Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Global leaders meet in Laos. Participants at the three-day long regional ASEAN summit are expected to avoid mention of a recent ruling invalidating China’s claims to the South China Sea. As part of a foreign diplomacy “pivot” to Asia, Barack Obama will attend, becoming the first sitting US president to visit the country.
Oil producers get together. Stakeholders in the global energy market kick off conferences in New York, Calgary, and Singapore. Executives, economists, and researchers will discuss everything from the price of pipeline obstruction to the future of fracking.
A Bayer-Monsanto tie-up. The two agriculture and chemical giants are reportedly close to reaching an agreement on price, after Bayer raised its offer to over $65 billion.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Rodrigo Duterte apologized, sort of. The Philippines president said he regretted that his calling Barack Obama a “son of a bitch” came across as a “personal attack.” The two leaders were set to meet in Laos, but the US White House cancelled the meeting after Duterte’s original comment was reported.
Talk of an oil pact sent stocks on a wild ride. News that Saudi Arabian and Russian leaders had agreed at the G20 meeting in China to cooperate on stabilizing the oil market (paywall) caused oil prices to rally, with gains extending into trading in Asia.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on Kabul…Thetwo explosions near the Afghan defense ministry killed 24 people and injured as many as 90.
…while ISIL said it was behind a wave of bombings in Syria. At least 40 people were killed in four separate attacks in government-held areas. The attacks all took place within an hour, with the deadliest outside Tartous, home to a Russian naval base.
Calais residents called for “The Jungle” to close.Demonstrators caused major transport disruptions in protest over the French government’s failure to close the refugee camp, which now houses an estimated 10,000 migrants and refugees.
SPONSOR CONTENT BY MANDARIN ORIENTAL
Write what you know. Author Frederick Forsyth reflects on how his time as an RAF pilot and a European foreign correspondent during the cold war inspired his bestselling thrillers. Read the interview.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Zhai Yun Tan on why scientists are digging through a giant collection of human waste. “In the freezers of Arizona State University’s Human Health Observatory (H2O) lab are rows upon rows of jars, some white, some translucent with black chunks of solid inside. They’re part of a novel effort by scientists who believe you can tell the health of a community by looking at its sewers and tapping into the wealth of information stored in human waste.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
The internet has become a cage. The virtual world, once lauded as a technology of emancipation, has made humans dependent and distracted.
Americans need to learn more foreign languages. Makingbilingualism a priority for the US again could have far-reaching positive effects at home and abroad.
Doctors shouldn’t just focus on keeping their patients alive.Other aspects of feeling ‘well’—like their ability to enjoy food and water—are also critical.
Montreal’s online porn industry is booming. Tech entrepreneurs are finding gold in the unsexy business-to-business side of the industry.
Cats like to work. New research shows felines are happier and healthier when “food puzzles” help them follow their foraging instincts.
Food technology companies have a new name for lab-grown “meat.” They want to rebrand their products “clean food” to avoid creeping out consumers.
Hollywood celebs share a rattlesnake wrangler. Bo Slyapitchremoves natural predators from movie sets and mansion grounds.
Bees buzz with purpose. Sometimes it’s to release pollen from flowers, and they innately know (paywall) when to do it.
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