Good morning, Q-MHI readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND
The G20 summit begins… Host Angela Merkel’s political skills will be tested today and tomorrow by some notoriously aggressive world leaders, including Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Climate change is on the agenda for this afternoon’s session—a topic the US president may not want to discuss.
…and all eyes are on Trump and Putin’s meeting. The G20’s most anticipated meeting has no set agenda, but the two leaders could discuss anything from North Korea to the thornier topic of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
A crucial US jobs report. As hopes of a “Trump bump” are fading (paywall), economists project that the US economy added about 172,000 jobs in June—slightly above average for Trump’s presidency thus far—and that the unemployment rate held steady at 4.3%.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
China’s first aircraft carrier sailed into Hong Kong. It’s the first trip for the Liaoning outside of mainland China and comes shortly after Hong Kong marked 20 years since its the handover to Chinese rule. The ship’s presence is seen as show of force to both China’s military rivals and to Hong Kong, where there is growing unease over Beijing’s authority in the city.
Tesla won a contract to build the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery in Australia. Elon Musk will partner with French energy company Neoen to build a giant 129MWh battery to store renewable energy in South Australia. The Australian state has been suffering from repeated power blackouts.
Samsung delivered record quarterly results. Preliminary numbers showed that operating profit in the second quarter hit $12 billion, thanks to strong demand for semiconductors and the new Galaxy S8 phone. Analysts think Samsung’s profit in the quarter could surpass Apple’s.
Hackers targeted US nuclear power plants… According to a report by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security obtained by the New York Times (paywall), hackers working for a foreign government—Russia is the main suspect—seemed to be mapping out computer networks for future attacks. The bureaus said there was no threat to public safety.
… And Mondelez said cyber-attacks hurt its bottom line. The snack maker said revenue growth in the second quarter will be cut by three percentage points because a cyber attack on June 27 affected its logistics and invoicing. Multiple companies around the world were targeted by the ransomware attack on that day.
Q-MHI OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Katherine Foley on teaching AI to forget. “Machine learning today isn’t great at knowing when it should hold on to old information… Programmers are experimenting with algorithms that teach machines to learn when to keep and connect old information to newer experiences, and when to let them go.”
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Cruise ships have a sexual assault problem. The absence of law enforcement on “floating cities” creates a dangerous culture of impunity.
Don’t congratulate powerful men who admit to hurting women. Mere displays of decency from Jay-Z and Dave McClure aren’t particularly brave.
North Korea really isn’t that isolated. The “hermit kingdom” has diplomatic ties with 164 countries (paywall) and does business with many nations, despite sanctions.
One town handles 80% of the African ivory smuggled into China. Smuggling has long been a lucrative trade for family businesses in Shuidong.
Pokémon Go is a wasteland. One year after the augmented-reality game was released, four out of five players have given it up.
A self-sacrificing English village stopped the spread of bubonic plague. Eyam in Derbyshire closed itself off in 1665 and paid a heavy toll.
Amazon wants to encourage drunk shopping. For its next trick, the online retail giant is developing an in-house winery.
Japan is on high alert for fire ants. The remains of a queen of the invasive species, probably transported by a Chinese cargo ship, was recently spotted in Osaka’s port.