Trump meets Erdoğan, Hong Kong university siege, accidental Play-Doh

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Tariffs on EU cars and auto parts. The US faces a deadline today on whether to slap duties on European automobile imports, but automakers expect him to delay his decision by another six months.

The US House impeachment hearings go public. The first round of witnesses includes three career public servants who have already given closed-door testimonies over allegations that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine unless Kyiv promised to investigate his political opponent.

Trump meets with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The US president hosts his Turkish counterpart amid tense relations between the two NATO allies over issues including Syria and Ankara’s purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

Greta Thunberg sets sail for Madrid. The teenage climate activist is hitching a low-carbon ride with an Australian couple and their 11-month-old son to make the trans-Atlantic voyage from the US to Europe for the UN climate change conference, after the location was abruptly changed from Chile.

While you were sleeping

The siege at a top Hong Kong university continued overnight. Pitched battles raged at the Chinese University of Hong Kong late into the night as protesters faced off with riot police. The standoff there continued this morning and at other universities, while transport networks were severely disrupted across the city.

Cardinal George Pell was granted an appeal. Australia’s top court gave the jailed 78-year-old former Vatican treasurer a final chance to fight his convictions for child sex abuse offences. He is currently serving a six-year prison term for sexually assaulting two choir boys in the 1990s.

Evo Morales made it to Mexico. The newly resigned president of Bolivia was offered asylum, while protests over his ouster continued at home as the head of the senate took office as interim president. He has urged his followers to resist “dark powers,” and promised to return with more “strength and energy.”

Presenting… Facebook Pay. Facebook pushed forward with its plans to tie together its various businesses with the announcement of a new service that will allow users to send and receive funds across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The US Supreme Court weighed the fate of Dreamers. A conservative majority of justices appeared ready to allow the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, reasoning that it is within the president’s power to withdraw protections from 700,000 immigrants. Separately, a federal judge ruled that suspicionless searches of travelers’ digital devices is unconstitutional.

Quartz Membership

Sign up for your free trial.

The concept of antitrust first emerged, as the word suggests, as a means to break up the “trusts” that sprang up in the late 1800s. They were owned by the Gilded Age tycoons that seized much of the US economy. In this week’s field guide, Quartz reporter Alison Griswold investigates how we might tame big tech today (and perhaps its tycoons).

Quartz Obsession

The world’s most popular fruit—the banana—is under threat. Only 15% of bananas are exported but the yellow, sweet staple accounts for an $8 billion global export market. Today, it’s under threat by a Panama fungus disease. Peel back the layers in the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of Debate

The future of live-streaming hinges on Twitch. The platform is no longer just for gamers.

Navigation apps are changing the politics of traffic. When everyone optimizes their route, group welfare could take a hit.

Google’s health care ambitions are terrifyingly open-ended. Vacuuming up millions of people’s data is scary, but being cagey about why is worse.

Surprising discoveries

A passenger paid a heavy price for trying to smuggle a fat cat aboard a flight. Russian carrier Aeroflot stripped the flyer of his air miles as punishment for a devious scheme that involved a cat swap.

Play-Doh was invented by accident. The doughy toy was a desperate spinoff of a wallpaper-cleaning putty.

Balloons are more regulated than voting machines in the US. Election infrastructure is largely free from government oversight, while consumer products are closely scrutinized.

Switzerland has an emergency stockpile of coffee. The government decided to keep its 15,000 tons of joe, following a public outcry.

Astronomers are grappling with the biggest things in the universe. “Large-scale structures,” made of hydrogen and dark matter, could bind galaxies billions of lightyears apart.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, emergency coffee, and fat cats to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Mary Hui and edited by Isabella Steger.