Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Donald Trump meets with NATO leaders in Brussels. The organization that the US president once called “obsolete” is pulling out all the stops with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new headquarters, followed by a ceremonial dinner. Trump will also participate in a European Union meet-and-greet.
Aboriginal Australians discuss constitutional recognition.During a three-day meeting at the sacred landmark of Uluru, leaders will hammer out a plan to be presented to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. That could lead to a referendum to make changes to Australia’s constitution.
OPEC meets to discuss its production-cut agreement. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to recommend (paywall) a nine-month extension to an agreement that expires in June. The pact doesn’t seem to be working: Prior to the meeting, oil prices fell to just $55 a barrel, thanks in large part to US shale drillers.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
The US challenged Beijing’s claim in the South China Sea. In the first such action under Trump, the US sent a warship within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly archipelago’s Mischief Reef, atop of which China has built one of its militarized artificial islands. The move was long expected. Going against international law and norms, Chinaclaims nearly all of the sea as its own.
Protesters set fire to a Brazilian ministry. Tens of thousands of demonstrators calling for president Michel Temer’s removal clashed with riot police, resulting in widespread damage to government buildings in the capital, Brasilia. Temer deployed the army to restore order. Demonstrators believe he condoned paying off a potential witness in a massive corruption probe.
A Republican candidate for US Congress was charged for body-slamming a reporter. Greg Gianforte, running for Montana’s lone House seat in a special election, allegedly attacked (paywall) Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the Guardian, during a final rally on the eve of today’s vote. An audio recording reveals the nominee saying “I’m sick and tired of you guys!” followed by the sounds of a physical struggle.
The US charged seven people with economic espionage. The defendants, including four Americans, allegedly stole trade secretsfrom a Texas-based marine technology firm and shared the information with a Chinese company. A day earlier, a Chinese womanwas arrested for sending restricted US space and military communications technology to Hong Kong.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Tim Fernholz explains Trump’s $2 trillion accounting error.“Here’s the problem. You’re counting on the tax cuts generating $2 trillion in extra revenues to compensate for the cost of the tax cuts. You’re also counting on them generating $2 trillion in extra revenues to help close the deficit. That $2 trillion can’t do both jobs at once.”Read more here.
Downgraded China / Isn’t dejected. But it’s / Degrading Moody’s
MATTERS OF DEBATE
We can’t let ISIL shape the news. Media coverage of terrorist atrocities is playing right into the Islamist group’s hands.
For all the chest-thumping, India cannot win a conflict against Pakistan. “War is a strange game, in which the only winning move is not to play.”
The alt-right is weaponizing irony to support its fascist agenda. Humor and ambiguity are some of the movement’s favorite tactics.
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A German heavy-metal festival is building its own beer pipeline. The 75,000 Wacken Open Air attendees are expected to drink about 5.3 liters of beer each.
Psychedelic mushrooms are the safest drugs for getting high.Just 0.2% of users needed medical attention in a recent survey.
Norway’s central bank has created an ode to cod. The ridiculously catchy music video promotes a new cod-themed banknote.
A Chinese company is offering free training for US coal miners to become wind farmers. In the fittingly named Carbon County, Wyoming, no less.
Flamingos are more steady on one leg than two. They can effortlessly maintain the pose while sleeping—and even when dead.
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