Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Iran and FIFA elections, Rubio attacks Trump, video-shamed litterbugs

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What to watch for today and over the weekend

G20 finance ministers meet in Shanghai. Talk is expected to turn to China’s slowing economy, and perhaps its ridiculous stock market, during the two-day conference. British fin-min George Osborne will be cajoling his peers to come out against a Brexit.

FIFA votes on its next president. Candidates are vowing to restore the international soccer body’s tarnished reputation, but their campaigns are promising more money and travel for FIFA members—a move right out of Sepp Blatter’s playbook.

Iran holds elections. Voters will choose legislators and a clerical council (paywall) that will help elect the country’s next supreme leader. President Hassan Rouhani hopes to put more moderates in power.

Warren Buffett sums up a terrible year. Saturday’s annual letter to shareholders may contain hints about who will take over at Berkshire Hathaway when its legendary 85-year-old CEO retires.

While you were sleeping

GOP presidential candidates debated again. Senator Marco Rubio stood out for aggressively attacking billionaire Donald Trump, who clearly leads in polls, over his anti-immigration stance. “If he builds the wall the way he built Trump Towers, he’ll be using illegal immigrant labor to do it,” said the Florida lawmaker.

US-China sanctions against North Korea were revealed. The US submitted to the UN a China-backed draft resolution that could bar the country from importing aviation fuel and small arms. It could ultimately end all North Korean exports to UN member states.

Up to seven were killed in a Kansas mass shooting. A gunman was killed by police after also wounding around 20 former colleagues at his workplace. The suspected shooter, who carried a rifle and a handgun, had a history of criminal activity.

Sharp lost 14% of its value, for the second day. The troubled Japanese electronics maker also lost 14.4% yesterday (Feb. 25) after Foxconn, which was planning to buy the company, delayed signing a deal. The Taiwanese buyer said it had been alerted to potential risks only on Wednesday.

Apple took its FBI defense to court. The tech company filed a motion against an order forcing it to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Apple argued that the FBI request would violate the First Amendment, which secures the right to free speech.

Baidu delivered a strong quarter. The Chinese internet giant reported fourth-quarter revenue of 18.5 billion yuan ($2.8 billion), marking a 33% increase compared with a year earlier. That sent share prices up as much as 12%.

Halliburton cut even more jobs. The oilfield services giant is laying off another 5,000 workers, after it slashed 4,000 jobs in the final quarter of last year. Since late 2014, oil prices have forced the company to cut a quarter of its staff.

Quartz obsession interlude

Michael Erard on why people distrust foreign accents. “‘We’re less likely to believe something if it’s said with a foreign accent,’ one expert explained. In her view, negative judgments are the result of the additional effort that our brains must make to process foreign speech. Our brains then shift the blame for this effort onto the veracity of the speaker.” Read more here.

Quartz markets haiku

Not an epic day
Oil rose, so did stocks
We’re at a seven-week high

Matters of debate

America doesn’t like women who seek power. Hillary Clinton’s approval ratings soar when she’s on the job, but plummet when she’s campaigning.

“-splaining” has become a meaningless suffix. A once-useful term to criticize sexism has become nothing more than a lazy joke.

Good customer service acts inversely to economic health. In the good times, expect service to decline.

Surprising discoveries

Homesickness was once considered a fatal medical condition. Luckily it was easily curable.

Colorado’s emergency rooms are full of tourists. Weed is now legal in the state, but visitors are overdoing it a bit.

Sperm are a virus’s best friend. The body’s defenses give them a free pass, helping them spread Zika and HIV.

Mexico City is shaming litterers on Periscope. The social media app broadcasts their misdeeds in real time.

Michigan’s potholes could be worth billions. The state is vying for a slice of government funding to test self-driving cars on its crummy roads.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, litterbug videos, and homesickness cures to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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