Trump hosts Orbán, Sweden revisits Assange, “Death Highway” business

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What to watch for today

The Trump administration gives details on more tariffs against China. It will explain plans for tariffs on an additional $300 billion of imports from China, after it hiked existing duties on $200 billion worth of them on Friday.

The White House welcomes Viktor Orbán. Hungary’s prime minister, a right-wing populist who has been held at arm’s length by most European leaders, could use his time with Trump as evidence that he hasn’t forced his country into isolation.

Slack gives an online presentation to prospective shareholders. The messaging-platform company is headed for a direct listing on the NYSE (paywall). It won’t raise capital in the deal, but it will let employees and current shareholders sell stock to the public.

Filipinos head to the polls. The congressional and local elections are seen as a referendum on the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, who has remained popular despite his controversial approach, including his brutal war on drugs. Duterte hopes to gain more senate allies as he pushes for the death penalty and other legislative goals.

Over the weekend

Mike Pompeo skipped Moscow for Brussels. The US secretary of state canceled a visit to Moscow today to convene with French, German, and UK officials to discuss Iran’s partial withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord, which the US pulled out of a year ago. Pompeo will meet as planned with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Sochi tomorrow.

Sweden reopened its case against Julian Assange. Prosecutors will resume a 2010 investigation into a rape allegation against the WikiLeaks founder, who was booted from the Ecuadorian embassy last month. UK courts are currently considering a US request for his extradition.  Meanwhile, whistleblower Chelsea Manning could land back in jail after declining again this weekend to testify about WikiLeaks and Assange.

The US defense secretary visited the Mexico border. Acting chief Patrick Shanahan met with officials and visited a migrant processing center as he seeks to develop policies that support president Donald Trump’s border positions. Shanahan approved $1.5 billion for the border wall on Friday, a day after Trump nominated him for the post on a permanent basis.

The ANC narrowly won South Africa’s elections. For the first time in its history, the ruling African National Congress fell below 60% in a general election, giving president Cyril Ramaphosa a weak mandate (paywall). The Economic Freedom Fighters, a radical-left party, enjoyed growing support.

Lithuania’s presidential race headed to a run-off. A banker-turned-politician and a former finance minister will face each other in a second round later this month. Prime minister Saulius Skvernelis said he plans to resign in July in light of only coming in third.

Gunmen opened fire on a Sunday mass in Burkina Faso. Six people including a priest were killed in the attack in the northern town of Dablo. The incident marks the third attack against churches in the west African country in five weeks.


Boeing. The American company’s place in global industry is almost unparalleled. But its rivalry with Airbus is where the story of the recently grounded 737 Max goes from being one about sensors and software, to one about competition, barriers to entry, and national ambition. We kick off our examination of how the company is navigating its current crisis with our state of play.

Quartz Obsession

Procrastination is the pause that does the opposite of refresh. So why do we do it? Fortunately, the list of reasons is small and pretty simple, and the number of potential solutions is pretty vast—from friends to virtual co-workers to timers to clever mind games. Just beware of procrastinating about bucket-list goals: The regret for those can be a lot worse than getting behind in your work. Get on it at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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Playgrounds should be a bit more dangerous. Engaging in risk teaches kids how to prevent injuries.

Watchmen can fill the void created by Game of Thrones ending. The upcoming HBO series also exists at the intersection of geekdom and mainstream culture.

Asian elephants should be used as rescue workers. The cooperative pachyderms excel at navigating the kind of chaotic terrains caused by climate change.

Surprising discoveries

The “America first” White House doesn’t buy American flowers. The Trump administration is sticking with foreign blooms, despite pleas from US growers.

Entrepreneurs are thriving along a west Texas “Death Highway.” Business is booming alongside one of the state’s most treacherous stretches of road, thanks to fracking.

Plant parents can now get a hand from machines. A new robot planter will automatically move itself to where the sun is shining.

Scientists have identified another form of dementia. Called LATE, it may occur in as many as 25% of adults over age 80.

Shakespeare’s works may have been authored by a female Italian contemporary. Elements of Emilia Bassano’s life are reflected in the plays and poems of history’s most famous, and elusive, writer.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, homegrown flowers, and robotic green thumbs 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 Jackie Bischof.