Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
The Kashmir crisis heads to the UN. The United Nations Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting on the violent tensions in Kashmir later today. The consultations come at the request of the Chinese delegation after Pakistan claimed multiple fatalities in cross-border fire, a claim that India denies.
New rules for protecting wildlife. The UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) kicks off its triennial meeting in Geneva on Saturday. This year’s conference focuses on strengthening wildlife trade rules with an agenda that focuses on rhinos, rosewood, eels, sharks, “big cats,” and more.
The corruption trial for Sudan’s deposed leader begins. The proceedings are scheduled to begin on Saturday, the same day that military rulers and protest leaders will sign a landmark transition accord that’s meant to pave the way for civilian rule.
Gotta catch ‘em all. The invitation-only 2019 Pokémon World Championship event takes place this weekend in Washington DC. The very best trainer walks away with a cool $25,000—a far cry from last month’s Fortnite World Cup purse of $3 million.
While you were sleeping
Hong Kong diplomacy became disjointed. President Trump tweeted that China’s president Xi Jinping should personally meet with Hong Kong protestors to bring about an “enlightened ending” to the demonstrations. Meanwhile, Beijing’s ambassador to the UK delivered a pointed threat to pro-democracy protestors, saying that China has “enough power to swiftly quell unrest.”
Israel barred US congresswomen. The nation’s government denied entry to Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, both of whom are Muslim and members of the progressive Democrats’ “Squad.” Both women have expressed criticism of Israeli policies and support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Big retail is just getting bigger. Walmart stock popped 6% after reporting a huge quarterly increase in online sales. CEO Doug McMillon also called for a “debate” on the reauthorization of an assault-weapons ban after two recent mass shootings took place in and around the company’s stores. Alibaba, too, crushed earnings and announced plans to buy rival Chinese shopping site Koala for $2 billion, sending the stock up 3%.
Grace 1 is free to set sail. The British territory of Gibraltar approved the release of the Iranian supertanker Grace 1 against down-to-the-wire US efforts to continue the ship’s detention over concerns that it’s transporting oil to Iran in violation of EU sanctions.
Virgin Galactic showed off an operational spaceport. Richard Branson’s company unveiled its new Gateway to Space at Spaceport America in New Mexico, where all spaceflight operations will now take place. If it is fully functional, as Virgin Galactic claims, it’s the first working commercial spaceport of its kind, and the company hopes to start making good on pre-paid tickets by next year.
Universal basic income is a form of social security that has attracted a lot of interest in recent years, and pilot programs in places like Finland, Kenya, and Oakland, California. Although guaranteed incomes might make our lives more comfortable and secure, Quartz reporter Ephrat Livni asks: would it make people any happier? It’s all part of our weeklong exploration of the future of work.
Hong Kong’s protesters are channeling Bruce Lee. They’re not necessarily imitating his fighting style, but his fluid philosophy to “be like water.” It’s a fitting tribute to a Hong Kong native (and philosophy major) who used his multicultural background to transform martial arts and the movies into what they are today. Kick back at the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of debate
Shipping containers are for shipping, period. They’re not cheap, they’re wildly uncomfortable, and they don’t deserve to be turned into architecture.
Tracking your family and friends’ location isn’t creepy at all. Done well, location-sharing services can ease a lot of anxiety in emergency situations.
Consider the Thursday. Without the hype of a Friday or the pressure of a weekend, the week’s unsung hero has just the right vibe.
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Smart ovens are turning on unbidden. Three countertop-sized June Ovens preheated to 400°F (200°C) in the middle of the night, but the company blames user error.
Ships could pass invisibly in the night. A new cloaking device simply steers waves away from a boat—with the added bonus of increased stability.
Humans sense pain with a recently discovered organ. Research into cells found to be wrapped around nerves could give insight into chronic pain.
With Spam, pumpkin spice jumps the shark. When the arrival of fall includes festively spiced canned meat, the trend may be officially passé.
Volcanoes brought us diamonds from the deep. Recent eruptions prove there’s a reservoir of ancient rock 250–400 miles beneath our feet.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, superdeep diamonds, and cloaking devices to email@example.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by Max Lockie and Susan Howson.