Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND
North Korea may test another nuclear bomb. The US hasdeployed a radiation-sniffing aircraft to Okinawa, after satellite images showed a launch site “primed and ready” for the country’s sixth nuclear weapons test. North Korea’s vice foreign minister, meanwhile, told AP that the situation in the Korean peninsula remains stuck in a “vicious cycle,” and he criticized Trump for “making trouble” on Twitter.
Mike Pence heads east. Starting Saturday, the US vice president will visit South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia, as part of atour to discuss economic policies. Tensions may be high in Indonesia due to US assertions about trade abuses as well as Trump’s immigration policies.
Turkey decides whether to give Erdogan more power. A pivotal referendum will decide whether the country will end its parliamentary system in favor of an executive presidency. If president Recep Tayyip Erdogan succeeds, he will wield near-absolute power.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
The US dropped a massive bomb in Afghanistan. The 21,600-pound, non-nuclear MOAB is the biggest ordnance used in combat since the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan during World War II. It was dropped on an ISIL tunnel complex.
Russia withdrew from Eurovision. Moscow-based television station Channel One announced it would not broadcast the annual pop competition in response to Russian contestant Julia Samoylova’s ban from Ukraine, where the event takes place this year. The European Broadcasting Union, which organizes Eurovision, said Russia declined offers to let Samoylova perform via remote satellite.
The new CIA director blasted WikiLeaks in his first public address. Scott Pompeo, who president Trump picked to lead the agency soon after his electoral victory, described the organization as “a hostile intelligence service” and called its founder Julian Assange a “narcissist.” Pompeo added that his team has a “fantastic” relationship with Trump, who had long been a proponent of WikiLeaks—and a vocal critic of the CIA.
NASA found preconditions for life on one of Saturn’s icy moons. Data from the Cassini probe showed Enceladus has thecrucial elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. The discovery pushes the moon to the top of the list of places most worth searching for life on beyond Earth.
Nintendo rocked its most recent console launch. The Japanese gaming giant announced it sold 906,000 units of the Nintendo Switch in North America—more than any other Nintendo device in the company’s history. The strong start could mark a broader revival for Nintendo, which has recently suffered sinking sales and profits as consumers ditch home consoles for smartphone games.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Leah Fessler on the common thread between scandals at United and Thinx: “Each of these scandals arises from the same predicament: When companies place material success and self-interest over the essential values distinguishing them from competitors, things tend to head south. Fast.” Read more here.
Bombs fall, chaos reigns / But fear not: We can all move / to Saturn’s ice moon.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Myanmar’s human rights abuses aren’t all on Aung San Suu Kyi. The military deserves much of the blame.
Donald Trump always believes the last person he’s spoken with. It’s a trait that explains his recent policy reversals.
North Korea wants violence but not war. Historical documents suggest the regime views minimal military conflict as a deterrent to all-out war.
Scientists found a shrimp that kills fish with a sonic blast.Synalpheus pinkfloydi, named after the classic rock band, can create a sound louder than a rock show.
Instagram’s clone of Snapchat is now more popular than Snapchat. Instagram Stories has amassed 200 million daily users in eight months.
Women are leading Sunday mass in Portugal. A shortage of priests in the countryside requires volunteers, both male and female, to set up services.
Researchers have created an AI lounge singer. The nameless bot is no Mel Tormé, but it was trained on only 35 minutes of audio.
United’s newest headache: scorpions on a plane. A passenger was stung after the arachnid fell out of an overhead bin.
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