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ZTE gets US waiver, Pompeo’s Pyongyang plight, Trump ecstasy pills

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What to watch for today

Iran pressures Europe to save the nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani will meet Austrian leaders, following his visit to Switzerland on Monday and Tuesday, as he continues to seek an agreement that can survive US opposition. Germany, France, and the UK are also searching for a way to keep the deal intact.

Mike Pompeo returns to North Korea. The US secretary of state prepares for a meeting in Pyongyang on Thursday in order to iron out details of a denuclearization agreement. Meanwhile, NBC News has reported that the country has continued to make fuel for nuclear weapons. Private satellite imagery also suggests it’s expanding test sites—not destroying them.

The US celebrates Independence Day. Americans will undoubtedly be grilling meats and lighting up the sky with fireworks. (Although tempting, it’s not wise to fly drones into pyrotechnics.) US markets will welcome the day off after investors struggled with a heatwave (paywall) which thwarted high-speed stock trading yesterday.

While you were sleeping

Donald Trump’s administration cleared ZTE to operate. The US Commerce Department granted the Chinese telecom giant a temporary license to resume business activities while it considers ending a seven-year ban. Military leaders and Republican lawmakers have opposed the White House’s stance.

Uber is in talks to snap up its Dubai-based rival. The ride-hailing app is reportedly in negotiations to buy a majority stake in Careem or purchase it outright, according to Bloomberg (paywall). The company is bigger than Uber in the Middle East and has a valuation of more than $1 billion.

The co-founder of the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has died. Wang Jian, 57, died from an injury caused by a fall during a business trip in France on July 3. HNA hit the headlines in April this year after an aggressive acquisition spree left it deeply in debt and it shed stakes in Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Hilton in the US.

Wall Street isn’t buying into Tesla’s production dash. About $5 billion was wiped off the electric car company’s market value over the past two days after Business Insider reported that CEO Elon Musk ordered employees to suspend a critical safety check to save time. Bank analysts warned that Tesla’s share price could fall even more steeply.

The ex-Malaysian prime minister was charged with corruption offenses. A court charged Najib Razak with one count of using his position for gratification and three counts of criminal breach of trust. Billions of dollars were allegedly embezzled from the 1MDB state fund while he was in power. He denies any wrongdoing.

Barnes and Noble’s CEO was fired without pay. Demos Parneros was sacked after less than a year in the job for “violations of the Company’s policies.” The bookseller didn’t divulge the details for why he became its fourth CEO to leave in five years, other than to say it wasn’t related to fraud or financial reporting.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Chelsea Catlett and Akshat Rathi on the aquatic nightmare with super-powered blood. “Virtually anyone who’s received an injection has benefited from the horseshoe crab. But can we break our addiction to their blood so that this ancient creature can survive another eon?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Penalty kicks carry too much weight in soccer. When low scoring is the norm, basing it all on one kick defeats the purpose of the game.

Asking an opinion is the only way to understand someone. Putting yourself in another person’s shoes only helps you see how you would react.

The #BoycottWalmart movement misses a crucial fact about Walmart. Like other companies, it doesn’t keep track of everything sold through its online marketplace.

Surprising discoveries

Trump-shaped ecstasy pills are popping up. Indiana police discovered orange tablets that feature the US president’s face and the words “great again.”

Extreme bitcoin mining will help Iceland diversify its economy. The country’s cheap energy is fueling a rise in data centers, which allows the nation to reap the financial rewards.

Japan’s World Cup team left a spotless locker room and a note. The card thanked the Russian hosts.

A British exam board was fined for confusing Capulets with Montagues. Regulators hit it with a penalty of £175,000 ($231,000) for mixing up Shakespeare’s feuding families.

A notorious Canadian killer wants you to swipe right. A Tinder-like service believes that if inmates can find love, they’ll reform more quickly.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, families in Verona, and heart-warming etiquette 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 Eshe Nelson and edited by Lianna Brinded.

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