Quartz Daily Brief—China stimulus odds, MH370 families protest, NSA data revamp, successful dance moves

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Do corporations have a right to religious freedom? The US Supreme Court will consider whether two companies can refuse to cover emergency contraceptives in their staff’s health insurance policies.

US and Russian astronauts head for space. The Soyuz 38 rocket blasts off from Kazakhstan, taking three astronauts on a six-hour journey to the International Space Station. You can watch live coverage of the take-off here at 9:21 pm GMT.

The party’s over for Carnival. The Miami-based cruise line is set to fall into the red this quarter (paywall), due to a string of mishaps, an expensive marketing push, and rising costs. One possible bright spot is in China, where the company doubled its presence last year.

Walgreens’ green shoots. The US pharmacy chain is set to post higher profits after cutting costs and increasing prescription volume, showing that customers are returning after its messy fiasco with Express Scripts.

A German lesson for Korea. South Korean president Park Geun-hye will announce details of her plan to eventually merge the two Koreas, in a country well-versed in national reunification.

While you were sleeping

China’s stimulus odds narrowed. The country’s slowdown could get worse in the second quarter, economists warned, increasing the likelihood that the government will have to take further action to meet its 7.5% growth target.

MH370 families protested in Beijing. After the missing Malaysian Airlines plane was declared lost in the south Indian Ocean, distraught relatives of the passengers took to the streets outside of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, accusing the Kuala Lumpur government of “cheating” them.

The NSA prepared to scrap bulk data collection. US president Barack Obama said the National Security Agency would cease mass collection of telephone records, which will only be obtainable from phone companies under a court order.

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 more than doubled last year, but the company is not yet 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 Ponzi scheme that cost investors up to $20 billion. They each face decades in prison (paywall).

Carl Icahn dug into Herbalife. Representatives of the activist investor now occupy five of Herbalife’s 13 board seats (paywall). The news sent shares in Herbalife up by 8%.

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

E-cigarettes don’t help you quit smoking. And they shouldn’t be allowed to say they do until they can prove it.

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

Big-time venture capital has arrived in Europe. London and Berlin are leading the charge.

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

Surprising discoveries

There is an Ebola-like virus in Canada. One man is suffering from the unidentified hemorrhagic fever, after spending time in Liberia.

Moving your torso impresses ladies on the dance floor. Guys, it doesn’t matter what you do with your arms.

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

The bigger the annual report, the shakier the stock price. Professors crunched the numbers on every US annual report filed since 1994.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, oversize annual reports, and winning dance moves to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.