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Jeff Bezos offered NASA $2 billion to be reconsidered for a key contract. His rival Elon Musk originally won the right to build a moon landing vehicle, but Bezos filed an objection.
Tesla reported its first $1 billion-plus quarter. The electric car-maker beat investor expectations with a record net income in the second quarter of 2021.
The US is keeping its Covid-19 travel restrictions. Despite pleas from the travel industry and allies, the White House will continue to block non-US citizens arriving from destinations including the UK, EU, China, India, and Brazil.
US-China talks started with “stiff competition,” and ended in “stalemate.” Top diplomats from the two countries held another acrimonious meeting as China continued to fall short of its trade obligations.
The final victim of the Surfside building collapse was identified. Estelle Hedaya, 54, is the 98th person confirmed to have died in the Florida disaster last month.
What to watch for
A Hong Kong activist awaits sentencing after judges delivered the first verdict under the national security law today—they found Tong Ying-kit, 24, guilty of terrorism and inciting secession.
The defendant: The charges against Ying-kit are vaguely defined, but punishable by life imprisonment. He collided with police while riding a motorcycle in 2020, and was also charged with dangerous driving. He had pleaded not guilty.
A key question: Judges determined that the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” is inherently secessionist. The words were on a flag Tong flew on his motorbike. Witnesses and lawyers spent days debating the phrase.
Unexpected argument: Demonstrating the transnational nature of protest movements, the trial debated the legacy of Malcolm X. Prosecutors argued that the famed Black leader of the US civil rights movement was a separatist.
Charting demand for rare earth
The biggest rare earths producer outside China, Australia’s Lynas, saw its share price hit an eight-year high after reporting record revenue. The result points to rising demand for minerals used in high-tech applications, like neodymium-praseodymium (say that five times fast). It also highlights the geopolitical stress being put on the traditional supply chain for obtaining these substances as western nations seek to reduce their reliance on Chinese producers.
Everyone agrees: The world needs to stop burning coal to fight climate change. But everyone—or at least everyone at last week’s meeting of G20 environmental ministers—can’t agree on a deadline to phase out the controversial fuel. That sets up a clash at the next UN Climate Change conference in November, pitting India, Russia, and China against wealthier economies that want to transition away from coal more quickly. Quartz members can read about what that will mean for the future of the planet.
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Want to know more about each nation’s Olympic superpower? Keep tabs with our free newsletter, Need to Know: Tokyo Olympics.
The Philippines won its first Olympic gold. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz took home the prize after hoisting a record 224 kg (494 lbs) in two lifts.
The road will recharge your car. A German company developing magnetized concrete is working with the US government to test its ability to power heavy trucks.
NASA spotted water on one of Jupiter’s moons. Ganymede is the latest solar system destination where evidence of water has been found, this time by the Hubble space telescope.
This beetle walks on water. Upside-down.
Starbucks is America’s bathroom. The accidental privatization of public toilets points to a more disturbing trend.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, US-China tension reducers, and magnetized road surfaces to email@example.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Tim Fernholz, Mary Hui, Jane Li, Tim McDonnell, and Liz Webber.
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