Heathrow talks, Hong Kong strike, fake guac

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Heathrow airport workers continue union talks with management. Plans for a strike today were called off to allow negotiations over pay to continue in an attempt to prevent a walkout at the UK’s busiest airport tomorrow. Almost 200 flights had been cancelled ahead of the industrial action, but some airlines have reinstated them.

Boris Johnson announces an extra £1.8 billion for health care. The UK prime minister travels to Lincolnshire, one of the most pro-Brexit areas in the country, to detail how the $2.2 billion will be spent on infrastructure and equipment for the National Health Service.

Puerto Rico’s senate votes on the nomination of a new governor. Public hearings will be held to decide whether to confirm the appointment of former congressman Pedro Pierluisi as secretary of state, an office next in line to the governorship. He was sworn in as the new governor on Friday after Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation.

The convicted US mail bomber is sentenced. Cesar Sayoc, who last year mailed 16 pipe bombs to 13 targets including top Democrats and other high-profile critics of president Donald Trump, will be sentenced today. Prosecutors are pushing for a life sentence.

Over the weekend

Widespread protests in Hong Kong. In a ninth weekend of rallies and in a lead-up to today’s general strike, demonstrators staged guerilla protests across the city, as police responded with tear gas in heavily residential areas. Addressing the media for the first time in two weeks, chief executive Carrie Lam denounced radical protesters for seeking to stir up a revolution. There were major disruptions to traffic today as train lines were paralyzed, traffic lights disabled, and over 230 flights cancelled.

The CEO of HSBC resigned unexpectedly. John Flint will be replaced in the interim by Noel Quinn, head of the company’s global commercial banking unit, as the bank cited a “challenging global environment.” Its first-half financial results for 2019, announced ahead of schedule, showed a 15.9% rise in pre-tax profits.

China’s yuan sank below seven against the US dollar. Sliding to its weakest elvel in more than a decade as trade war tensions continue to escalate, the Chinese government allowed its currency to plunge in response to Trump’s latest tariff threat.

The US endured two mass shootings. One gunman killed at least nine people and injured 16 more in Dayton, Ohio yesterday, while another murdered 20 and injured dozens of others in El Paso, Texas, a day earlier. That brought the number of mass shootings in the US to 292 so far this year.

A massive blackout struck Jakarta. The Indonesian capital and other parts of Java lost electricity—in some cases for over eight hours—due to power-plant glitches that affected tens of millions of people. The outage disrupted traffic lights, ATMs, cellular services, and much else.

Russia cracked down on protesters again. In Moscow police detained over 1,000 demonstrators calling for free elections, in a scene similar to the week before. Opposition activists vowed to hold rallies again next weekend.

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Matters of debate

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The Perseid meteor shower is best viewed without gadgets. Ditch the telescope and binoculars and just look up.

Electric scooters aren’t that eco-friendly. Manufacturing, transporting, and maintaining them produces plenty of emissions.

Newsrooms should look beyond elite schools for interns. Journalism suffers without diversity.

Surprising discoveries

North Korea features Donald Trump on its stamps. One shows the US president shaking hands with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

US restaurants are resorting to fake guacamole. The phony stuff incorporates squash or other alien veggies, with soaring avocado prices to blame.

An Iranian metal duo avoided jail by fleeing to Norway. Their “anti-regime lyrics” did not sit well with a judge in Tehran.

The Pentagon is testing mass-surveillance balloons over US states. Privacy advocates are none too pleased and warn that all kinds of data are likely being collected.

A growing love of beards forced Gillette to shave off $8 billion. Men are ditching razors and it isn’t good for business.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Iranian metal music, and beard-trimming kits to hi@qz.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Mary Hui and edited by Isabella Steger.