Mass shooting aftermath, Hong Kong rallies, fake guac

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The US grapples with two mass shootings. Attacks in Ohio and Texas left nearly 30 people dead, brought the number of mass shootings in the US to 292 so far this year, and reignited a fierce political debate over gun control. President Trump, criticized for his initial response, has said he will give a statement on the shootings today.

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 Trump, will be sentenced today. Prosecutors are pushing for a life sentence.

Puerto Rico’s senate votes on 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.

Heathrow airport tries to ward off a strike. Negotiations over airport worker pay continued today in an attempt to prevent a walkout at the UK’s busiest airport tomorrow. Almost 200 flights had already been cancelled in anticipation of industrial action.

Over the weekend

Widespread protests continued 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. Police responded with tear gas in heavily residential areas, and chief executive Carrie Lam denounced the protesters—breaking her two-week radio silence—as seeking to stir up “a revolution.”

The US and South Korea began military drills. The annual military exercises, which reportedly kicked off today, have long angered Pyongyang. North Korea unilaterally suspended long-range and nuclear tests last year amid negotiations with the US, but has stepped up short-range missile tests ahead of today’s drills.

China’s yuan sank. Beijing allowed its currency to plunge to seven yuan against the dollar, its lowest level in more than a decade, and a sign it might use devaluation as a tool to counteract new tariffs announced by Trump last week on $300 billion in Chinese goods.

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.

Just Eat and broke bread. The two European food delivery businesses will join forces as Just Eat, in a £5 billion ($6 billion) merger deal. The move is intended to help ward off competition from rivals Deliveroo and Uber Eats, as well as smaller and more regional food delivery startups.

Russia cracked down on protesters, again. 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’s stamps feature Donald Trump. One shows the US president shaking hands with Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

US restaurants are resorting to fake guacamole. Soaring avocado prices are to blame for knockoff recipes which incorporate squash or other alien veggies.

A man successfully crossed the English Channel by hoverboard. Inventor Franky Zapata cruised the 21 miles to France in 20 minutes, but had to stop to refuel.

The Pentagon is testing mass-surveillance balloons over US states. Privacy advocates 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, Trump stamps, and beard-trimming kits to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Adam Rasmi and edited by Jackie Bischof.