Hong Kong protests, Mueller report hearings, savvy fungi

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

A possible aerospace-defense merger. Raytheon (maker of Tomahawk missiles) and United Technologies’ aerospace unit are in late-stage talks for an all-stock “merger of equals,” reports the Wall Street Journal. Together they would form the second-largest aerospace-and-defense company by sales, after Boeing.

Japan takes on Argentina in the women’s World Cup. Japan’s team, which won in 2011 and placed second in 2015, returns with a young squad seeking another title, and a strong showing ahead of the Tokyo Olympics next year.

US House Democrats start hearings on the Mueller report. A procession of votes and hearings this week kicks off today with a House Judiciary Committee session on “presidential obstruction and other crimes.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi prefers a slow, methodical approach to investigating Donald Trump, rather than starting impeachment proceedings.

Kazakhstan’s presidential election results. There’s little doubt the winner will be former prime minister Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, handpicked by Nursultan Nazarbayev, who recently resigned as president following nearly 30 years in charge of the oil-rich nation. Protestors Sunday viewed the vote as undemocratic.

Over the weekend

Hong Kongers rallied against a proposed extradition law. Massive crowds thronged the streets Sunday in the biggest march since 2003, followed by a tense confrontation between police and protestors. The legislation being challenged would let suspects be extradited to mainland China for trial.

American Airlines extended cancellations from the 737 Max. The company said Sunday the grounded Boeing planes will disrupt travel longer than expected. Having originally taken them out of its schedule through Aug. 19, it has changed the date to Sept. 3.

G20 finance leaders worried about the US-China trade war. Meeting in Japan, they agreed that the dispute between the world’s two largest economies was intensifying and could lead to a global crisis. A key meeting between Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping takes place later this month.

A senior White House official sought to delay the Huawei restrictions. It’s too difficult for agencies and companies to quickly halt their business with the Chinese telecom giant, argued Russell T. Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, in a letter reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

A Moscow court put Ivan Golunov under house arrest. Police had detained the investigative journalist Thursday for alleged drug offenses, rattling Russia’s media community. His employer, Latvia-based news website Meduza, said Golunov’s persecution was due to his reporting on corruption.

The IAAF extended Russia’s track and field ban. The track world’s governing body reported on backsliding in the nation’s doping reforms. If Russia can’t convince regulators otherwise, its athletes will have to compete under a neutral flag during September’s IAAF World Championships in Qatar.

Quartz Obsession

A legendary psychological experiment about tyranny may have led us astray. The Stanford Prison Experiment pitted 24 students against each other as “prisoners” and “guards,” and spiraled into horrifying psychological abuse. Does authority turn people authoritarian? New criticisms of this foundational study say… well, it’s complicated. Roll call at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

Join the conversation with the new Quartz app!

Specializing is overrated. In today’s world the trick to excellence is being a bit of a dilettante.

Working around a huge problem beats trying to make it go away. Just ask the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Not washing your clothes is the next big thing. That’s what the startup Unbound Merino wants you to believe, anyway.

Surprising discoveries

Police in Tehran shut down nearly 550 cafes and restaurants. The eateries were apparently flouting “Islamic principles” by playing illegal music or otherwise permitting “debauchery.”

US special forces veterans are deploying to save coral reefs. They’re finding a new sense of purpose, and putting their expertise to use, with an organization called Force Blue.

China’s carmakers are sponsoring rocket launches. They claim the partnerships will pave the way for technological advances for their automobiles.

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia finally received a building permit. The still-unfinished church had been waiting for one for over 130 years.

Fungi savvily trade resources with plants. Researchers have observed them hoarding phosphorus to inflate the amount of carbon they get in return.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, unwashed clothing, and overrated psychological experiments to hi@qz.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by Steve Mollman and Kevin J. Delaney.