Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US-Taiwan trade talks, Alibaba CEO, Iran’s halal internet

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Bank of Japan’s new chief gets confirmed. Haruhiko Kuroda’s confirmation hearings begin today. A longtime critic of the bank, Kuroda may help set the tone in Japan’s battle against deflation. He is expected to be confirmed quickly.

World Bank chief arrives in India. Jim Yong Kim meets with India’s leadership to discuss development issues and the nation’s role in dealing with global poverty. India’s trade balance also came out today; exports rose and its deficit dropped to $14.9 billion, down from a staggering $20 billion in January.

Venezuelan election marathon begins. The race to replace Hugo Chavez officially began on Sunday. Acting president Nicolas Maduro and centrist Henrique Capriles register their candidacies today, in the first step toward an April 14 vote.

Over the weekend

Tensions grew between North and South Korea. The North reacted strongly as America and South Korea began annual military drills. Pyongyang cut off a hotline between the two nations while its official news agency carried reports of threats to Seoul’s defense minister.

An accused man in the Delhi gang rape committed suicide. One of the six men on trial for the horrific rape and murder of a Delhi student hanged himself with his own clothes.

US-Taiwan trade talks reopened after a five-year halt. Taiwan lifted its ban on US beef last July, allowing for new talks between America and what used to be its 11th-biggest trading partner.

China saw rising inflation numbers. Even as other indicators, including industrial output and retail sales, softened, Chinese inflation rose to 3.2% in February. The Lunar New Year likely boosted retail prices, but property prices have been spiking, too.

BlackBerry’s India head stepped down. The nation’s market for smartphones has been growing, but BlackBerry is losing ground there to Google’s Android.

Alibaba named a new CEO. The Chinese ecommerce company tapped insider Jonathan Lu, 43, to replace founder Jack Ma amid speculation that an IPO is in the works.

Iran cut off access to virtual private networks, or VPNs, that some people use to get around the government’s strict control of the internet. It could be another step toward implementing an entirely domestic internet in Iran.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on the failures of e-voting in emerging economies: “Kenyan authorities, hoping to avoid the chaos of the 2007 election, decided that this time the country would use a tamper-proof, state-of-the-art electronic voting system…But everything that could go wrong did…Kenya’s troubled electronic voting experiment is part of a strange dichotomy where electronic voting is on the way out in most Western countries, but taking hold in emerging economies, possibly to their detriment.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Horsemeat: proof the EU can’t function. At least, for some Euroskeptics.

Parsing higher American employment numbers: Everyone was happy to see 236,000 new jobs added in February, but it isn’t enough for the Fed to ease up.

Tibet: why no one cares that monks are lighting themselves on fire.

What is the value of internet search? About $1.37 every day.

Should Amazon have the rights to .kindle? What about .book? .author? Publishers think not.

Surprising discoveries

Robots might run the New York Stock Exchange. But only in the event of a disaster.

Faster! Higher! Stronger! Google announced a prototype of a talking shoe that can log miles while you run.

The next pope’s tailors are already prepared to stitch his garments, and a selection of red loafers is available in every conceivable size.

Saudi Arabia may have to stop beheading people. A shortage of executioners means it may adopt firing squads instead.

China “creates a Greece” every 12.5 weeks. The speed at which China is growing cannot be understated.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, papal fashion tips, and suggestions for new countries China should create to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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