Climate strikes, Trump’s whistleblower, horse wars

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

The Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan. The tournament, which is coming to Asia for the first time, will start with Japan playing Russia today in the first of 48 games between 20 teams over the next six weeks. About 400,000 international fans will be in attendance—and they all want beer.

Young people in more than 150 countries demand climate change action. Ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg and other youthful climate activists are leading a strike today that could be the world’s largest environmental protest of its kind.

Fresh calls for independence in Kashmir. Amid an increased security presence in the region after India’s move to revoke autonomy for the part it controls, Kashmiris in the Pakistani-held section are calling for pro-independence protests along the border tomorrow. Meanwhile, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is visiting the US for a massive event in Houston on Sunday—with US president Donald Trump joining him.

While you were sleeping

US-Iran tension over the Saudi oil attack cooled. Just a day after US top diplomat Mike Pompeo called the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil supply an “act of war” and Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif threatened an “all-out war” in defense, the Trump administration is advocating for a “peaceful resolution.” Iran’s president and foreign minister got visas to attend the UN General Assembly.

More details leaked on the whistleblower complaint against Trump. The complaint by an intelligence official around a pledge the president made in a communication with a foreign leader centers on Ukraine, and was filed a little over two weeks after a phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Hong Kong’s police were accused of torture. Rights organization Amnesty International said Hong Kong police have practiced torture, intimidation, arbitrary arrests, and other aggressive tactics over three months of protests. Police say they have exercised restraint.

Tropical storm Imelda flooding in Texas killed two people. Emergency responders were overwhelmed with calls for high-water rescues after heavy rains, reminiscent of 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, caused heavy flooding in eastern Texas.

A US pilot for FedEx was barred from leaving mainland China. The former US Air Force colonel was apparently detained a week ago as he prepared to board a plane from southern China to Hong Kong, and has since been released on bail. The US logistics giant has been caught up in US-China tensions after it rerouted to the US packages destined for the China office of tech giant Huawei.

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Why hail four wheels, when two wheels do the job? Two of the largest cab-hailing companies in the world have diversified into two-wheeler taxis in India, and ventures focused on bikes have mushroomed in recent years. India’s largest homegrown internet-based transport company, Ola, runs bike taxi services in more than 150 Indian cities—archrival Uber only offers them in 11. Ananya Bhattacharya takes a look at the two-wheeled wave as part of her week-long Ola field guide.

Quartz Obsession

Vegetarianism is up, as much for the climate’s health as our own. Well, not strict vegetarianism, but climatarians, reducetarians, flexitarians, Meatless Monday participants, VB6ers, and more are cutting back as they learn about the connections between carnivorousness and climate. And tech startups as well as big food companies are riding the wave. Taste the future at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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Nice women finish last. Traits like warmth and compassion are devalued because they’re associated with femininity.

Climate change migration is more complicated than you think. It’s not just about rising daily temperatures—the futures of particular regions are hard to predict.

Protecting nature from nature polarizes humans. The western US wild horse debate illustrates the muddy waters of environmental compromise.

Surprising discoveries

Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical lion came to life. The original may have been lost to time, but in Paris, there’s a new iteration of the 500-year-old schematic on display.

Bird populations are taking a nosedive. Fewer insects, disappearing habitats, and more glass to run into are all taking their toll.

Magic mushrooms are getting their own research center. The first facility of its kind will launch in Jamaica.

“Havana syndrome” may have been due to pesticides. The kind of brain damage US and Canadian diplomatic staff suffered in Cuba points to a specific type of neurotoxin.

A shaman won’t get to exorcise Vladimir Putin. A Siberian man who walked more than 2,700 kilometers to “drive the evil spirit of Putin from the Kremlin” was arrested.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, new-old mechanical beasts, and exorcists to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Tripti Lahiri and edited by Mary Hui.