarks,” while German chancellor Angela Merkel called his actions “disappointing and depressing.” This photo pretty much summed up the prevailing mood.

Cryptocurrencies plunged on news of hacks and manipulation. South Korean crypto exchange Coinrail said it lost some $40 million in a hack on Sunday. In other bad news for the crypto world, US regulators launched an investigation over possible manipulation (paywall) in bitcoin futures markets. It is a sea of red on cryptocurrency dashboards today, with many coins dropping to multi-month lows.

Foxconn promised to investigate a factory making Amazon products. The world’s largest electronics contract-manufacturer said it will begin investigations after US-based China Labor Watch exposed harsh working conditions at a facility that produces Echo Dot speakers and Kindles.

China’s biggest battery maker had a powerful debut. Shares in Contemporary Amperex Technology soared on their first day of trading (paywall) in Shenzhen, after the company’s $2 billion IPO. The company counts the world’s biggest carmakers among its customers.

Swiss voters rejected a radical overhaul of banking. Over 75% of voters on Sunday rejected a “sovereign money” initiative that would have severely limited how banks operate. The referendum drew attention for its radical reconsideration of how money is created, in the home of some of the friendliest laws for finance firms in the world.

Quartz obsession interlude

Isabella Steger, Zheping Huang, and Max de Haldevang spoke with South Korean, Chinese, and American veterans of the Korean War. “Then young men, or even teens, Korean War veterans are now in their 80s and 90s—and they still don’t know how or when the war they fought nearly seven decades ago will officially end.” Read more here

Matters of debate

There’s a bigger AI threat than computers achieving consciousness. Rapid progress in lab-grown “mini brains” from human cells brings up huge ethical challenges.

Trump shouldn’t have cut a deal with ZTE. The agreement undermines US jobs and threatens national security.

Brexit and Trump are rejuvenating, not weakening, the EU. The bloc is reacting to outside challenges by drawing closer together.

Surprising discoveries

Colorado school nurses can administer pot to students. A new law lets them dispense marijuana with parental permission.

Eight hours of sleep a night isn’t enough. A sleep scientist says 8.5 hours is the right amount of time in bed.

New Zealand is breeding less flatulent sheep. They hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions one fart at a time.

Amazon’s next target is the seltzer market. Whole Foods is offering steep discounts on its 365-brand soda water to compete with LaCroix.

Instagram is reviving poetry. Poems, it seems, are just another form of shareable content for young Americans.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, lullabies, and fizzy water to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day, or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Jill Petzinger and edited by Jason Karaian.