Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Xi Jinping visits China and Portugal. The Chinese president is stopping in Europe to shore up trade relationships on his way to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. China’s Three Gorges Corp is pursuing an acquisition of Portuguese utility EDP and its Spanish renewable energy unit; Spain will also sign a deal to export its Iberian hams to China.
The EU targets zero net emissions by 2050. Climate chief Miguel Arias Cañete will unveil a plan laying out eight scenarios, including two that will achieve carbon neutrality. The EU is already on track to exceed its Paris Agreement targets, which would reduce emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2030.
The UK publishes its Brexit economic scenarios. The government said it would lay out projections for the economy, comparing the outcome on Theresa May’s plan for leaving the EU with what might happen if the UK remained a part of the union.
While you were sleeping
A bombshell report described secret meetings between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange. Donald Trump’s former campaign manager visited the WIkileaks founder in the Ecuadorian embassy three times, the Guardian reported. The most recent visit took place in 2016, the same month in which Manafort began working for Trump and Russia began hacking the Democratic Party. Wikileaks released the emails several months later.
Employees condemned Google’s plan to build a search engine in China. More than 100 workers signed an open letter calling for the cancellation of Project Dragonfly, the controversial search engine that hews to Beijing’s strict censorship policies: “”Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable,” they wrote.
The UN warned that carbon emissions are once again on the rise. A new report says that economic growth pushed greenhouse gas production up by 1.2% in 2017, after holding steady the previous two years. At the current pace, experts forecast a calamitous temperature rise of 3.2℃ by the end of the century.
Data from the Lion Air crash showed pilots struggling with a faulty plane. The New York Times reports an analysis of the black box flight recorder showed the Boeing 737’s nose was forced down (paywall), “apparently by an automatic system receiving incorrect sensor readings,” as pilots fought to keep the plane in the air.
International lawmakers laid into Facebook. Representatives from nine countries assailed the company’s inability to curb election interference, with one Canadian alleging that democratic institutions “have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg declined to attend the special international hearing in the British parliament.
Plaid: It’s hip to be square. Once a symbol of violent rebellion, it morphed into a signifier of diplomatic order and royal good taste. And that’s before 20th-century fashion designers got ahold of it. Read between the lines in today’s Quartz Obsession.
“Do consumers really care which parent company owns what brand they’re consuming? The meta game is to consume less factory-produced garbage food. That’s how you tear away at monopolies.”
—Jan Zheng, co-founder of Phage Directory, on America’s monopoly problem, in one chart
The fashion insider charged with upending the influencer economy: YouTube’s Derek Blasberg, the former CNN Style host once known as “The Gatsby of Instagram,” is trying to make the world’s largest video-sharing site a go-to destination for fashion brands: “Cash isn’t always the key to content … I’d much rather see an intimate moment shot selfie-style with a fascinating person than a boring video shot on a picturesque mountaintop.” Read Alexandra Mondalek’s exclusive interview.
A Siberian unicorn once lived among humans. The massive horned rhino was felled by climate change about 36,000 years ago.
Overworked South Koreans are relaxing in a fake prison. “Inmates” pay to withdraw from the world—and from contact with each other—in austere conditions.
A metal band frontman delivered history’s greatest break-up note. Witchrot’s Peter Turik said his guitarist’s carnal betrayal will keep the band’s “devastating, torturous music” alive.
Turkey is looking for onions. The government says the vegetable’s skyrocketing prices could be eased if stockpilers would release their allium hoards.
You can hire a babysitter for your ‘grams. A Swiss hotel will Instagram your vacation while you’re busy living it.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, non-torturous music, and outsourced FOMO to email@example.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by Susan Howson and Adam Pasick.