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What to watch for today
Donald Trump visits Dayton and El Paso. In the wake of this past weekend’s mass shootings, which claimed a total of 31 lives, the US president will travel to the two cities in an attempt to offer messages of unity and healing. Dayton’s Democratic mayor said yesterday she was “disappointed” with Trump’s “unhelpful” comments on gun control.
US officials chat about Britain and China. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo hosts UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is likely to press the White House on the need for a quick post-Brexit trade deal. Meanwhile, US defense secretary Mark Esper is in Tokyo to urge Japan and South Korea to maintain their intelligence-sharing pact and focus on confronting China and North Korea.
Driverless shuttles arrive in New York City. Six electric autonomous vehicles operated by MIT spinoff Optimus Ride will transport passengers for free around a 1.1-mile loop on private roads in Brooklyn. Driverless cars are still a long way from hitting the city’s public roads.
Lyft reports second-quarter earnings. The ride-hail company is expected to meet revenue expectations but book another profitless quarter. Lyft has struggled since going public in March, with its stock trading nearly 20% below the $72 IPO price, a top executive departing in late July, and recent reports of its electric bikes catching fire in San Francisco.
While you were sleeping
New Zealand and India slashed interest rates. In an aggressive move that caught markets off guard, New Zealand’s central bank cut its benchmark policy rate by half a percentage point, to 1%, amid a cooling economy and increasing global trade tensions. Meanwhile, India’s central bank cut its benchmark rate by 35 basis points, to 5.4%, surprising economists who expected a quarter-point reduction.
Germany’s industrial output tanked. A sharp 1.5% drop in production triggered fears of a recession in Germany’s manufacturing sector. Europe’s biggest economy has suffered from Brexit uncertainty and an escalating trade dispute between China and the US, two crucial export destinations for German companies.
A US federal judge blocked Arkansas’s 18-week abortion ban. The judge said the restrictive ban would cause “irreparable” harm to women seeking abortions and implied it was unconstitutional. Arkansas is one of several states that have passed near-total abortion bans in the hopes of bringing the issue before the Supreme Court.
Toyota invested in live-in robots. The Japanese automaker announced a partnership with a Tokyo-based AI startup to develop robots that will learn to live in home environments. Toyota is looking to diversify its services away from traditional car manufacturing, which is being hit by reduced ownership, ride-hailing, and autonomous technologies.
Fiji announced an ambitious climate change act. Calling global warming “a fight for our lives,” the country unveiled a bill that includes tighter restrictions on plastics and a framework to cut the country’s emissions to net-zero by 2050.
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Living in a fast-moving, tech-addled world has made modern parents pros at multitasking. The challenge is that infants need space and time to explore without any goals or objectives. We continue our week-long dive into whether tech can make us better parents with a look at the crucial role of the caregiver.
“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Toni Morrison made that remark when she won the Nobel prize for literature in 1993. Join the Quartz Obsession in exploring just how big an impact Morrison made on the world.
Matters of debate
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Get rid of artificial grass. The multi-billion-dollar market in plastic grass is only green in color.
India is in danger of losing the upper hand. Its actions in Kashmir could dismantle its reputation as a responsible, nuclear-armed democracy.
Email might be less productive than in-person meetings. Just ask an expert in distributed systems research.
Staring down seagulls stops them from stealing your food. They find the human gaze terrifying, according to new research.
Tardigrades are stranded on the moon. The dehydrated water bears may have survived an Israeli spacecraft crash.
Drought unveiled an ancient Buddhist temple. Thousands are flocking to the parched area in Thailand to take in the rare sight.
Our brains aren’t cut out for long-term space travel. Low-level radiation exposure could impair the cognition of deep-space travelers.
Selfies could be the new blood pressure test. The rate at which light bounces off hemoglobin near the surface of the skin could make testing more accessible.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, parched water bears, and Toni Morrison tributes 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 by Alison Griswold and edited by Jackie Bischof.