UK Supreme Court, Greta Thunberg, blackest black

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What to watch for today

UK’s Supreme Court considers the legality of parliament’s suspension. A nearly full bench will weigh challenges to prime minister Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue the body for five weeks to curtail Brexit debate. Scotland’s top court last week ruled that it was illegal. Meanwhile, Johnson’s visit to Luxembourg yesterday ended in humiliation.

Apple launches a massive tax battle in EU court. The bloc’s second-highest court will hear the iPhone maker’s challenge of a European Commission order to pay €13 billion ($14.4 billion) in Irish back taxes. The landmark case will be watched closely by other companies like Amazon and Alphabet, as the EU cracks down on tax avoidance by multinationals.

Israel has another election. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an unprecedented second general election within six months of his narrow victory in April after he failed to form a ruling coalition in parliament. Netanyahu faces a formidable challenge from former Israeli military chief of staff Benny Gantz.

Joshua Wong testifies at a Washington hearing on Hong Kong. The prominent activist takes the stand before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China to make the case for greater US support for the city’s democracy movement amid its eroding autonomy and freedoms in the face of an increasingly authoritarian Beijing.

While you were sleeping

Taiwan closed its Solomon Islands embassy. The break follows an announcement by Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen that its largest ally had decided to officially sever diplomatic ties with Taipei, in favor of Beijing.

The White House ordered two former aides to defy House subpoenas. The administration instructed Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter to not appear before the House Judiciary Committee,  saying they are “absolutely immune” from testifying at a hearing scheduled for today on possible possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

Greta Thunberg won Amnesty International’s highest prize. The 16-year-old Swedish climate activist accepted the nonprofit’s Ambassador of Conscience Award on behalf of “all the fearless youth fighting for their future.”

Donald Trump said he has reached a trade deal with Japan. The US president notified lawmakers in a letter yesterday that he had clinched initial trade agreements with Japan on reciprocal tariff reductions and digital trade that do not need congressional approval.

Saturday Night Live fired the comedian Shane Gillis. The newly hired stand-up comic was shown the door after his past use of racist, homophobic and sexist language came to light last week. In a statement, a  SNL spokesperson said Gillis’ words were “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable,” and apologized.

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If you’ve heard of the Indian ride-sharing giant Ola, you probably know it as a scrappy challenger to Uber. But that narrative misses one of Ola’s biggest successes: It has become the face of India’s electric vehicle industry. Read our complete guide to Ola and the startup scene it spawned as part of this week’s field guide.

Quartz Obsession

Inbox zero: the information worker’s ultimate goal. But is it worth it? Its creator, Merlin Mann, came up with the concept in 2006, shortly after Gmail put a practically infinite amount of storage in everyone’s reach. Now he’s worried he’s created a monster of workflow that overshadows actual work—but some Silicon Valley stars still swear by it. Take a priority read at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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Hollywood has given up on free expression. Caving to Chinese censors for short-term profits is chipping away at the film-industry’s autonomy.

5G will reinvent working from home. Faster connection speeds will allow employees to work in virtual reality as if they were physically in the room.

Cities are great for raising kids. They’re full of child-friendly fun and parks are better than lawns.

Surprising discoveries

A neutron star is stretching the laws of physics. It’s more than twice as massive as the sun, teetering on the edge of what is theoretically possible.

MIT made the blackest black ever. Scientists accidentally created a material that absorbs 99.9% of light.

Weed might soon be odorless. A startup is experimenting with removing the plant’s terpenes, but some say being dank is the whole point.

Astronomers caught an interstellar object on camera. The comet is just the second visitor we’ve ever seen from another star.

John Milton’s copy of Shakespeare is sitting in a Philadelphia library. Scholars hailed the find as one of the biggest literary discoveries in modern times.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, undank pot, and literary connections to 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.