Myanmar court ruling, Iran oil sanctions, tastier clothes

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Myanmar rules on jailed journalists. Reuters employees Wa Lone and Kyaw So—controversially sentenced to seven years in prison on espionage charges following their investigation into the 2017 murder of 10 Rohingya Muslims—will finally have their appeal heard by Myanmar’s highest court.

Big day for earnings. Coca-Cola, Verizon, and Procter & Gamble are expected to deliver solid results, while embattled social platforms Snap and Twitter could have less positive reports. Harley-Davidson and United Technologies will likely be hindered again by US tariffs, while the closure of Toys R Us is sure to drag on Hasbro.

China parades its navy. Although the 70th anniversary event won’t feature China’s first homemade aircraft carrier, several dozen aircraft and water vessels will be on the scene during the multinational exposition.

Mr. No goes to Moscow. North Korean defense minister No Kwang-chol will attend the 8th Moscow Conference on International Security, signaling that he may not travel with Kim Jong Un for the dictator’s upcoming summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

While you were sleeping

Democrats discussed the Mueller report. Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and House speaker Nancy Pelosi largely downplayed impeachment talks during a conference, despite several colleagues pushing for more aggressive action. Donald Trump continued to claim total exoneration throughout the day.

Egypt had a high turnout for its constitutional vote. The nation’s electoral commission is reporting substantial interest in the referendum, which will determine whether Abdel Fattah el-Sisi can extend his presidency to 2024, and run for a third term afterwards.

The US declared an end to Iran sanctions exemptions. Renewed pressure on the oil-rich OPEC member will largely pass the buck to fellow suppliers like UAE and Saudi Arabia, with the White House now fully leaning (paywall) on Turkey, Japan, China, India, and South Korea to help “bring Iran’s oil exports to zero.”

Halliburton said the worst should be over for oil fields. Stronger-than-expected quarterly results has the company projecting improved sales for the rest of the year—especially in North America—with high prices, healthy demand, more drilling output, and ongoing reduction of Iranian and Venezuelan resources.

The Trumps began a legal battle to keep their patriarch’s tax returns under wraps. A lawsuit filed in DC district court attempts to block the House Oversight Committee from subpoenaing accounting firm Mazars USA for eight years’ worth of Donald Trump’s information and business details. The Trump family also says it will take Mazars to court if it voluntarily turns over records.


The rise of gene readers. We dive into direct-to-consumer genetic-testing kits, a growing business which promises to enhance knowledge of our health and our heritage, but is based on less-than-stringent claims of efficacy and accuracy. And in the latest episode of our new members-only video series Because China, we look at Chinese students in America, the largest group of international students from any one country ever.

Quartz Obsession

Bricks: There’s more than meets the eye to the ubiquitous, rectangular building material. To an international fandom of enthusiasts, the 9,000-year-old technology can be a historical artifact or a piece of design inspiration. Explore the many layers of brick collecting in our Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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The media is dangerously quiet about climate change. The amount of coverage around the planet’s dire situation is not at all proportional to the severity of the threat.

Editing is the new coding. As the market becomes saturated with content-heavy platforms, the most promising careers are in storytelling.

There’s no such thing as work-life balance. Chinese tech billionaire Zhou Hongyi says being successful on the job and devoting time to family are mutually exclusive.

Surprising discoveries

Coffee bean prices sink to ground level. Technological farming advances have made the raw material cheaper (paywall), but coffee shops have yet to pass the savings along.

Pods putting on city airs. British artist Michael Pinsky created an immersive art installation that perfectly captures the look, feel, smell, and taste of specific smog-ridden cities.

Parkinson’s sufferers could walk again. A breakthrough treatment delivers electrical stimulation to spines, partially restoring mobility.

“Ashley” is an inordinately popular password. It was the highest-ranked name on a UK list of hacked passwords, despite being seldom used as a baby name anymore.

A new kind of clothing consumer. Polyester with an altered molecular structure (paywall) could be more enticing to microbes, and contribute less to plastic pollution.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hungry microbes, and city smells to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by and edited by Susan Howson and McKinley Noble.