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What to watch for today
Huawei goes 5G in the UK. The Mate 20 X 5G is the Chinese tech giant’s first commercially available 5G phone. Small hands need not apply—the device features a 7.2-inch OLED screen, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The jury’s still out, however, as to whether Huawei will be allowed to build Britain’s 5G network.
Iran nuclear deal participants meet in Vienna. Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China will join Iran in Vienna on Sunday in an attempt to salvage the 2015 Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Twitter and McDonald’s report earnings. Twitter’s stock has surged over 30% in 2019, and analysts are focused on the company’s mDAU (monetizable daily active users) this quarter, perhaps attracted to the platform by new content deals. McDonald’s is up around 20% so far this year, and some investors see it as a more “recession-proof” business than higher-end rivals like Starbucks.
Hong Kong stays in the streets. Police are objecting to this weekend’s protest after recent demonstrations turned violent. For their part, protesters are blaming police for Sunday’s violence, saying officers were too slow to respond to gangs.
While you were sleeping
Alphabet soared, Amazon stuttered, and Tesla crashed. Shares of Google parent Alphabet popped over 7% after crushing second-quarter expectations, while Amazon shares shed about 2% after reporting a slowdown in its cloud computing business. Meanwhile, Tesla lost its chief technology officer and a clear path to profitability all at once, so the stock gave up over 13%.
Paris sizzled. Much of Europe experienced new record high temperatures on Thursday, with the French capital topping out at 42.6°C (108.7°F). The deadly heat is expected to break over the weekend with rain and thunderstorms on their way to western and central Europe.
Spain failed to form a government. The caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has failed to gain the necessary simple majority in parliament to form a government with his only available coalition partner, the anti-austerity party Unidas Podemos. The negotiations reportedly hinge on ministerial appointments.
Plant-based eggs are coming to the drive-thru. Canada’s Tim Hortons is testing mung bean and turmeric-based JUST Egg (formerly known as Hampton Creek) at some locations. The fast-food chain also began serving plant-based Beyond Meat earlier this year.
The Boring Company got its first outside investment. Elon Musk’s other (other) company released enough stock to make $120 million from investors to put towards its tunnel-based transportation plans. Boring gathered $113 million from nontraditional fundraising efforts last year, like its infamous flamethrower.
Russia’s last royal family—and those who claim to be members of it—rules our imagination. For nearly a century after they were assassinated, the Romanovs have been subjects of the large and small screens—and the targets of impostors looking for wealth or glamour. Climb the family tree at the Quartz Obsession.
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You’re not imagining things—movies are less original than they used to be. Sequels, prequels, reboots, and remakes are all accounting for an ever-growing share of US box-office revenue. We take a look at how the Hollywood movie franchise has taken over the box office. Over at Private Key, reporter Matt De Silva looks at the odds that Facebook can launch its Libra cryptocurrency in the first half of 2020.
Matters of debate
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Small businesses don’t trust lending robots yet. Many entrepreneurs still like to talk about money matters face-to-face.
Fake house plants are superior to real ones. They’re low maintenance, and you won’t have to deal with them dying.
Even non-parents deserve parental leave. An open leave policy where anyone can take extended time off builds trust and prevents burnout.
The Booker Prize could go to one 1,000-page-long sentence. Ducks, Newburyport, by Lucy Ellmann, is either brilliant or torturous, depending on who you believe.
A busted body brokerage was a human chop shop nightmare. When the FBI raided the Biological Resource Center, they found parts stitched together (warning, this story is gruesome, to say the least).
India’s “no-girl” villages might not exist. Officials are investigating what they think may be faulty data collection in remote areas.
Sony made an in-shirt air conditioner. A rechargeable device slips into a pocket and cools the wearer for up to 90 minutes.
Tupac’s love letter to Madonna will find a new home. Bidding’s almost over for the letter, a hairbrush, and other personal items the pop star was unsuccessful in blocking from auction.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, celebrity junk, and 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 and edited by Max Lockie and Susan Howson.