EU enlargement talks, Mattis in Beijing, reinvented wheels

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

EU enlargement talks in Luxembourg. Ahead of this week’s European Council summit, ministers will hash out whether membership talks should be granted to Albania and Macedonia. The latter is hopeful after it ended a name dispute with Greece, which like all EU members has veto power over the accession process.

Uber gets a London verdict. The ride-sharing company is challenging a decision by Transport for London that it is unfit to run a taxi service. The regulator cited the company’s delays in reporting criminal offenses and conducting driver background checks.

James Mattis meets military leaders in China. The US defense secretary is on his first visit to Beijing as he seeks China’s support for nuclear talks with North Korea. His Asia trip, which includes stops in South Korea and Japan, will test his strained relationship with Donald Trump.

Narendra Modi kicks off a meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. India’s prime minister will inaugurate the third annual gathering of the AIIB, an 86-country group seen as a Chinese counterweight to the US-led World Bank. Held in Mumbai, this year’s event will focus on infrastructure financing.

While you were sleeping

Trump’s trade policies burned Harley-Davidson… The motorcycle manufacturer said it stands to lose as much as $100 million a year due to retaliatory EU tariffs, and announced plans to move the production of some bikes overseas. In February, Trump famously thanked the Wisconsin-based company for “building things in America.”

… And stocks went on a rollercoaster ride. US shares dipped to their lowest point in two months following Trump’s threats of protectionism. The S&P 500 fell more than 2% before rebounding slightly after US trade advisor Peter Navarro said there were no plans to restrict foreign investment in the US.

North Korea’s denuclearization will have no timeline. Instead the Trump administration will regularly assess the ruling regime’s seriousness about abandoning its nuclear program, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told CNN. Previously he said he wanted to see full denuclearization before the end of Trump’s first term in 2020.

The US approved its first marijuana-derived medicine. GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex, a treatment for two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration, though law enforcement could still place restrictions on the product. The drug’s active ingredient is cannabidiol, which unlike THC does not get users high.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Annabelle Timsit on the surprising history of the “disaster baby boom” legend. “As the legends go, major natural disasters and other events that keep people indoors are followed by increased births. That’s why we also have ‘blizzard babies,’ and ‘blackout babies.’ Washington DC even has its own spin: furlough fertility, for what happens when the federal government shuts down, giving federal workers nothing but time—which some apparently use to procreate.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

America’s opioid crisis is not China’s fault. The epidemic is driven by demand, not foreign supply.

To help poor young women stay healthy, try giving them cash. Financial independence empowers better decisions.

US migrants are entitled to due process. Despite Trump’s tweets, it’s a long-established right under an 1896 Supreme Court ruling.

Surprising discoveries

A rat moved into an Indian ATM and never moved out. Technicians opened up the machine to find 1.2 million rupees ($17,596) shredded by the deceased rodent.

Buzz Aldrin is suing his family for “elder exploitation.” The second man to walk on the moon wants to keep control over his finances and legacy.

Images of the Australasian cockatoo were found on a 13th-century Vatican manuscript. The discovery has historians rethinking medieval trade routes.

The Pentagon’s research arm reinvented the wheel. DARPA designed Humvee treads that can transform from circles into triangular tracks on the fly.

Saudi Arabian female drivers could create an economic boom. Having women behind the wheel could add $90 billion to the economy by 2030.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cockatoos, and angry astronauts 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 by Steve Mollman and edited by Isabella Steger.