Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
The UN Security Council holds an emergency meeting. At the request of the US, the 15-member body will hold a closed-door session to discuss options regarding North Korea. The US militaryhas confirmed that North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic yesterday, and experts believe all of Alaska is now within range.
Microsoft shakes things up. The tech giant is shifting its focus to the cloud, and cutting 4% of its workforce as part of a restructuring due to be presented to investors. The company employed 114,000 people at the end of its latest fiscal year.
The Fed releases minutes from an important meeting. The record of June’s meeting, where the Fed raised rates for a second time in 2017, will be closely scrutinized for clues about when the next hike will come. Analysts currently put the odds of a September increase at 50%.
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Volvo said all new models launched from 2019 will be fully electric or hybrids. Among major traditional automakers, it’s now the first to set a date for the complete phase-out of combustion-engine-only models. Volvo has been owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group since 2010.
South Korea sees a high possibility of a sixth nuclear test by North Korea. Defense minister Han Min-koo told lawmakers he expects a test to be conducted soon. North Korea meanwhile claimed that its newly demonstrated ICBM is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
China invited foreign doctors to treat Liu Xiaobo. In what looked to be a softening stance ahead of the G20 meeting in Germany starting Friday, authorities said medical experts from the US and Germany could help treat the dissident Nobel laureate for cancer. Liu was jailed in 2009 after calling for political reforms—or, as Beijing described it, “inciting subversion of state power.”
Car sales in Canada hit a new record. In a first, over a million vehicles were sold in the first half of the year, even as sales in the US fell for a sixth consecutive month (paywall). June was also a new record for Canada, with over 203,000 cars sold, a jump of 6.5% from the previous year. The strong performance could prompt the central bank to raise interest rates.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Jordan Rosenfeld on the link between boredom and creativity:“If we turn straight to Candy Crush or Twitter whenever we feel bored, we might rush right past an important observation or chat online with friends all day instead of looking for a better, more challenging job. Being bored, according to scientists, is good for both the creative process and motivation.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Is this the end of Silicon Valley’s male elite? Sexual harassment scandals are toppling powerful execs in the valley, where sexism has long been a known problem.
Brexit is a retreat, not a liberation. Britain’s ambivalent attitude toward the EU ignores the project’s enduring value.
The US president has too much power. Trump’s erratic behavior is causing bipartisan concern about constitutional separation of powers.
Picky poodles are to thank for Thailand’s best-performing stock. Asian Seafoods Coldstorage, which owns a range of premium pet food brands, is up 200% so far this year.
A retired Japanese policeman holds the record for Hello Kitty memorabilia. Masao Gunji’s 5,000-piece collection was recognized by Guinness World Records.
Ancient Roman concrete holds the key to improving modern construction. It could be both more durable and eco-friendly than contemporary building techniques.
Chimpanzee diets could help scientists find the cure for cancer. Compounds from plants that primates seek out in their “jungle pharmacy” have shown signs of inhibiting some diseases’ development.
A pest infestation produced the most famous desktop background of all time. A lush grass carpet is not what Napa Valley grape growers had in mind for the scene made ubiquitous by Microsoft Windows XP.
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