Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Trump hosts Romania’s president. Klaus Iohannis visits the White House today, with the two men expected to talk energy partnerships and security cooperation. NATO member Romania—nestled between central and eastern Europe—depends on Russian gas.
The Italian prime minister could face a vote of no confidence. Giuseppe Conte has been summoned by parliament after one of his coalition government’s key members, the far-right League Party, withdrew its support. League leader Matteo Salvini wants to force fresh elections.
The US makes its case against Iran at the UN. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo addresses the Security Council about the Middle East. He’s expected to focus on Iran following the recent attacks on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.
US investors take stock. Bellwethers for housing and consumption, including Toll Brothers, Home Depot, TJ Maxx operator TJX, and Kohl’s will post earnings. Traders will be looking to see whether American consumers are getting economic jitters as the trade war with China stretches on.
While you were sleeping
The White House has drafted a tax cut proposal. The Washington Post reported that a potential payroll tax cut, along with a rollback on trade tariffs, are under consideration in a new white paper—as officials consider several options to ward off a recession. President Trump, however, insists the economy is in good shape.
US state attorneys general plan an antitrust probe of tech firms. The scrutiny—by as many as 20 states—of whether US tech giants have become monopolies would be separate from probes planned by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission.
BHP had a good day. The world’s largest mining company today posted a whopping 124% rise in annual profit, driven by booming iron ore sales in China. But CEO Andrew Mackenzie warned that the ongoing US-China trade spat, along with rising nationalism in parts of the globe, could weigh down the Anglo-Australian firm.
An El Salvadoran woman was acquitted of murdering her stillborn child. Evelyn Hernández had served nearly three years of a 30-year sentence after being suspected of having an abortion and convicted of murder. El Salvador is among three Central American countries that ban abortion.
Jeffrey Epstein signed a will two days before his death. The American financier, who committed suicide on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, had put his holdings in a trust. No beneficiaries have been disclosed, but lawyers representing his alleged victims are expected to make a claim against his estate.
We continue our week-long exploration of autonomous vehicles with a Q&A with an entrepreneur at WeRide—a Chinese startup that hopes to roll out robotaxis—and his views on why government regulation is the key to a thriving industry. Read our state of play on the distant, but inevitable future of driverless vehicles.
Before email there was the fax machine. Early adopters in 1980s Japan used faxes like letters, but faster. They were a personal, fun, and image-rich way to communicate. And there are some industries in which they’re still crucial today. The Quartz Obsession dials it in.
Matters of debate
Your phone number is a better ID than your real name. That means you should be careful about sharing it, even when it’s inconvenient.
Stopping food waste is a data problem. Better inventory systems could cut down the 1,250 calories of food wasted per person every day.
You should buy your makeup used. Resale marketplaces like Mercari are making it easier for consumers to experiment with otherwise expensive brand names.
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The sound of your name may change how people perceive you. Kirks and Kates seem more outgoing—but less agreeable—than Annes and Owens.
Scientists made a pure carbon ring. The never-before-seen circle of 18 atoms has long been theorized, and may prove useful in microscopic electronics.
Plastic “nurdles” are an environmental disaster. The lentil-sized pellets tend to escape, polluting the environment before they’re ever used in products.
An auctioneer made a $70 million pronunciation error. Sotheby’s failed to sell the world’s oldest “Porsche” after the disappointed crowd realized the bidding was actually at $17 million.
Plague-infected prairie dogs shut down Colorado parks. Worried that fleas would spread the disease to humans and their pets, officials closed wildlife refuges near Denver.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, carbon rings, and gently used makeup to email@example.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Adam Rasmi and John Detrixhe and edited by Rashmee Roshan Lall.