Trade-war progress, Spanish turmoil, reckless mammoths

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What to watch for today

China sends a trade delegation to the US. Vice finance minister Lao Min could make significant inroads for higher-level negotiations, currently scheduled for October between the two countries, whose year-long trade war has impacted global growth.

India considers banning e-cigarettes. An ordinance prohibiting the production and sale of vaping products is likely up before the cabinet today, as part of prime minister Narendra Modi’s first 100 days agenda. If approved, the ordinance would turn into a bill and go before parliament.

Jacinda Ardern sits down with Shinzo Abe. The prime ministers of New Zealand and Japan hold their third bilateral talks, but it’s the first time the two have met since a new trade agreement was established between the countries via the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

While you were sleeping

South Korea fought back in its trade dispute with Japan… The nation dropped its neighbor from its own white list of trade partners, making good on a threat made after Japan did the same in August. Companies attempting to export to Japan will face a tougher set of regulations, slowing down the process considerably.

…While reeling from a livestock problem. South Korea discovered its first African swine fever outbreak, four months after North Korea’s own discovery. Thousands of hogs, an important food source for the nation, will be slaughtered to prevent the disease’s spread.

Spain’s government fell into turmoil. The country will hold its fourth election in four years after the socialists, headed by acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez, failed to form a governing coalition with the populist left-wing Podemos party. The new ballot offers the Socialist party a chance to gain more seats and strengthen its negotiating position.

Israel voted. Exit polls in the historic election—the second in five months—show no clear advantage by either current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu or his challenger, Benny Gantz. Results should become more solid throughout the day, though their effects on the government’s makeup may still be in doubt.

NBC strutted out a name for its streaming service. Dubbed “Peacock,” the US-based legacy network’s digital offering will lean heavily on nostalgia, anchored by classics like Cheers, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Will & Grace, and buoyed by hits like The Office and Parks and Rec.

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Indian ride-sharing startup Ola’s story of startup scrappiness contains some valuable lessons on how to attract angel investors on blind faith. Early backer Zishaan Hayath told Quartz reporter Ananya Bhattacharya how the story unfolded as part of this week’s field guide.

Quartz Obsession

The turban is a simple garment, but it’s also a complex expression of culture, religion, style, and identity. For Sikhs they’re a sacred object. They’re also a staple of old Hollywood glamor. And when Gucci sold an $800 turban it inspired a massive clapback against cultural appropriation. Get the look with the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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Free return shipping must die. It’s costly, wasteful, and bad for the environment.

Economists don’t understand macroeconomics. According to Bill Gates, that makes it harder for policy makers to reform the economy.

Phone calls are good. Speaking words out loud to people allows you to accomplish more faster and make deeper connections.

Surprising discoveries

Whitney Houston’s hologram is going on tour. The legendary singer’s likeness will play stadiums, concert halls, and even the Kremlin.

69% of mammal fossils come from males. Reckless boy mammoths were more likely to get themselves trapped in a tar pit.

Coral gardeners are reviving reefs. Conservationists in scuba gear have painstakingly brought Jamaica’s coral back from the brink of extinction.

Math scores don’t explain the STEM gender gap. The real reason there are more men in science and tech may be that girls are better than boys at reading.

Vinyl, book, and magazine sales are up. Despite the prophecies of digital doomsayers, people still like owning physical things.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, celebrity holograms, and female fossil finds to 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 Nicolás Rivero.