Lyft earnings, US-China trade, Westeros Starbucks

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

More details on the White House’s Venezuela strategy. Vice president Mike Pence is expected to announce new incentives to Venezuelan soldiers to entice them to ditch president Nicolás Maduro, as the US adjusts its strategy 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), as the US ratchets up pressure.

Brexit negotiations begin 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 hand.

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.

Lyft could use a lift. The ridesharing group will report its first earnings since its IPO, and turning a profit looks unlikely. The company’s stock has fallen sharply since listing, extending losses after rival Uber announced its own IPO, scheduled for later this week.

While you were sleeping

The US began returning $200 million in 1MDB funds to Malaysia. The Department of Justice sent back $57 million in the first installment of funds seized from Malaysia’s wayward state investment fund. About $4.5 billion was allegedly stolen from the fund, with former prime minister Najib Razak and some ex-Goldman Sachs’ bankers facing criminal charges.

US-China trade talks are back on. Vice premier Liu He confirmed he will head to the US for talks on Thursday, which seemed in doubt after US trade representative Robert Lighthizer announced higher tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, slated to take effect on Friday.

BMW stalled out. The German luxury automaker posted a 74% decline in profit from a year earlier, largely because it set aside more than $1 billion for a potential EU charge over allegations of collusion with Daimler and Volkswagen on emission-control technology.

China’s Starbucks rival could raise up to $510 million in an IPO. Luckin Coffee said in a filing (paywall) that it plans to sell shares to US investors, as it sets its sights on overtaking Starbucks in China. The Beijing-based startup plans to open a store in China every 3.5 hours.

Two Reuters journalists in Myanmar were freed. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the massacre of Rohingya Muslims, were released after spending 511 days in a prison in Yangon. Their release was part of a presidential amnesty that covered more than 6,000 prisoners.


Alipay is a Chinese mega app with more than 100 services rolled into one. In one of today’s membership exclusives, Echo Huang gives a tour of the all-encompassing app as part of our field guide on Alipay parent Ant Financial. Over in Private Key, Matthew De Silva looks at the wrinkles in pricing for cryptocurrencies in funds versus exchanges. And Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz investigates the growing strength of the immortality movement as it enters the mainstream.

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, ice baths, 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, surplus beer, 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 Adam Rasmi and edited by Jason Karaian.