Trump talks oil, autoworkers strike, chess stress

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What to watch for today

Donald Trump hosts Bahrain’s crown prince. Maritime security will be high on the agenda. Over the weekend, drone strikes claimed by Iran-allied Houthi rebels on the world’s largest oil refinery, disrupted half of Saudi Arabia’s capacity. Trump said the US is “locked and loaded.” Oil prices have surged.

Regulators question Facebook over Libra. In Basel, Switzerland, officials from more than two dozen central banks will seek information about the digital currency’s scope and design, for G7 finance ministers. There are concerns about Libra’s effect on financial stability.

Boris Johnson heads to Luxembourg. The UK leader will lunch on snails and salmon with outgoing European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker. A Brexit extension won’t be on the menu, Johnson said on Sunday. Separately, former prime minister David Cameron said he was “truly sorry” for the Brexit chaos.

Over the weekend

US autoworkers went on strike. Almost 50,000 General Motors employees launched a nationwide work-stoppage, the first in the US auto industry in 12 years. They are protesting a decision to shut four factories; and want better pay and benefits.

Top Democrats called for Brett Kavanaugh’s impeachment. Elizabeth Warren joined Kamala Harris and Julian Castro after reports of another allegation of sexual misconduct surfaced against the US Supreme Court justice. Kavanaugh was confirmed last year amid similar accusations. Trump said the judge should sue.

Hong Kong’s protests hit a milestone. Residents marked 100 days since the demonstrations began in the semi-autonomous territory over a now-withdrawn extradition bill. Police used water cannon and tear gas in weekend clashes with pro-democracy activists.

Outsiders claimed the lead in Tunisia’s presidential election. Exit polls suggested that the conservative law professor Kaïs Saïed and jailed media mogul Nabil Karoui, have won enough support to proceed to a runoff vote in the fledgling democracy.

China reported weak economic data. New figures show that industrial output expanded just 4.4% in August compared to a year ago, the slowest since early 2002. Retail growth also slowed to 7.5%, below analysts’ expectations. 

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The Indian ride-sharing giant Ola first got its start as a challenger to Uber. While it might still be best known for that, that narrative misses one of Ola’s biggest successes—it has become the face of India’s electric vehicle industry. Read our state of play on the tech unicorn.

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Going grassroots has allowed roller derby to thrive. The brainchild of a Depression-era promoter, the sport was rebooted in 2001 from the ground up. With a new emphasis on athleticism over spectacle, it quickly went global. Today, the women-led pastime has hundreds of leagues across six continents, not to mention great nicknames. Take a star pass at the Quartz Obsession. 

Matters of debate

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Politically incorrect speech can be good politics. It makes a candidate seem more authentic to certain groups.

The golden age of air travel is over. Airlines are reluctant to forego extra alcohol revenue, even though booze plays a large part in “air rage” incidents.

There’s a diversity problem in “ethnic” plastic surgery. Current procedures are based on what looks best on Caucasian women.

Surprising discoveries

Engineers have developed the “blackest black.” The material, which traps at least 99.995% of light, could help space telescopes ward off glare.

Moscow held a parade of garbage trucks and city buses. The event—complete with mundane service vehicles—followed weeks of pro-democracy protests, and was ridiculed online.

A gold toilet stolen from England’s Blenheim Palace was called America. Made by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, it’s valued at up to $1.2 million.

Chess grandmasters lose weight without moving. The response to stress is similar to that of intense physical activity.

Vapers are turning to cigarettes to kick their Juul habit. For e-cigarette manufacturers who marketed their wares as an alternative to old-fashioned smokes, it’s a slap in the face.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, parade ideas, and fancy toilets, to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Adam Rasmi, Hasit Shah, and Rashmee Roshan Lall.