Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Donald Trump holds a military parade for 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.
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.
Floods and mudslides threaten Japan. Authorities in the nation’s southwest have ordered over a million residents to evacuate as torrential rains look set to continue, with a storm front expected to hover over the Japanese archipelago through Saturday.
US markets will be closed for Independence Day. The S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq all closed at record highs in trading yesterday.
While you were sleeping
The Russian military submarine that caught fire earlier this week was nuclear powered. Vladimir Putin disclosed the news today, prompting the country’s defense minister to reassure him the reactor had been contained following the deadly accident.
The UK rebuked 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 citizens’ right to protest on the same day some demonstrators broke into the city’s legislature.
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.
The US exported rice to China. A private Chinese importer bought 40 metric tons from a California company, the first time the US has exported the grain to China, the world’s largest rice grower. The sale may have been a goodwill gesture to smooth over tensions in the US-China trade war.
California legislated free hair. The state passed a law to ban employers and school officials from discriminating against people based on their natural hair. Signed into law by governor Gavin Newsom, the act makes it illegal to enforce dress codes that would discriminate against afros, braids, and twists. New York City passed a similar measure (pdf) in February.
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This week, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde was nominated to take over at the European Central Bank, which would make her the first woman to run the euro-zone institution. A few days before the announcement, she spoke with Quartz editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney for a members-only video interview about leadership, in which she noted that “when it’s bad, you call women to the rescue.”
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 rightwing critics.
Saving for college is outdated. Investing in technology, 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 airline 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 $6 in 1964, just fetched more than $900,000 at auction.
Nicki Minaj will perform in Saudi Arabia. Skimpy costumes and a strong pro-gay stance go against the grain in the ultraconservative kingdom.
A new threshold for fame. If you have 30,000 or more fans on social media, you’re officially a celebrity, according to the UK Advertising Standards Authority.
“God Bless America” is a money-maker. In 1940, composer Irving Berlin established a fund to channel royalties from the patriotic song, and a few others, to the Boy Scouts’ and Girl Scouts’ Greater New York councils. Since 2001, it’s given each council more than $2.5 million.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, patriotic ditties, and BBQ tips to email@example.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Jenny Anderson and edited by Jason Karaian.