Kashmir’s future, US-China tensions, salad frogs

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What to watch for today

The UK’s foreign secretary begins a North America tour. Dominic Raab sets off on his trip to Canada, Mexico, and the US in a bid to boost his country’s international trade ties with non-EU partners ahead of Brexit, following his visit to Bangkok last week to push for closer trade links with Southeast Asian countries.

China makes a statement on Hong Kong. The State Council will hold its second press conference in two weeks as the unrest enters its third month, and violence escalates between protesters and police. Beijing has thus far supported the Hong Kong government and the police.

Kashmir’s status is up in the air. Pakistan’s parliament will convene to discuss India’s bill that proposes reclassifying Jammu and Kashmir from a state to a union territory. The bill easily passed the Indian parliament, and could give the country more power over the region.

Disney’s earnings get superpowered. The entertainment giant is expected to post stellar results, following the huge successes of Avengers: Endgame, a new Star Wars theme park attraction, the 21st Century Fox acquisition, and its forthcoming streaming service, Disney+.

While you were sleeping

North Korea fired more missiles. It’s the fourth such launch in less than two weeks, according to South Korea’s military, and comes ahead of US-South Korean military exercises scheduled to begin next week. The two projectiles fired appeared to be short-range ballistic missiles, and were launched from the southwest of North Korea into the sea, according to South Korea.

The US designated China a currency manipulator… Trade tensions between the two countries reached a new high as Washington, for the first time since 1994, accused Beijing of manipulating the yuan to gain an unfair advantage in international trade. The move caused stocks in Asia to fall sharply on opening, extending yesterday’s declines, while US stock futures also dropped. The US Federal Reserve may now be forced to cut rates further to ease financial conditions.

…while China warned the US of “countermeasures” over missile plans. Beijing said it “will not stand idly by” if the US were to deploy intermediate-range, ground-based missiles in the Asia region. It also warned US allies, including Australia, Japan, and South Korea,  that it would “not serve [their] national security interest” if they allow the deployment of such weapons in their territory.

Donald Trump ordered the freezing of all Venezuelan government assets in the US. Washington’s latest move against president Nicolás Maduro is reportedly the first such action against a Western Hemisphere government in over 30 years, and is similar to sanctions imposed on North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Cuba. The US president decided to take the step “in light of the continued usurpation of power” by Maduro, according to the order.

R. Kelly was charged with prostitution involving a minor. The American R&B singer is accused of soliciting a girl under 18 after meeting her at a concert in Minneapolis. His lawyer dismissed the two felony charges as “absurd.” Kelly remains jailed in New York after pleading not guilty last week on several charges related to sexual abuse and illegal sexual activity. He is also charged separately in Chicago with engaging in child sexual abuse images.

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Can technology make us better parents? Quartz senior reporter Jenny Anderson, who has spent years writing about the science of learning, took a deep dive into the wave of entrepreneurs seeking to demystify early childhood for a potentially enormous global market: millennial moms and dads. All week, she’ll explain what we know helps children succeed, and offer a structured look at companies and initiatives targeting different aspects.

Quartz Obsession

Hate brainstorming meetings? You’re not alone. But here’s a thought: Your organization isn’t doing them right. The war-inspired method, which dates back to the 1940s, has been tried and criticized often over the years, and creatives have modified the approach in kind. Open your mind to the idea at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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Motherhood is a bad bargain. If countries want to raise birth rates, they should sweeten the deal for working women.

Ride hailing makes traffic worse. Uber and Lyft have “confessed” to this—as a way to promote congestion pricing policies.

Child leashes are a good solution to runaway kids. People are too quick to dismiss them as offensive.

Surprising discoveries

Google plans to use recycled material in all its hardware by 2022. The company also pledged to make its shipments carbon neutral by 2020.

Animals keep popping up in prepackaged salad bags. Most of the stowaways are frogs and toads, but alarmed customers have also found reptiles, rodents, birds, and even a bat.

A cooling system that doesn’t use electricity. The device shoots heat back into space, even in the middle of the day.

Finally, flying cars. Japanese electronics maker NEC unveiled a vehicle that can hover in the air for about a minute.

A device that detects the voice in your head.

The wearable tool can supposedly identify what you’re saying when you’re talking to yourself,

even if you’re silent


Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mind readers, and guilt-free air conditioning 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.