Syria peace talks, remembering IKEA’s founder, Finland’s first dog

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Russia, Turkey, and Iran pow-wow on peace in Syria. Representatives from Iran, Russia, and Turkey will gather in Sochi, Russia to discuss a postwar constitution, but the Syrian opposition umbrella group is boycotting the talks. Similar talks between the three countries collapsed last November.

Another round of NAFTA negotiations. Officials from Canada, Mexico, and the US will wrap up the sixth round of negotiations over an updated North American Free Trade Agreement, spurred by the Trump administration’s objections to the deal. If progress remains slow, the talks could extend beyond a self-imposed March deadline, looming over Mexican elections in July and—possibly—the US midterms in November.

African countries discuss a Nile dam. Leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan will try to break a diplomatic deadlock over Ethiopia’s plans to build a hydroelectric dam on the waterway. Egypt fears the dam would reduce how much water it gets from the Ethiopian highlands.

David Beckham brings pro soccer back to Miami. The former England star will announce the launch of his Major League Soccer team there. Beckham has been trying to revive the sport in the city, which was left without a squad after the Miami Fusion folded in 2002.

Over the weekend

Bruno Mars was the big winner at the Grammys. The singer won all seven awards he was nominated for, including song (“That’s What I Like”) and album (“24K Magic”) of the year. Highlights of the awards show included Hillary Clinton reading a section of Fire and Fury in a pre-taped segment, and a joint performance by Kesha, Cyndi Lauper, and other women who dressed in white as a tribute to the #TimesUp movement.

IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad died. The quirky Swedish entrepreneur and world’s eighth-richest person passed away at his home in Småland, Sweden on Saturday. The first IKEA store opened in 1958; there are now more than 380 across the world and IKEA is the world’s largest consumer of wood.

Steve Wynn resigned as RNC finance chairman. The casino mogul and major GOP donor stepped down (paywall) from his Republican National Committee post following news reports that he sexually harassed employees, and paid out $7.5 million in a settlement with a Las Vegas manicurist who said Wynn forced her to have sex in 2005.

A Taliban attack in Kabul killed more than 100 people. Suicide bombers set off two ambulances packed with explosives on Saturday, killing more than 100 and injuring at least 235—a message the Taliban claimed was directed at Donald Trump for the increase of troops in Afghanistan. A week earlier, Taliban militants killed at least 22 people in an attack on a luxury hotel.

Roger Federer made history. The 36-year-old Swiss tennis pro rewrote the record books when he won his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Sunday, the first man to collect that many top trophies. Federer has now won 10% of all the men’s singles titles since tennis professionalized in 1968, according to the BBC.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from his luxury jail. After imprisoning him in a Ritz Carlton for more than 80 days, Saudi authorities released bin Talal, 62, following reports he paid a settlement to end corruption charges against him. His Kingdom Holdings owns stakes in Lyft and Twitter, among others. The hotel in Riyadh will turn back from a prison to a hotel on Feb. 14.

Quartz obsession interlude

David Kaufman on FX’s silence over AIDS in its Versace miniseries. ”Despite the presence of so much disease and death in The Assassination of Gianni Versace, there is very little actual discussion of AIDS and HIV—and this matters. Because throughout the entire second episode—as Versace seeks treatment, as Donatella Versace tries to hide her brother’s apparent diagnosis, as the designer’s partner contends with his lover’s worsening condition—the word ‘AIDS’ is only mentioned once.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The UK is failing its black actors. Those who make it big, like Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, often have to go to the US to find their career-defining roles.

Most unhappy people are unhappy for the exact same reason. American teens’ happiness suddenly plummeted after 2012, the year when the majority of Americans owned smartphones.

Female pain is the flip side to male pleasure. When we talk about sex as a society, male pleasure is the only biological reality we ever bother to consider.


Surprising discoveries

The ♥ came from 14th-century France. The first representation of the heart as a symmetrical icon appeared in a manuscript circa 1340 (paywall).

The Finnish president’s dog is a celebrity. But Sauli Niinisto didn’t take his Boston terrier (paywall) on the election trail this month, stoking concerns over Lennu’s health.

A fitness-tracking app is giving away details of secret military bases. Strava’s heat map shows soldiers working out in places like Syria and Afghanistan.

Kentucky has a thriving Japanese food scene, thanks to Toyota. The Japanese automaker built its first US plant in the city of Georgetown in 1985.

American librarians once roamed on horseback. In the 1930s, the Pack Horse Library Initiative—a group of mostly female equestrian librarians—helped spread literacy to remote areas.

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