Good morning, Quartz readers!
Afghans head to the polls. Voters will choose on Saturday from among 16 candidates, including incumbent Ashraf Ghani, in the country’s fourth presidential election since the end of Taliban rule. In the 19th year of the US-led war, security concerns remain high, and the Taliban has warned voters against participating.
Greta Thunberg leads the call for climate action, again. The 16-year-old is in Montreal, where the UN aviation agency will discuss airplane emission targets. Prime minister Justin Trudeau, who faces a tough election next month, and Green Party chief Elizabeth May will join the march.
UK Tories host their annual conference. The gathering kicks off in Manchester on Sunday but may be scaled back because a request for a three-day parliamentary recess was turned down by MPs. Meanwhile, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, which is less than a year old and talks a hard line, wraps up a national tour with an event in London.
Hong Kong rallies. A major demonstration kicks off tomorrow outside government headquarters to mark the fifth anniversary of the Umbrella Movement. On Sunday, a “Global Anti-Totalitarianism March” will be held in tandem with dozens of cities worldwide.
The US slashed its refugee intake to a historic low. The White House capped the number at just 18,000 people over the next 12 months, instead of 30,000. President Trump also signed an executive order requiring state and local governments to opt in to accepting refugees.
WeWork tried to slim down. The office-sharing startup—whose CEO Adam Neumann resigned under pressure this week—halted all new lease agreements and cut thousands of staff, after delaying its IPO plans this month amid increased investor scrutiny.
A detained UK tanker was freed. Iran’s port authority said the British vessel has set sail. Tehran seized the tanker in July, after the UK intercepted an Iranian vessel off its Gibraltar overseas territory that was suspected of violating EU sanctions by transporting oil to Syria.
Saudi Arabia launched its first tourist visa scheme. The decision is part of the kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy away from oil, in the hope that tourism revenues would grow to 10% of GDP by 2030.
Tensions rose in Egypt. Police warned they’ll use force when necessary on protesters in Cairo today, amid calls for a “million-man march” against president Sisi. Nearly 2,000 people have been arrested since last weekend.
Sign up for your free trial.
Who’s winning the race to 5G? Even if you’ve absorbed nothing else about 5G, you almost certainly know these three things: There’s a race to build it. China is winning. And that should make you afraid. (Or, if you’re in China, thrilled.) But if past technological leaps tell us anything, it’s that it will take a lot of trial and error—and, above all, time—to start reaping genuine, self-sustaining returns from 5G technology. Either way, it’s time to get up to speed.
Can bird watching save the world? Our feathered friends are victims of habitat loss, climate change, and other risks. And we know this because of bird watchers—citizen scientists, whose passion plays a critical role in how researchers keep track of species. It’s also easier than ever thanks to new technology and thriving online communities. Look to the horizon with the Quartz Obsession.
Humans are as resilient as cockroaches. We’ll outlive climate change and nuclear war, no matter how bad it gets.
We should do better than “do your best.” Telling employees to just try hard actually sets them up for workplace mediocrity.
New York City is the ultimate screen idol. And Paris is its only serious rival among the world’s great metropolises.
Prehistoric babies drank animal milk from bottles. Recently discovered 5,000-year-old clay vessels contained the residue.
Japan Airlines has a new tool to deal with screaming babies. Online seating maps will show the likely location of toddlers.
Too much exercise leads to bad decisions. Overtrained athletes exhibit “motivational fatigue” and a diminished capacity for long-term thinking.
Facebook is starting to hide “like” counts. It’s part of a test to try and end the online popularity contest.
Cats are just as good company as dogs. They too form attachments to humans, according to a new study.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fawning cat videos, and your very best efforts to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 and Rashmee Roshan Lall.