Quartz Daily Brief—Israel’s election, Apple’s TV plans, Pinterest’s valuation, Merkel’s robot handshakes

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What to watch for today

Israel votes. If the opinion polls have it right, this could be the end of the road for prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s long, controversial career. Isaac Herzog’s center-left Zionist Union alliance has maintained a small lead as Netanyahu has ramped up his rhetoric against Palestinians and Iran.

The US Federal Reserve convenes. The central bank’s two-day meeting will conclude with an official announcement Wednesday. The key question: will the Fed finally bump up rates (paywall)?

J Sainsbury reports more grim supermarket sales. Big UK supermarkets are under attack from low-priced competitors and are enmeshed in a price war. Sainsbury’s like-for-like sales are expected to fall for the fifth straight quarter.

Flights between New York and Cuba begin. Just a few week after relations between the US and Cuba began to thaw, Cuba Travel Services will start selling an $849 round-trip ticket between New York’s JFK and Havana.

While you were sleeping

European countries flocked to China’s development bank. France, Germany, and Italy will join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, according to the Financial Times (paywall), and Australia is rethinking its earlier refusal. Washington has tried to convince its western allies to spurn China’s rival to the US-led World Bank, and expressed anger at Britain’s decision to join last week.

The Bank of Japan predicted 0% inflation this year. The central bank said low energy prices will hamper its efforts to spur inflation (paywall), and left its aggressive monetary policy in place, confirming plans to buy 80 trillion yen ($659 billion) of assets per year.

Apple is preparing a TV streaming service… The tech giant is planning to offer subscribers around 25 channels for $30-$40 per month beginning in the autumn, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Content from CBS, Fox, and ABC is expected to be part of the package—but not NBC, whose corporate parent Comcast is feuding with Apple.

…And an Android trade-in scheme. Apple will buy back non-Apple devices in an attempt to boost sales of its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, according to Bloomberg, as it attempts to consolidate its market share gains against companies like Samsung. The company will also accept Blackberrys.

Pinterest raised funds at an $11 billion valuation. The image-based social network site raised $367 million to help fuel its international expansion. The implied valuation is more than double the company’s worth a year ago.

Uber’s finance chief stepped down. Brent Callinicos will remain an adviser to the firm (paywall), but Uber wants another CFO to take the company “to the next level.” That spurred plenty of talk about potential IPO preparations.

Quartz obsession interlude

Max Nisen on the fine art of the workplace haggle. “Asking for a raise is one of the most fraught parts of a working life, a process maniacally Googled and agonized over with friends. Advice is often conflicting. Don’t give your number first, or always do. Start with a number you don’t really expect to get, or ask for nothing at all. A frequent piece of advice, enshrined in one of the standard business school texts on negotiation, is to avoid giving a salary range, because an opponent or manager will seize on the low end.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Al Gore should run for president. The former vice-president could revive the Democratic Party with a rallying cry to save the environment.

Living forever would be great—if you were rich. It would be a long slog if you were stuck working a crappy job for centuries.

The world can’t get more prosperous forever. Constant GDP growth would eventually require so much energy that the oceans would boil.

“Hands up, don’t shoot” was built on a lie. Marching under the banner of a false narrative betrays the quest for justice.

Mariupol must be saved. The Ukrainian port is the lynchpin for Putin’s plan to create “Novorossiya” along the Black Sea.

Surprising discoveries

Angela Merkel loves shaking hands with robots. The German chancellor has also been known to pat them awkwardly.

McDonald’s managers told employees to treat burns with ketchup. And also with mustard and mayo, according to a labor group lawsuit.

Eric Schmidt is an interrupter of women. Things got awkward (paywall) during a panel on gender inequality in the tech world.

Etsy is causing a schism in the online witchcraft community. Is it ethical to sell spells online?

Egypt wants to build a new capital. The plan to replace Cairo, its capital for the last 1,000 years, would cost an estimated $45 billion.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Merkel robot theories, and condiment-based burn treatments to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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