Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Google launches its cloud gaming service. Stadia is the latest attempt at building a “Netflix for gaming” that allows the streaming of top-tier titles without a console. The service will launch with 22 games, but some planned features are still in the works and heavy users may run up against data caps from their broadband providers.
US impeachment hearings resume. The House of Representatives will question four witnesses today, including Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who listened in on (and raised alarms about) a phone call between Donald Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn debate. The first televised debate of the UK election cycle will exclude leaders of other parties after a court shut down a challenge from smaller rivals the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats.
While you were sleeping
The standoff between Hong Kong protesters and police continued. Many protesters were unable to leave Hong Kong Polytechnic University following increasingly violent altercations with police. Earlier in the day, a court ruled the city’s use of emergency powers to ban face masks was illegal.
The US granted Huawei another extension. US companies can continue to do business with the Chinese tech giant for another 90 days. Separately, Senate leaders sent a letter asking the Commerce Department to quickly issue rules for exporting US tech to China. Meanwhile, a Quartz analysis shows the US isn’t getting much out of its trade war with China.
The US decided West Bank settlements aren’t illegal after all. In a reversal of decades of foreign policy, the Trump administration declared that Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory do not violate international law.
Estee Lauder made its first Asian beauty acquisition. The company agreed to complete its ownership of Have & Be Co., parent company of South Korea’s Dr. Jart+ cosmetics for $1.1 billion. Meanwhile, Coty Inc.—the name behind CoverGirl and Max Factor—paid $600 million for 51% of Kylie Jenner’s beauty company.
Airbnb signed up to be an Olympic superhost. The International Olympic Committee announced a partnership with Airbnb aimed at reducing the infrastructure demand on host cities starting at the Tokyo summer Olympics next year. The athletes, however, will continue to stay in the Olympic Village during the games.
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Exchange-traded funds have exploded in popularity. They offer a cheap and easy way for investors to buy and trade diverse baskets of assets. But the rise of ETFs has introduced new risks for investors, innovation, and market stability.
African fintech is banking a continent. With around 66% of adults in Africa unbanked, the emerging industry has a huge opportunity to drive financial inclusion outside of traditional banking systems. However, there’s growing evidence that digital lending has led to a spike in personal debt. Check the receipts with the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of Debate
Superheroes are the only way to sell female-led action movies. Captain Marvel and Wonder Women succeeded where Charlie’s Angels failed because men love comics.
Virtual Reality is too boring. Developers haven’t given users a good reason to leave their realities behind.
Conservation efforts should consider the human impact. The most radical proposals would displace millions of mostly poor people.
Apple flour makes cookies healthier. If you dry out the leftover bits from juicing an apple, you get a fiber-rich wheat replacement that still tastes “acceptable.”
NASA found water on one of Jupiter’s moons. It’s a good indication that there’s a vast liquid ocean—and possibly life—under Europa’s icy shell.
A slippery toilet coating could be crucial during droughts. The spray reduces friction and allows you to flush with half the water.
The world is getting windier. The trend should hold for at least another decade and boost renewable energy production.
A money-laundering expert got caught laundering money. A professor who wrote a book on organized crime was charged with laundering illicit funds from Venezuela.
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