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What to watch for today
South Korea, China, and Japan have a trilateral summit. The Beijing meeting of foreign ministers is the first in three years, and a South Korean attempt to bring North Korea back to the table is expected to top the agenda, along with a proposal to get the leaders of all three countries in the same room.
Germany and Russia try to spread peace. Ministers from both countries will meet in Moscow to talk about ending the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, and also cooperating on arms control. German foreign minister Heiko Maas will meet with Russian civil rights leaders on Thursday.
The Obamas’ first film debuts on Netflix. “American Factory,” which documents the aftermath of a Chinese company reopening a shuttered Ohio car plant, is the first movie released under the Obamas’ production company Higher Ground.
While you were sleeping
Italian PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement quit before his former coalition partner and leader of the far-right League party, Matteo Salvini, could oust him in a no-confidence vote. Conte delivered an hour long speech accusing Salvini, who was sitting next to him, of irresponsibly destabilizing Italian government.
Brexit moved closer to the brink. The European Union rejected UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s request to scrap the Irish backstop, which would keep Northern Ireland aligned with the European single market even after Brexit. Johnson offered no alternate solution, and critics say his request was designed to allow him to blame the EU for its intransigence when Brexit talks sour.
Facebook gave users more control over their data. A new tool, dubbed “Off-Facebook Activity,” allows users to see what data the social media giant has collected while tracking their browsing history—including their shopping habits and porn preferences. Facebook won’t delete anyone’s data, but users can opt to cut the ties binding their browsing histories to their accounts.
Apple launched its credit card in the US. After a limited “preview” launch earlier this month, the company announced that all US iPhone users can now apply for the card on their phones “in minutes” and “start using it right away.” Apple also said it would expand its 3% cash back offer to cover more vendors and apps, including Uber.
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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.
Where did the world’s worst superhero come from? Whether he’s doing something unsavory with an alligator or calling the cops on a kitten, Florida Man makes headlines around the world. His fame, though, is born out of some of the state’s best laws and the internet’s worst instincts. The Quartz Obsession pays homage to the man, the myth, and the meme.
Matters of debate
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Courage shouldn’t be an entry-level job requirement. What companies really want, and should say instead, is “good judgment.”
Paper straws suck. The greener alternative to plastic does its job poorly, and isn’t saving the planet.
Better-paying jobs could save capitalism. A costlier overhead can translate to more wealth, which leads to more consumers.
A fungus could destroy the world’s favorite banana. The Cavendish may have crowded out other banana species, but that only makes it more vulnerable.
Lava lamps are randomness generators. Encryption giant CloudFlare trains cameras on the kitschy bubblers to find true random numbers.
Brazil lost 500 million bees. Deregulated agricultural pesticides are the prime suspect in this massive wave of apian deaths.
Skeleton Lake could have been a natural death trap. The remains of 500 dead hail from different eras and parts of the world.
Cellphone data unreliability is shaking the Danish legal system. More than 10,000 cases are up for review after an evidence-gathering flaw was found.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mysterious bones, and hardy bananas 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 Susan Howson, Max Lockie, and Nicolás Rivero.