Mid-Autumn Festival protests, Kashmir statement, hand-holding skeletons

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What to watch for today and over the weekend

Hong Kongers plan protests during Mid-Autumn Festival. The traditional harvest celebration will be punctuated by planned demonstrations at the airport and outside the British consulate. A confrontation between protesters and pro-Beijing residents took a musical turn yesterday, while a newly surfaced audio recording revealed Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam lamenting having to “serve two masters.”

Tunisia goes to the polls. The Arab world’s only democracy will cast ballots in its second-ever presidential election on Sunday—a test for a country still grappling with economic turmoil and youth radicalization. On Wednesday, frontrunner Nabil Karoui started a hunger strike from jail, where he’s being held on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering.

Pakistan’s PM makes a policy statement on Kashmir. Imran Khan will discuss developments in the contested region during his public address in Muzaffarabad today. Indian government data shows it has arrested nearly 4,000 people since stripping Kashmir of its special status last month.

Europe considers energy taxes. In an informal meeting in Helsinki on Saturday, EU finance ministers will look at how taxes can be used to reduce fossil fuel use, a key policy focus for the bloc over the next five years.

While you were sleeping

Google paid France $1 billion in fines and back taxes. The €500 million ($551 million) penalty and €465 million ($513 million) in “additional taxes” settle an investigation that started in 2015. Meanwhile, the US National Labor Relations Board ordered Google to remind employees they can discuss politics at work.

China is still buying US soybeans. The purchase of 600,000 metric tons (661,386 tons is the largest since at least June and is an indication of easing tensions ahead of trade talks next month.

A photographer of Tiananmen Square Tank Man died. American photojournalist Charlie Cole, who died in Bali at age 64, was one of four who took similar photos during China’s crackdown, but his image won the 1989 World Press Photo award.

The ECB rolled out new stimulus measures. In the bank’s most expansionary policy in more than three years, outgoing president Mario Draghi announced it would cut its key interest rate by 0.1% to -0.5%, resuming the program of bond buying called quantitative easing.

The US deficit hit $1 trillion. It’s the first time since 2012 that the figure rose so high in the first 11 months of the fiscal year. To make up the shortfall, the Treasury Department plans to borrow $814 billion from July to December. China and Japan are by far the largest foreign holders of Treasury securities, according to the most recent report.

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US high schoolers have less sex and do less drugs, but they’re vaping a lot more. Most observers think it’s a combination of available flavors, high levels of addiction-inducing nicotine, and the way that Juul fits into modern lifestyles. Plus, it could just lead to more smoking in the long run. Quartz’s Jenni Avins explores the teen angle in this installment of our vaping field guide.

Quartz Obsession

The Kool-Aid Man is hitting a wall. The brand with the anthropomorphic-pitcher pitchman is trying to survive a consumer shift away from processed food, so it’s banking on nostalgia. One place that nostalgia really sells? The aftermarket for vintage flavors (which are not cheap). Oh, yeah: it’s the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

Join the conversation on the Quartz app!

Removing “likes” may hurt users more than help. Content creators have long used the metric to determine trends.

AI is a lot more primitive than it’s hyped to be. Over-reporting and PR spins give most artificial intelligence artificially inflated credit.

You probably don’t need to buy MacBooks anymore. The new iPads can do most of what laptops can—except sit comfortably atop laps.

Surprising discoveries

Spotify is onto your “family plan.” The streaming service wants to keep tabs on users’ whereabouts to make sure they’re truly cohabitating.

Ancient hand-holding skeletons were both men. The Roman “Lovers of Modena” are the first unearthed embracing duo to be other than male/female.

The average menstrual cycle isn’t 28 days. The age-old number is based on bad science.

The universe is a spring chicken. New research suggests it’s a full two billion years younger than we thought.

Male bees blind queens to keep them from finding other mates. They may die in the mating process, but at least their genetic code will go on.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, vengeful queen bees, and skeletons in love to hi@qz.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Susan Howson and Liz Webber.