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Quartz Daily Brief—Box’s IPO, Madoff’s staff convicted, Russia booted, Twitter quitters

By Quartz Staff

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Obamacare stipulations go on trial. Do for-profit corporations have a right to religious freedom, and can the government override it? The Supreme Court begins hearing arguments over whether two companies can refuse to cover emergency contraceptives in their staff’s health insurance policies.

The party’s over for Carnival. The Miami-based cruise line known for its recent mishaps is set to fall into the red this quarter (paywall), due to an expensive marketing push and rising costs. Investors will be watching out for Carnival’s growth plans after it doubled its presence in China last year.

Walgreens’ green shoots. The US pharmacy chain is set to post a profit growth after cutting costs and increasing prescriptions filled, showing that customers are returning after its messy fiasco with Express Scripts. Investors will be looking for hints as to how the drugstore plans to capitalize on new opportunities such as Obamacare.

NASA and Russian astronauts head for space. The Soyuz 38 rocket blasts off from Kazakhstan, taking three astronauts the six-hour journey to the International Space Station, where they will stay for a six-month mission. You can watch live coverage of the take-off here.

A German lesson for the Koreas. South Korean president Park Geun-hye heads to Germany to meet with politicians versed in its experience of reunification. During the four-day trip, Park is expected to announce details of her push for unification with North Korea, one of her priority policies.

A new phone from HTC. After a teasing tweet saying “The best is about to get better,” the Taiwanese company will unveil the successor to its HTC One smartphone, called the M8—or the HTC One Two. Here’s a round-up of all the release run-up rumors.

While you were sleeping

Box filed for its IPO. The cloud-based file storage and sharing company filed for a listing on the NYSE that will raise $250 million. The IPO prospectus shows revenues are on the rise (more than doubling from 2012 to 2013), but it hasn’t yet turned profitable.

Madoff employees were convicted of conspiracy. A federal jury in New York found five former employees of Bernie Madoff guilty of conspiring to help him carry out the $65 billion Ponzi scheme that landed him a 150-year prison sentence and cost investors up to $20 billion. They each face decades in prison (paywall).

Icahn entrenched himself in Herbalife. Representatives of activist investor Carl Icahn now occupy five of Herbalife’s 13 board seats (paywall) after three of the company’s directors announced their retirement. The news sent shares in Herbalife, which is facing regulatory scrutiny, up by 8%.

MH370 was declared lost. New information from satellite firm Inmarsat has narrowed the suspected location of the missing flight to a 200-mile-wide area in the southern Indian Ocean, west of Perth. Malaysian authorities concluded that the plane crashed, killing all 239 people on board.

Russia was kicked out of the G8. World leaders decided to suspend Russia from the club as Ukrainian troops said their goodbyes and withdrew from Crimea—but Russia’s foreign minister seemed unfazed, saying that the G20 is where the important stuff happens. Meanwhile, France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, cut 1,600 Ukrainian jobs, or 20% of its workforce, amid mounting unrest.

Egypt condemned hundreds to death. An Egyptian court sentenced to death 529 people associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who were charged with riotous violence, including killing a police officer, last summer. Sixteen people were acquitted in the trial, which lasted less than two days.

Quartz obsession interlude

Nick Stockton on how your phone will soon be better at you at reading people’s emotions. “[R]esearchers asked 170 subjects whether the expressions of pain shown on faces in a series of videos were real or faked. They found that the humans’ collective empathetic ability was about the same as a coin flip—they read the expressions correctly only 50% of the time… With the same footage, the computer program could see which people were in real pain 85% of the time.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

We need a better way of dealing with bankrupt countries. Argentina’s debt saga is a perfect example of why.

CEO pay-offs are actually getting smaller. Symantec CEO Steve Bennett got $14 million for being fired, but don’t let that fool you.

Finding Flight MH370 could quickly become very difficult. The currents in the Southern Ocean where it’s thought to have crashed will rapidly disperse the debris.

Big-time venture capital has come to Europe. London and Berlin are leading the charge.

Hong Kong’s stock exchange should hold firm to its tight regulations. Even though they lost the bourse the Alibaba IPO.

Stop bragging about how busy you are. It just makes you—and everyone around you—more stressed.

Surprising discoveries

This man is giving his £1 million PR company away. He’d rather be a full-time dad.

Banks can’t seem to get social media right. 87% of consumers think banks are boring or annoying on social media.

The fatter a company’s annual report, the shakier its stock price. These professors crunched the numbers on every annual report filed with the SEC since 1994.

Pushy parents can drag down a child’s grades. Tiger parenting just makes a kid more anxious.

Some Americans want Alaska to secede and join Russia. An online petition has more than 18,000 signatures.

Why people quit Twitter. Most people said they’re getting the same information elsewhere, while others just forgot they had signed up.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, fat annual reports, and last tweets to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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