Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
Pakistan marks its first “Kashmir Hour.” Sirens will blare at noon across the country today to mark the start of the half-hour protest against India’s revocation of special status of the region. Prime minister Imran Khan has said that the weekly protest will go on indefinitely as a display of solidarity with the people of Kashmir.
India announces its latest GDP numbers. Most economists are expecting the April-to-June growth rate to come in at no more than 5.7%, the slowest rate in at least five years. Experts are pointing to sluggish demand in the auto sector and trade war tensions for the slowdown.
Hong Kong gears up for more protests. A major rally and march planned for tomorrow were banned by the police, who cited fears of “large-scale destruction.” Protesters are also expected to block roads around the airport on Sunday, while another major strike is due Monday (Sept. 2). Ahead of the weekend, police swept up prominent democracy activists, while two protest organizers were assaulted by armed men.
Courts consider Boris Johnson’s parliament suspension. A judge in Edinburgh will rule this morning on whether to grant an injunction to block the prime minister’s parliamentary prorogation, while a court in Belfast will hear arguments on a similar case. A third legal challenge, in London, is expected to be heard next week. Dozens of mass protests are expected over the weekend.
Germany’s far right is set to make electoral gains. Double-digit gains on Sunday by the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in two regional elections in the eastern German states of Saxony and Brandenburg could potentially upend three decades of rule by chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and her coalition partners, the Social Democrats.
While you were sleeping
Donald Trump canceled his trip to Poland… The US president is instead sending vice president Mike Pence on the goodwill trip, so that he can deal with Hurricane Dorian, set to make landfall in Florida on Monday as a dangerous Category 4 storm. Meanwhile, Florida governor Ron DeSantis expanded a state of emergency to cover all 67 counties.
…while his executive assistant quit the White House. Madeleine Westerhout, who has been in her role since the start of Trump’s administration, resigned from her post after the president learned that she had shared information, including details about his family, with the press at a recent off-the-record meeting.
A former Colombian rebel issued a new call to arms. Three years after a peace deal was brokered, a senior commander of the dissolved FARC rebel army said that he and other guerrillas will launch a new offensive, threatening to restart five decades of armed conflict against the government. The president has vowed to hunt down the rebels.
Ukraine and Russia swapped prisoners. Ukraine saw the return of sailors and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, while Kiev freed a senior Russian journalist accused of supporting pro-Russian separatists.
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The growth of Chinese investment in Africa over the past two decades has been unprecedented and unparalleled, but China still isn’t the leading foreign investor in Africa. What makes China’s presence different from that of the rest of the world, is that it’s physical, and thus, visible. See for yourself how much optics matter when you’re trying to make your presence known on another continent.
The English Channel is a boundary that mankind can’t stop pushing. Franky Zapata just crossed it on a hoverboard, but it’s also been crossed via hot air balloons, a hovercraft, an electric plane, a carbon-fiber wingsuit, a pedal-powered plane, and good old arms and legs. But the hardest way to cross might be by car, if Brexit throws the crucial economic link into chaos. Take a journey at the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of debate
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Watch what you say about China. Employees at companies that do business there could lose their jobs if they support the wrong cause.
Mini-shampoos aren’t ruining the environment. Swearing off miniature toiletries may be good PR, but investing in carbon-reducing technologies would go a lot further.
Spend some time with your work elders. Intergenerational outside-of-work hangouts can provide valuable professional and personal insight.
A car and a sofa were found in New Orleans’ storm drains. The city is plagued by flash flooding, but heavy storms aren’t the only problem.
A medicinal mixup gave babies “Werewolf Syndrome.” Hair-loss drugs were mislabeled as gastric reflex drugs, and 17 babies sprouted hair all over.
A pre-launch pee ritual for Russian male cosmonauts could end. Newly designed space suits will make urinating on a bus tire difficult.
You can now listen to a rock. Geologists made a recording of the deep hum emanating from Castleton Tower, a 400-foot-tall (122 meters) rock formation near Moab, Utah.
Baby Borises are on the rise. As UK politician and current prime minister Boris Johnson’s career progresses, so do his namesakes.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, lucky pee rituals, and clogged drains 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 Mary Hui and edited by Tripti Lahiri.