#Merkel’s post-#Brexit tour, Typhoon #Mindulle, empathetic Danes

Good morning, Quartz readers!


John Kerry travels to Nigeria, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia. The US secretary of state will meet with foreign ministers on issues ranging from counterterrorism to economic stability. Meanwhile, US president Barack Obama will visit flood-damaged Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where at least 13 people have died and thousands have lost their homes.

The US commerce department reports on sales of new homes in July. Economists surveyed expect a 2% drop from last month, but that would still leave sales of single-family homes slightly above their second-quarter average—and indicate the recovery is still intact.

Remembering the victims of slavery. UNESCO’s “International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition”marks a 1791 uprising of slaves in Haiti that became a turning point for the establishment of universal human rights. Researchers estimate that today some 21 million people remain in slavery.


Angela Merkel began her post-Brexit tour. The German chancellor kicked off a week of intense diplomacy with core EU allies, including Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and French president Francois Hollande. The meetings are part of her preparation for a summit of 27 EU countries in September to discuss the future of European integration. The UK isn’t invited.

Typhoon Mindulle struck Japan. Two deaths and dozens of injuries were reported amid heavy rains and strong winds. Authoritiescanceled hundreds of flights to and from Tokyo (which took a direct hit), warned of flooding and landslides, and evacuated a commuter train that tilted after the earth beneath the rails gave way.

More fallout for Ryan Lochte. A week after Lochte was accused by Brazilian authorities of lying about an alleged robbery in Rio, Speedo announced it was cutting ties with the US swimmer, calling his behavior counter to the brand’s values. Three other companies—Ralph Lauren, Syneron-Candela, and Airweave—quickly followed suit.

The Philippines counted the toll of its war on drugs. President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to rid the country of drug dealers when he took office in June. Since then, more than 700 people have been killed in drug-related police operations, and over a thousand have been murdered by vigilantes, the country’s top police official announced.


Calm markets ease up,
Greater wealth is shared by all,
But mostly Bill Gates


Anne Quito on fixing the most annoying feature of video calls.“Office workers who embrace the flexibility and productivity of working from home frequently rely on videoconferencing services to ‘call in’ to meetings—only to be distracted by their own physical flaws, bad hair days, and under-eye circles, which appear with awful clarity on screen. For the designers trying to fix it, this nagging distraction even has a name: the appearance barrier.” Read more here.


Destroying history should be a war crime. The trial of an Islamist fighter charged with ruining parts of the fabled city of Timbuktuacknowledges the sanctity of our cultural heritage.

Women drink to deal with sexism. Society’s unrealistic expectations and ingrained misogyny are driving women to the bottle.

TV shows are terrible at showing text exchanges. Directors need to cut the cheesy phone screen and emoji shots, and trust viewers to connect the dots.


Hey Siri, it’s Streisand, not Streizand. Tim Cook agreed to fix the pronunciation by Apple’s personal assistant of the iconic singer’s name after Streisand called him to complain.

Japan sells the most physical music in the world. The island nation’s large aging population, averse to digital downloads, prefers to browse its 6,000 music stores.

Ramen noodles have replaced cigarettes as a prison commodity. Food cost cuts in overcrowded US prisons are making the noodles a prized currency.

Nikola Tesla dreamed up killer drones a century ago. The inventor outlined a destructive wireless drone-like device in an 1898 patent filing.

Empathy training is a vital part of Denmark’s national curriculum. Schoolchildren learn to process their emotional responses in weekly sessions.

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