Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The ANC discusses Jacob Zuma’s ouster. The South African ruling party will talk about the “management of the transition,” after the president resisted calls to resign. Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, took over as party leader in December and is the front-runner to replace him.
India’s central bank meeting. The Reserve Bank of India is expected to maintain the status quo for interest rates, but even the slightest hint of hawkishness could have an effect, given the turmoil that has roiled in global stock markets.
While you were sleeping
SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket. The maiden test of the world’s most powerful rocket was a vindication of Elon Musk’s disruptive move into the space business, as he competes with Boeing and Lockheed Martin for lucrative government contracts. As a test cargo, the Falcon Heavy sent Musk’s Tesla roadster into orbit around the sun.
The US trade deficit with China hit a record high. Newly released data showed that US imports from China exceeded exports by $375 billion, an 8% rise, despite promises by president Donald Trump to shrink the gap. The strong US economy boosted the total deficit by 12.1% to $566 billion.
At least two people were killed in a Taiwan earthquake. At least 100 people were injured in the eastern city of Hualien by the 8.4 magnitude quake, with reports of survivors still stranded in toppled buildings.
US stocks went on a roller-coaster ride. The S&P 500 index swung wildly between big losses and gains as investors grappled with fears of higher interest rates. Markets ended the day in positive territory, with the the S&P 500 index up 1.7%.
Travis Kalanick took the stand in the Waymo-Uber trial. The former Uber CEO was asked about the meaning of a cryptic document that said Kalanick wanted a “pound of flesh” after meeting ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski. He said: “I mean, I don’t know specifically, it’s a term I use from time to time.”
Quartz obsession interlude
Tracy Chou on the tech industry’s diversity myth: “The quality, relevance, and impact of the products and services put out by the technology sector can only be improved by having the people who are building them be demographically representative of the people who are using them. I wish people would stop telling me… that diversity means lowering the bar.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Stock market volatility is a test for investors. If big drops make you squirm, you’re in too deep for your own good.
Just-in-time manufacturing has a fatal flaw. Recent scandals in Japan are proof that timeliness and quality can be mutually exclusive.
Job automation will hurt women first, but men most of all. By the 2030s, the most affected industries will be those that employ more men.
Nintendo is thinking about Mario’s belly button. The mustachioed plumber appeared shirtless in Super Mario Odyssey with nipples but no navel, to fans’ dismay.
Google and Facebook employees can only ask out coworkers once. In an effort to cut down on harassment, the tech giants may have made things even more confusing.
A 100-million-year-old spider had a tail. The discovery of the species raises big questions about arachnid evolution.
Japan is taking issue with a tiny speck on the unified Korean flag. It represents the Liancourt Islands, a disputed atoll that South Korea and Japan claim as their own.
Smartphones are illegal for drivers in France, even when they’re pulled over. To combat an uptick in crashes, France is covering all the bases.
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