Iran tensions, Myanmar journalists, Westeros Starbucks

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Brexit negotiations start again. British prime minister Theresa May will resume talks with the opposition Labour party on striking a Brexit deal, but she is also reportedly preparing plans for a second referendum, in case the talks fail and parliament forces her to hold one.

More details on the White House’s Venezuela strategy. Vice president Mike Pence is expected to announce new incentives to the Venezuelan military to entice them to ditch president Nicolás Maduro, as the US recalibrates its strategy toward the country following a failure by opposition leader Juan Guaidó to oust Maduro last week.

Signatories to the Iran nuclear deal meet in Brussels. Representatives of the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, and Iran are attempting to keep the 2015 agreement alive (paywall), including finding ways to continue trading with Tehran, as the US ratchets up pressure on the country. President Hassan Rouhani reportedly plans to announce that Iran will cease complying with certain requirements of the accord tomorrow.

Google’s annual I/O showcase reveals new hardware. The company is expected to show off new devices that fold from Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola, along with an expanded smart-home line.

While you were sleeping

Two Reuters journalists in Myanmar were freed. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on a massacre of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar troops, were released after spending 511 days in a prison in Yangon. The two, sentenced to seven years for violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, were included in a presidential amnesty that covered over 6,000 other prisoners.

The US said it would raise tariffs on Chinese goods. US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said the new duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods would take effect at 12:01am ET on Friday, as he accused Beijing of backtracking on commitments to rewrite laws to address forced technology transfers. Chinese negotiators said they still planned to attend talks in the US this week.

Turkey ordered a do-over of the Istanbul mayoral election. Authorities called for a fresh contest to be held by June 23, after president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party lost the March elections. The opposition Republican People’s party, whose candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won the vote by a slim margin, called the decision a “plain dictatorship.”

China’s Starbucks competitor could raise up to $510 million in a US IPO. Luckin Coffee said in a filing (paywall) that it plans to sell shares at $15 to $17 each, as it sets its sights on overtaking Starbucks by number of stores in its home market. The Beijing-based start-up plans to open a store in China every 3.5 hours.


Ant Financial is what you get when you rebuild consumer finance for the digital age. The eight-year-old Alibaba spin-off now has ambitions that span the world. Find out more about the $150 billion fintech giant in our latest field guide. Plus, in a new episode of our members-only video series, Because China, we look at how the short-form video app TikTok is changing the way we find, listen to, and interact with music.

Quartz Obsession

The Met gala is going to be even campier than usual. The annual fashion extravaganza is going with the so-bad-it’s-good aesthetic made famous by Susan Sontag and John Waters, now embraced by designers like Balenciaga and stars like Lady Gaga. But for all its showiness, camp is a sophisticated, subtle concept. Take a peek at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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The morals of eating Silicon Valley-backed veggie burgers are messy. Turning lentils into a meat-like product is an industrialized and expensive process.

Financial advice shames women. Men are encouraged to take risks, while women are told to cut back on lattes.

Quakerism is risking disappearance. When a faith becomes so flexible (paywall) that even the existence of god is being debated, its purpose is hard to discern.

Surprising discoveries

Campbell’s soup changed tomato DNA. An attempt to genetically engineer a hardier fruit backfired, showing that gene editing can have unexpected consequences.

Netflix thinks torture is great TV. Contestants on the game show Flinch will face electrocution, dunkings in cold water, and more.

Japan could be drunk dry by rugby fans. As it prepares to host the World Cup, the country is getting a crash course in the beer-guzzling ways of the sport’s fans.

There’s apparently a Starbucks in Westeros. Game of Thrones fans were quick to notice an anachronistic coffee cup among drinking horns and goblets.

An ancient star collision gave us precious metals. The violent meetup of two neutron stars 4.6 billion years ago showered our solar system with gold, platinum, and plutonium.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, beer supplies, and tinned soup to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Isabella Steger and edited by Tripti Lahiri.