Trump travel ban upheld, GE shrinks, robot dragons

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Republicans vote on an immigration compromise. The measure (paywall) aims to attract more support from moderate Republicans by including two new provisions: electronic immigration status checks for employees, and a reconfigured guest worker program that allows employers to hire more foreigners.

Silicon Valley discusses a crisis in privacy. Top officials from Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and other top firms will convene to talk about a way forward after the EU’s strict new rules and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to Axios.

A Japanese space probe has a date with an asteroid. The unmanned Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is on track to rendezvous with a half-mile long rock named Ryugu, after traveling two billion miles in four years. The probe will survey the asteroid and bring samples back by 2020, shedding light on the origin of the solar system and setting the stage for future asteroid mining.

While you were sleeping

The Supreme Court upheld Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban by a 5-4 margin. The top US court’s conservative justices overturned a lower court verdict, which found that a ban on visitors from five Muslim-majority countries—plus North Korea and some Venezuelans—was “squarely within the scope of presidential authority.” Liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor condemned Trump’s “unrelenting attack on the Muslim religion and its follow­ers.”

General Electric shrank even further. The company is spinning off or selling its healthcare, fuel, and transportation units to concentrate on aviation, power plants, and renewable energy. The moves will effectively demolish the 126-year-old conglomerate that was once America’s most valuable company, but investors cheered the news, sending GE stock up 8.7%.

Uber won an appeal to keep its London license—but only on probation. A judge overturned a ruling from the city’s taxi regulator that Uber was not “fit and proper” to operate due to ethical shortcomings, but granted only a 15-month license instead of the typical five years. ”The question comes down to whether uber can be trusted,” said judge Emma Abuthnot.

Canada is preparing quotas and tariffs on steel from China and other countries. Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the plans, said the government wants to prevent a glut of steel imports (paywall) from producers trying to avoid US tariffs. In addition to the US and China, Canada imports steel from South Korea, Brazil and Turkey; the EU is considering similar measures.

Dutch senators approved a partial burqa ban. The bill’s backers easily won the vote to ban “clothing that completely covers the face, or only shows the eyes, in educational institutions, on public transport, in government institutions and hospitals.” Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany have similar bans, highlighting Europe’s rising tension with its Muslim population.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Simon Chadwick on China’s record fan showing at the World Cup—despite not even qualifying: “[It] plays to a narrative now routinely associated with China’s increasingly affluent population: people who are keen to engage with the world’s biggest and best football tournament for the status it confers upon them, which they may also consume in conjunction with supporting a similarly status-laden national team or superstar.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US crackdown on sex workers will backfire. Banning legal brothels and escort websites puts vulnerable women at greater risk.

Law enforcement shouldn’t use facial recognition software. The technology infringes on individual rights and is susceptible to racial discrimination.

“Find your passion” is bad advice. Psychologists recommend seeking personal growth over waiting for sudden inspiration.

Surprising discoveries

Robot dragons are the new robot dogs. A serpentine, floating aircraft made of synced thrusters can fit in tight spaces and carry cargo.

Kids found a loaded gun at IKEA. An armed customer left his firearm on a showroom sofa, resulting in a gunshot but no injuries.

Amateurs “fixed” another piece of priceless art. A 500-year-old Spanish statue of St. George was either irretrievably damaged or majorly improved, depending on your taste.

California starfish are frantically breeding to survive. The sea stars have also developed protective genes to bounce back from a recent brush with extinction.

World Cup bathroom breaks nearly caused a plumbing crisis. Millions of simultaneous toilet flushes overloaded Japan’s system during the match against Colombia.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unimproved art, and randy starfish 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 Aisha Hassan, David Wexner, and Susan Howson, and edited by Adam Pasick.