Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Vladimir Putin travels to Rome. Russia’s president will meet with prime minister Giuseppe Conte and Pope Francis in a visit aimed at getting support for improved Russian ties with Europe, which imposed sanctions over the annexation of Crimea. But Italy may not be in a great position to lobby for it, Russia’s ambassador says.
Floods and mudslides threaten Japan. Authorities in the nation’s southwest have ordered over a million residents to evacuate as torrential rains looked set to continue, with a rainy front expected to hover over the Japanese archipelago through Saturday.
Trump holds a military parade for US Independence Day. The US president wants to show off the “most advanced Military anywhere,” and will look on as planes fly over Washington, DC and armored vehicles make an appearance. Critics says he’s making the traditionally nonpartisan holiday anything but.
US markets will be closed for Independence Day.
While you were sleeping
The UK summoned China’s ambassador. The British Foreign Office told the envoy his comments claiming Britain was backing lawbreakers in Hong Kong were unacceptable. UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt stressed support for Hong Kong and its freedoms on Monday, the day some protesters broke into the city’s legislature.
The US justice department reversed course on the census. After saying it would proceed with printing the 2020 census without a question about citizenship, the department said in the wake of a Trump tweet it would try to include the query in a way that would pass muster with the Supreme Court.
Alabama won’t prosecute a woman for the death of her fetus. Marshae Jones lost her five-month-old fetus after being shot in the stomach, and was indicted by a grand jury for manslaughter for intentionally causing the death by starting the fight. Prosecutors said they won’t pursue further legal action.
An Australian student who was detained in North Korea is safe. Alek Sigley, who was studying in Pyongyang and also ran a tour company, is in China, Australia’s leader said.
Canada sought to reassure China about its meat. Ottawa said it had proposed a way of tightening the export system. Last week China banned all Canadian meat over bogus certificates, as the fallout continues following the arrest of a Huawei executive in Vancouver last year.
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Will Slack change work before work changes Slack? To understand what’s ahead for the hugely popular workplace chat app, reporter Michael Coren profiles cofounder Stewart Butterfield, described by a colleague as having “an uncanny ability to predict what someone using a piece of software is going to think.”
One cord to rule them all. That drawer full of knotted cords from digital cameras you haven’t powered on in a decade, old iPods, and printers that mysteriously stopped working? The USB was designed to eliminate it, and to a large degree it’s succeeded. Untangle the history of the little port that could with the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of debate
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Nike undermined its own progressive efforts. Pulling a shoe featuring a historic iteration of the US flag only succeeded in further galvanizing Trump supporters.
Saving for college is outdated. Investing in the tech industry, which could conceivably download learning straight into our brains, is a better bet.
Don’t listen to barbecue purists. If you’re generously inviting friends to eat grilled food, you’ve earned the right to call the cooking method whatever you want.
Alitalia used blackface to depict Barack Obama. The Italian carrier defended the ad, which was used to promote a new route between Rome and Washington, DC.
A medieval chess set is closer to completion. One of its five lost figures, originally bought for £5 ($6) in 1964, just fetched £735,000 ($924,262) at auction.
An Arctic fox took the long route. The GPS-equipped animal walked over ice from Norway to Canada—3,506 km (2,176 miles) in 76 days—before her tracker stopped working.
Nicki Minaj will perform in Saudi Arabia. Skimpy costumes and a strong pro-gay stance go against the grain in the ultraconservative country.
Just a few more followers. If you have 30,000 or more fans on social media, you’re officially a celebrity, at least to the UK Advertising Standards Authority.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fleet foxes, and barbecue (or cookout) invites to firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Tripti Lahiri and edited by Isabella Steger.