Christchurch sentencing, Navalny in Germany, cat mummies

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Here’s what you need to know

A sentencing hearing for the Christchurch terrorist begins. The gunman, who killed 51 people in two New Zealand mosques last year, could face life in prison, possibly without parole.

Alexei Navalny is in stable condition. The Russian opposition politician, who was evacuated to a German hospital on Saturday after suffering a suspected poisoning, is undergoing further tests. The Kremlin critic was reportedly under extensive government surveillance during a trip to Siberia last week.

Protesters flooded Minsk. An estimated 100,000 people packed Independence Square and adjacent streets in open defiance of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, who has refused to cede power. In Lithuania, thousands formed a human chain from the capital Vilnius to the border of Belarus, in a show of support for protesters on the 31st anniversary of the Baltic Way.

Mark Zuckerberg raised the alarm about TikTok. Over a private dinner with US president Donald Trump last October, according to the Wall Street Journal, the tech executive argued that the rise of Chinese internet companies threatens US businesses and should be a bigger concern than regulating Facebook. He also discussed TikTok specifically with several senators.

Kellyanne Conway is leaving the White House. One of Trump’s longest-serving counsellors announced she will leave her post at the end of the month, while her husband George Conway, an outspoken critic of the president, said he will step back from anti-Trump group Lincoln Project. Both cited a need to focus on their family.

What to watch for

Monday: The US Republican National Convention kicks off. The US secretary of state arrives in Jerusalem for a regional tour, while his deputy begins a trip to Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine to discuss Belarus. A new round of Syrian peace talks kicks off in Geneva.

Tuesday: The Italian foreign minister meets his Chinese counterpart in Rome. Virgin Atlantic’s bailout package faces a crunch vote at London’s High Court.

Wednesday: Greece ratifies an accord with Egypt on maritime boundaries, in a deal that has angered Turkey, which claims the deal infringes its own claims over the east Mediterranean.

Thursday: Central bankers from around the world gather for the first virtual Jackson Hole symposium, including a keynote speech from Fed chair Jerome Powell. Donald Trump accepts the Republican presidential nomination at the White House.

Friday: Political advisors to the heads of the “Normandy Four”—Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France—meet for negotiations on the Donbass region. The US publishes personal income and spending data.

Saturday: The Tour de France begins in Nice, with strict coronavirus protocols for teams.

Sunday: Montenegro holds its parliamentary elections.

Obsession Interlude: Fixing capitalism

What does it mean to be obsessed with fixing capitalism? We asked deputy finance and economics editor Ana Campoy to explain it to us like we’re five…a very worldly five:

Capitalism has proven to be the most effective way to generate wealth—though far from evenly. Just ask the low-wage workers for whom going to work is now a life hazard, or no longer an option. While the pandemic has underscored the shortfalls of the world’s current iteration of capitalism (see just-in-time supply chain debacles and unequal access to healthcare, green spaces, the internet), there were plenty of signs the system was askew before Covid-19 hit. We saw it in the election of populist politicians who appealed to the economically dissatisfied. We also saw it when failures in the financial sector sunk the world into the Great Recession. We see it in the pervasive inequality between the rich and the poor among and within countries, and in our inability to put a meaningful dent on greenhouse gas emissions.

All this doesn’t mean capitalism has to be scrapped—some of its toughest critics are free marketeers. But there’s increasingly a sense, even among its biggest beneficiaries, that the current system has to be rejiggered if it is to survive.

Our Fixing Capitalism obsession is about pinpointing the rough spots, analyzing the forces behind them, and looking at potential solutions.

Here’s how to read more:

Charting US liquor imports during Covid-19

US liquor imports have fallen off the table.

Image for article titled Christchurch sentencing, Navalny in Germany, cat mummies

In the second quarter of 2020, the US brought in about $1.8 billion in liquor from abroad, down from $2.5 billion in 2019, a fall of nearly 30%. This is due to three main factors, according to spirits industry veteran Adam Levy. One, bars and restaurants across the US are either closed or seeing fewer customers due to Covid-19, impacting demand. Two, the Trump administration slapped a 25% tariff on European-made liquors in October 2019, which made importing these liquors more expensive. And three, Levy believes the rising quality and variety of US-made liquors have made Americans less likely to look to foreign brands.

Is studying at a US university still worth it? 

Around 1 million students from around the world—led by students from China and India—poured onto US campuses last year to get a dose of American culture and education. The country has consistently ranked as the most popular destination for international students due to the quality of its teaching, cultural appeal, revered and historic universities, and job prospects after graduating, especially in the tech sector. Some international students who go there want to build a life abroad, because they believe the standard of living is higher in the west. Some are mid-career professionals, who want to give their career and salaries a boost.

Image for article titled Christchurch sentencing, Navalny in Germany, cat mummies

The country benefits enormously from this exchange, says Rebecca Morgan, senior director of media relations and advocacy at NAFSA, a professional association focused on international education. “International students and scholars create jobs, drive innovation, enrich our classrooms, strengthen national security, and become America’s greatest foreign policy assets,” she said. “They also bring countless cultural and academic benefits to US campuses and communities.”

But foreign students currently considering whether to study in the US face a cocktail of concerns, from racism, to uncertainty around visa and job prospects after graduation, to the country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more in our field guide to higher ed going remote.

✦ Even if your student days are behind you, reading Quartz’s global news coverage ensures you’ll keep learning every day. Get 50% off your first year as a member by using code “SUMMERSALE.”

Surprising discoveries

Gamers are using Flight Simulator to visit Jeffrey Epstein’s lair. They’re flying to the digital version of his private island in Little St. James.

Japan is running out of credit card numbers. Issuing companies say 16-digit combinations are in short supply as people stay in and shop online due to the pandemic.

UK scientists “digitally unwrapped” mummified animals. New 3D scanners allowed the researchers to see how a 2,000-year-old snake, bird, and cat lived and died.

A Japanese museum is curating the pandemic. The Historical Museum of Urahoro is collecting everyday items to tell future generations about what it was like to live through Covid-19.

Germany put on crowded concerts to conduct pandemic research. The three pop gigs are part of a study to investigate the risks posed by mass indoor events.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, imported whiskies, and scientific raves to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Mary Hui, Isabella Steger, Annabelle Timsit, Sarah Todd, Jackie Bischof, and Dan Kopf.