Syria peace talks, G20 riots, gluten-free Holy Communion

Good morning, Quartz readers!


A new round of Syria peace talks kicks off. The UN-sponsored talks, held in Geneva, are aimed at forming a transitional government and crafting counterterrorism strategies. The previous six rounds have yielded little progress, and a ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia on Friday has shifted focus to their negotiations.

Amazon Prime Day is here. The e-commerce giant’s third annual sales bonanza starts at 9pm ET, promising hundreds of thousands of deals to members in 13 countries. Amazon has used the event to add Prime subscribers, who tend to be its most valuable customers. If you plan to shop, check out Quartz’s guide here.

The US releases numbers on consumer credit for May. In April consumer borrowing saw its smallest increase in nearly six years, with the rise of $8.2 billion falling far below the expected $17 billion. Estimates for May call for a gain of $13.35 billion.


Uneven income distribution is the elephant in the room.Globalization’s disproportionate impact on the worldwide income distribution explains much about rising protectionist sentiments. The effects of this deglobalization have the potential to transform economies around the world.


Protests against the G20 meeting turned violent. Stores were looted, Molotov cocktails thrown, and more than 400 police officers injured during an hours-long riot a mile from the global summit. Hamburg has long been a hot spot for anarchist protests, and the G20 meetings tend to draw anti-globalization protestors.

Donald Trump sided with Vladimir Putin… The US presidentchose Putin’s word over the CIA and FBI on whether Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Trump’s stance is likely to further divide the White House and the intelligence community. Meanwhile, three Republican senators slammed Trump’s proposal to have the US form a “cyber security unit” with Russia.

…And his son admitted to meeting a Russian lawyer promising helpful information during the 2016 election. Donald Trump Jr. said the encounter took place weeks after his father secured the GOP nomination, reported the New York Times (paywall). The Kremlin-connected attorney reportedly offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Iraq’s prime minister celebrated a victory over ISIL in Mosul.Haider al-Abadi congratulated the armed forces for bringing an end to jihadist rule in Mosul, the city the Islamic State declared its “caliphate” three years ago. Thousands of people have died and nearly 1 million have been displaced by the battle for the city.

Volkswagen knew cheating on emissions could cost it. A VW manager warned top executives that cheating on diesel emissions could cost up to $18.5 billion nearly a month before the company’s investors found out. VW admitted to having used a “defeat device” to trick regulators about diesel pollution in September 2015.

Elon Musk shared a glimpse of Tesla’s Model 3. Musk tweeted images of the Model 3, Tesla’s first mass-market electric car, after it came off the assembly line. The car will sell for as little as $35,000, nearly half the price of the Model S.


Ephrat Livni on dealing with information overload and “infobesity.” “Infobesity, a widespread problem, can be managed by balancing your diet. Try just reading an article without checking text messages or listening to music. Don’t multitask and don’t play a podcast while working. Think of your focus as a precious resource; protect it like a national forest.” Read more here.


The G20 is the closest thing we have to a world government.It’s theatrical, undemocratic, and nonbinding, but in an increasingly globalized world it’s also our best stage for addressing universal human challenges.

We think about the future of technology wrong. Many world-changing inventions—like toilet paper—are hiding in plain sight. We should pay more attention to them (paywall).

Men should worry about their biological clocks. Women have been the sole focus of declining fertility for too long, but old spermcan also be dangerous.


Gluten-free bread can’t be used for Holy Communion. The Vatican ruled that bread used in the Eucharist must have enough protein so additives aren’t needed. GMOs are OK, though.

Climate change may wipe out emperor penguins by 2100. A new model focused on migration and foraging behavior predicts all their habitats will be inhospitable by the end of the century.

Qatar’s crisis messed up the supply chain for helium. The nation produces 25% of the world’s supply, but Saudi Arabia and the UAE cut off a crucial delivery route.

Scientists made a battery-free cellphone. The prototype uses ambient power from radio signals and light to send its signal to a base station.

A $6.7 billion Silicon Valley real-estate project may be built on landfill. The complex would sit on top of 5.5 million tons (5 million metric tons) of municipal waste.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, helium balloons, and battery-free cellphones You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.



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