Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Hong Kong looms over Angela Merkel’s visit to China. The German chancellor kicks off her three-day visit in Beijing just after Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam announced a contentious extradition bill would be officially pulled following months of protests. Merkel is also expected to focus on advancing an EU-China trade deal as she deals with slow economic growth back home.
Benjamin Netanyahu makes a surprise trip to London. The Israeli prime minister will meet his counterpart Boris Johnson, likely to shore up support for his campaign just two weeks before Israelis head to the polls in snap elections. Netanyahu will also meet US defence secretary Mark Esper and US vice president Mike Pence.
Italy swears in a new government. The country’s anti-establishment and center-left parties formed a new coalition after the 14-month-old right-leaning government fell apart following an attempt to seize power by the populist leader, Matteo Salvini. The new government faces fresh votes of confidence in parliament as soon as this week.
The US braces for Hurricane Dorian. After leaving a trail of devastation in the Bahamas and killing 20 people, the powerful storm is continuing on its path towards the American states of Georgia and South Carolina, where storm surges and major flooding are expected.
While you were sleeping
The UK parliament voted to delay Brexit a third time.
The House of Lords will
tomorrow, extending the Oct. 31 deadline to leave the European Union by three months to prevent a no-deal exit. Prime minister Boris Johnson saw another setback when his
, while his suspension of parliament next week faces a
The US and China agreed to restart trade talks. The Ministry of Commerce in Beijing said this morning that after a phone call with its US counterpart, both sides agreed to meet in Washington in October for the next round of negotiations.
Iran further retreated from nuclear commitments. Following the US move to hit Iran with a third set of sanctions in under a week, Tehran announced it will lift all limits on nuclear research, including the development of centrifuges to speed up the enrichment of uranium.
Facebook confirmed another massive privacy breach. More than 419 million phone numbers linked to users’ accounts were exposed because they were stored in a data server that was not password-protected. The company is now investigating when and by whom the database was created.
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Big banks should look at the Uber story in fear. In a conversation with Quartz Future of Finance editor John Detrixhe, Barclays’ former CEO Antony Jenkins says that the regulatory “moat” around established banking institutions is being picked apart by neobanks, robo-advisors, fintech startups, and the like. Is there a cheaper way to run international finance at scale? Find out more in today’s member exclusive interview.
Vacuum cleaners are supposed to suck. The household cleaning powerhouses were invented by an asthmatic janitor whose dusty broom was making him sick, and their basic design hasn’t changed all that much in the hundred years since. From Rube Goldberg contraption to a rolling robot, the Quartz Obsession takes it all in.
Matters of debate
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Let your employees wear shorts. As more organizations welcome “business casual” attire, some wonder if showing a little knee could cost a promotion.
Weight loss and body positivity are not enemies. Society can promote exercise without fat phobia and body-shaming.
We’re ignoring ageism in the workplace. A series of lawsuits have spread awareness about ageism, but companies are failing to train employees on combatting age-related bias.
A French court will decide whether a rooster can keep crowing. If the judge sides with the unhappy neighbors, the bird’s owner will have 15 days to move or silence the crooner.
Squirrels eavesdrop on talk among birds. Shrieks and chirps help the furry animals make sure areas are clear to search for food.
Unknown texts by the “Father of Liberalism” were discovered. The centuries-old manuscripts of English philosopher John Locke are said to reveal unexpected considerations of social tolerance.
All languages convey meaning at the same pace. Information-rich “efficient” languages are spoken more slowly, meaning that all languages transmit information at roughly the same speed.
Monkey-to-man charts get evolution all wrong. These images misrepresent how evolution really works—and run the risk of reinforcing the public’s misconceptions.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mysterious manuscripts, and spying squirrels to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.