Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The very expensive Georgia state election. Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel compete for the House seat vacated by Tom Price when he became US health secretary. It’s become the most expensive House race in history: Candidates, parties, and their super PACS have plowed a combined $50 million into winning.
Alibaba woos business leaders in Detroit. The Chinese e-commerce giant is hosting its biggest-ever US event, a two-day conference on opportunities for small businesses to reach China’s growing middle class.
FedEx reports on its fourth quarter. With shipping levels reflecting economic activity, the logistics giant is viewed as a bellwether of sorts for the US economy. Analysts expect a rise in profit and revenue thanks to stronger sales in the company’s express business.
The US reveals its current account deficit for the first quarter. It is expected to have widened from the previous quarter’s $112.4 billion—which was then the lowest in more than a year—to $123.8 billion (pdf, p. 2).
While you were sleeping
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office filed charges against Barclays and its former bosses. It’s charging the bank, former CEO John Varley, and three other former top executives with conspiracy to commit fraud in its dealings with Qatari investors during a $15 billion emergency fund-raising at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.
Nestlé joined the meal-kit revolution. The world’s largest food company led a $77 million funding round for US meal-delivery startup Freshly, though it didn’t put a figure on the investment. Being part of Freshly allows Nestlé to expand its healthy-food portfolio. The venture will use the money to expand its distribution network.
The Bank of England decided to wait and see. Now is not the time to raise interest rates, according to BoE governor Mark Carney, who noted that Britain could expect weaker income growth as the country tries to figure out a Brexit trade deal with the EU. He also warned that businesses might need to make contingency plans for the transition period.
Donald Trump condemned North Korea for the death of US student Otto Warmbier. The president condemned the “brutality” of the regime, which had sentenced the 22-year-old to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster in Pyongyang. Warmbier was released on “humanitarian grounds” last week, but returned home to Cincinnati in a coma before he died.
Tech giants convened at the White House. Nearly 20 members of Trump’s technology advisory council, including the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet, met to discuss the private sector’s role in cutting government IT costs and other issues. Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner made a rare public address.
Quartz obsession interlude
Kira Bindrim on the hottest mobile devices of the 19th century: “The story of the kaleidoscope, patented 200 years ago, has all the makings of a Silicon Valley spinoff. There’s an eccentric founder, a breakthrough idea, and a case of IP theft. A once-viral hit struggles to iterate. An influencer saves the day. And at the center of it all, a handheld source of endless visual entertainment.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Amazon’s Whole Foods deal is more than it seems. The grocery chain could be a signature customer for the company’s logistics services.
If someone cuts you off in a meeting, talk more quietly. Everyone in the room will have to focus harder on what you’re saying.
The secret to lasting happiness is in reality TV. The Great British Bake Off showcases the joy of flow.
Brexit and Donald Trump boosted history as a university major. Students want to know, “How did we get here?”
Argentina found the biggest haul of Nazi artifacts in its history. A bust of Hitler and a bizarre medical device was among the 75 objects found in a collector’s home in Buenos Aires.
At last, we can turn pee into electricity. Researchers in the UK created a device lined with microorganisms that feed on urine and produce phone-charging electrons.
A tick that makes you allergic to meat is spreading. A single bite can reprogram your immune system, making ingestion of a protein-linked sugar molecule potentially fatal.
Our sun may have a long-lost twin. New research on a cluster of Milky Way stars suggests that most sun-like stars are born in pairs.
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