Bank of England, Trudeau’s brownface, Pete’s sooty face

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The Bank of England decides on interest rates. Analysts expect the central bank to hold rates steady at 0.75% as the country awaits developments on Brexit. Investors will also look for clues as to which way rates might go if the country tumbles out of the EU without a deal on Oct. 31.

US-China trade talks resume. Deputies from the two countries are meeting in Washington DC to prep for high-level talks planned in October, and also explore a potential interim deal to stave off threats of tariffs until the nations reach a permanent deal.

Mark Zuckerberg heads to Capitol Hill. Facebook’s CEO is returning to Washington for the first time since he testified there last April about his company’s privacy practices. He is expected to meet policymakers and push his vision of the future of internet regulation.

Huawei unveils its new Google-less phone in Europe. The Mate 30 will be an Android device but without any Google apps because of a ban that prohibits American firms from working with the tech company, leaving analysts wondering whether the phones will sell well.

While you were sleeping

Three former Tepco executives were acquitted of criminal negligence. They were found not guilty of failing to implement safety measures at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, which was hard hit in March 2011 when a massive tsunami caused by an earthquake overwhelmed its reactors.

Boris Johnson was given a two-week deadline. The prime minister of Finland, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, and French president Emmanuel Macron told the UK prime minister that he needed to submit Brexit proposals in writing by the end of the month. If he fails to do so, “then it’s over,” said Antti Rinne, the Finnish leader.

The US Fed issued a quarter percentage cut. With rates now between 1.75% and 2%, chairman Jerome Powell said the decision for a second cut in less than two months was made to keep the economy strong as global slowdown worries persist. Asia stocks rose in morning trading in response to the news.

Justin Trudeau apologized for wearing brownface makeup. Time magazine published a photo yesterday showing the Canadian prime minister with darkened skin while attending a costume party at a school gala in 2001. He  said he “deeply regretted” his racist action, saying it was “a dumb thing to do.”

The US called an attack on Saudi oil sites an Iranian “act of war.” After Saudi Arabia showed wreckage of drones and missiles it said were used in attacks on Saturday against the country’s oil installations, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the evidence proved the raid was “unquestionably sponsored” by Tehran. However, president Donald Trump said there were “many options” short of war with Iran.

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Electric vehicle development in India has been stuck in a chicken-and-egg situation for years, with consumers hesitating to embrace the environmentally-friendly mode of transportation without a supporting infrastructure, and companies holding back from investing without high demand. Among those determined to break the limbo and develop an ecosystem of their own: Ola. Learn how and why as part of our field guide on India’s own ride-hailing giant.

Quartz Obsession

Area 51 is like catnip to UFO enthusiasts. The deeply classified military facility in Nevada has a 64-year history of hosting experimental espionage aircraft. And, according to true believers, visitors from beyond the planet. What’s the story behind this remote patch of desert real estate? The truth is out there, and the Quartz Obsession is on it.

Matters of debate

Join the conversation on the Quartz app!

We can’t handle a global pandemic. Countries tend only to protect themselves, not the rest of the world.

Everyone should have the right to return. The world gave it to Israelis, so why not other displaced native populations?

Money can’t buy you time. The happiness that comes with having more free time has no ceiling.

Surprising discoveries

The umbrella-jammed door finally got unjammed. An engineer drilled a hole in the ceiling to lift the umbrella out of the WeWork office in Washington DC.

A lawmaker discussing pigeon poop got pooped on by a pigeon. An Illinois state representative had his point nicely illustrated while talking to a TV reporter.

Rock-munching sea urchins have self-sharpening teeth. And scientists are hoping to harness the creatures’ power to make cutting-edge tools.

Instagram is banning posts promoting “miraculous” weight loss products. It’s part of the platform’s broader clampdown on the cosmetic surgery and diet industries.

A Dutch Christmas figure is dropping its blackface… sort of. The controversially made-up “Black Petes” will now have a “sooty face.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, respectful pigeons, and hungry sea urchins 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 Isabella Steger.