Trump goes on break, Democrats head to Iowa, Chernobyl vodka

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Donald Trump goes on holiday. The US president is facing intense criticism as he departs for his annual ten-day August vacation at his New Jersey golf course, including accusations of inciting an environment of hate in the wake of deadly mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso, and escalating the US-China trade war.

Russians take to the streets again... Activists are pressing ahead with more demonstrations in Moscow and 40 other cities in protest of Kremlin critics being disqualified from standing in local elections. Almost 3,000 demonstrators have been detained in recent rallies in Moscow alone so far.

…while Hong Kong gears up for more protests. Three days of planned demonstrations began at the city’s airport today, with four marches scheduled elsewhere over the weekend. Almost two dozen countries, including the US, have issued travel warnings for Hong Kong as protests enters their 10th week.

More than 2 million Muslims begin the hajj pilgrimage. Attending the annual five-day-long religious gathering in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia is required of every able Muslim at least once in their lifetime.

While you were sleeping

Democrats descend on Iowa. The state kicks off voting for the presidential nominees, making attending the 10-day Iowa State Fair, which began yesterday, a must for 2020 candidates. Former vice president Joe Biden and Montano governor Steve Bullock were the first to arrive.

US national intelligence got a shakeup. Trump announced on Twitter that Joseph Maguire, a US navy veteran, will step in as acting national intelligence director after chief Dan Coats retires and deputy chief Sue Gordon, who butted heads with Trump, steps down on Aug 15.

The UK economy shrank. Brexit uncertainty and a slowdown in global growth weighed on the world’s fifth-largest economy in the second quarter, resulting in its first fall in GDP in six-and-a-half years. UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused prime minister Boris Johnson of “anti-democratic abuse of power” for considering delaying a general election until after Brexit.

Huawei unveiled HarmonyOS. The new open-source operating system is set to launch later this year, and will work across a range of products, including smart phones and TVs. Its success is essential for the Chinese telecom giant in the wake of losing access to updates of Google’s Android operating system.

Uber stalled in after-hours trading. Stock in the world’s biggest ride-hailing company tumbled more than 10% after it reported its slowest-ever revenue growth. The company last week laid off hundreds of employees in its largest cutbacks since being founded in 2009.

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New parents and early childhood are a market ripe for disruption, as this week’s field guide showed. But what the tech sector offers in bravado and bold thinking, it often lacks in humility. As Quartz senior reporter Jenny Anderson, the guide’s author discovered, it’s a conundrum the entrepreneurs she interviewed are tackling with relish.

Quartz Obsession

Barneys is on the brink, again. The New York luxury retailer (don’t call it a department store!) just filed for bankruptcy, and has until Oct. 24 to find a buyer. Fashion companies’ trend towards direct sales has challenged its legendary status as a curator of cool, making it harder to deal with a massive rent increase on its flagship store. To get back to where it was, it’s going to have to get ahead of where fashion is now. Do some browsing at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

Join the conversation with the new Quartz app!

Solve your next problem using a logic tree. Visualizing the component parts of an issue can help make it easier to analyze.

People should be paid for their data. A blockchain-backed solution may address privacy concerns.

We should treat the internet like a utility. The digital divide only hinders social mobility.

Surprising discoveries

Even pets are getting teargassed in Hong Kong. The unprecedented barrage is affecting the health of residents and their furry loved ones.

Milk’s about to be a lot less sour. A shelf-life-quadrupling technique could be a game changer for areas hit by natural disaster.

Vodka made from Chernobyl-based grain isn’t radioactive. “Atomik” sales could capitalize on recent interest and help revitalize the region.

Rickshaws are going electric. India’s iconic street transporters are steering a green revolution.

The Beatles created a traffic nuisance. The iconic album cover made a hot mess of Abbey Road.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Beatles covers, and long-lasting milk 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.