Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Facebook’s media plans, Asian manufacturing slows, Israel’s spying, holy pizza

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Silicon Valley’s discrimination case winds down. Closing arguments in the Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers case begin today. Pao, who is accusing her former employer of gender discrimination, is suing the venture capital firm for lost wages, future earnings, and punitive damages that could total $160 million.

Tunisia’s Bardo Museum reopens. The Tunis symphony orchestra will play a concert at the site of an attack that killed 20 tourists. Officials said they want to send a message that Islamic State-aligned gunmen “haven’t achieved their goal” of spreading terror in the country.

Afghanistan’s leaders visit the White House. President Ashraf Ghani and chief executive Abdullah Abdullah will sit down with Barack Obama to discuss security, the economy, and humanitarian support. Yesterday, Ghani thanked Americans for helping to fight the Taliban.

US consumer price data. The Labor Department is expected to show consumer prices rose 1.6% in February from a year earlier, and 0.2% from January. Low oil prices are likely to subdue prices.

While you were sleeping

H&M beat estimates despite a strong dollar. The world’s second-largest fashion retailer reported a pretax profit of 4.7 billion Swedish krona ($550 million) in its fiscal first quarter, up from 3.5 billion krona a year earlier. But the retailer warned that a strong dollar would lead to higher costs throughout the year.

Facebook made media plans. The social networking site is in talks with National Geographic, the New York Times, and other media companies about hosting their content directly on Facebook, the New York Times reports (paywall). Facebook plans to test the new format over the next several months.

Israel eavesdropped on Iran talks. Israel intercepted closed-door conversations between western powers and Iran about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and played them to US lawmakers, the Wall Street Journal reports. The aim was to undermine support for any deal in the US.

Good news from the euro zone. Markit’s preliminary purchasing managers’ index for the manufacturing and service sector rose to 54.1 in March from 53.3 in February, nearly a four-year high. That’s well above the 50.0 level that separates an expansion in commercial activity from contraction, and suggests the European Central Bank’s stimulus measures are kicking in.

Asia’s manufacturing sector slowed. The preliminary HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index for China, which measures small- and medium-sized companies, fell to 49.2 in March, an 11-month low, and down from 50.7 in February. In Japan, the preliminary Markit/JMMA PMI was 50.4 in March, down from 51.6 in February.

Petrobras got a ratings warning from Standard & Poors. The ratings agency reduced the outlook for Brazil’s national oil company to negative, from stable, and said that without state support the company would receive a junk rating. But S&P left Brazil’s national investment status at BBB-, the lowest investment grade.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on the music industry’s march to a different beat. “Should music ever be free? That was the inescapable topic of discussion among the hordes of recording-industry middlemen and hangers-on gathered for the music section of the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference last week. It’s a schism that has emerged just when it looked like subscription streaming services, such as Spotify, were bringing an end to the music industry’s years of economic pain.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China’s buy-out of Europe is dangerous. Buying national brands could be a Trojan horse to bring Chinese politics to the continent.

Let Greece default already. The faster this happens, the faster both Greece and the euro zone can move on.

Sea World’s killer whales are just fine. Sea World has launched a $10 million PR campaign defending the practice of keeping the animals in captivity.

We need a new approach to capitalism. Booms and busts are becoming more violent and our current system is too complex.

You could be murdered by a robot. Human beings have never had more creative ways to kill one another.

Surprising discoveries

China is regulating public dancing. Old folks dancing in public squares led to noise complaints, so the government has stepped in.

Antibiotic use in meats is rising, not falling. It could increase by two-thirds by 2030.

A 12-year-old US girl is accused of poisoning her mother. It was allegedly revenge for  taking her iPhone away.

A fan delivered pizza to the pope. During a tour of Naples, a pizzeria owner jumped over the barricades to deliver a pizza—and the Holy Father took it.

Scientists found the world’s largest meteorite crash site. Researchers don’t yet know when it fell.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, meteorite fragments, and holy pizza to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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