Trump Jr.’s India trip, students demand gun controls, sexy curlers

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Donald Trump Jr.’s controversial India trip. The president’s son alarmed ethics watchdogs with front-page ads in three major Indian newspapers offering dinner with Don Jr. to anyone who buys an apartment in a Trump-branded property before Feb. 20. He’ll attend a business summit with prime minister Narendra Modi later in the week.

Europe’s financial future. European finance ministers meet in Brussels today to discuss the economy, pick a candidate for European Central Bank vice president, and assess Greek debt relief following a bond offering earlier this month.

US markets are closed Feb. 19 for the President’s Day holiday. 

News from over the weekend

Donald Trump raged over Russia indictments. In a series of angry tweets, the president blamed his predecessor Barack Obama for not stopping Russian interference. He also lined up with a Facebook executive to give a misleading account of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments.

US students demanded gun controls. Survivors of the shooting that killed 17 at a Florida high school last week called for new restrictions on gun purchases and a national march on Washington next month. The students also slammed Trump for his tweet blaming the FBI’s failure to follow up on a report about the school shooter on the fact it was too busy focusing on Russia.

Benjamin Netanyahu brought wreckage to the Munich Security Conference. The Israeli prime minister brandished a piece of debris, saying it came from an Iranian drone shot down in Israel. He likened the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to the 1938 Munich agreement with Nazi Germany. It’s not the first time Netanyahu and others have used props.

An Iranian plane crash likely killed all 66 people on board. Rescuers struggled to reach the wreckage of a domestic flight operated by Aseman Airlines amid fog and heavy snow. Iran has suffered numerous plane crashes over the years, with international sanctions limiting access to replacement parts.

A Russian curler was charged with doping at the Winter Olympics. Alexander Krushnelnitsky tested positive for the banned substance meldonium and will probably be stripped of his bronze medal. He said he suspects his drink was spiked by a team-mate. Despite Russia’s state-sponsored doping during the Sochi Olympics, 168 Russian athletes have been allowed to compete in Pyeongchang.

Quartz obsession interlude

Preeti Varathan on why white people should watch Black Panther. “Black Panther has an almost entirely black cast and a black director. That’s a gift for black girls and boys everywhere who aren’t used to seeing themselves onscreen—and it’s a gift for non-black people, too… actively encouraging children’s admiration for a person of a different race or identity group, in a respectful way, helps them to thoughtfully respond to and empathize with others.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Live podcast recordings ruin everything that makes podcasts great. They make listening jarring instead of calming, and disrupt quiet moments with grating applause.

Black Panther isn’t radical at all. The Marvel blockbuster devalues black American men.

Delaware should be the first target in the fight against human trafficking. The tiny state’s corporate secrecy laws make it almost impossible to find out who profits from selling sex workers.

Surprising Discoveries

Olympic curlers are being rebranded as sexy. Once seen as the paunchy couch potatoes of the sporting world, male curlers are flexing their guns (paywall) in a racy calendar.

Cameroon’s president-for-life has spent 15% of his time in office abroad. Paul Biya’s mysterious foreign trips took up over five of his 35 years as president, many of them to a five-star Geneva hotel.

China wants the US to punish a thumb thief. The 24-year-old American snapped a thumb off an ancient terracotta warrior statue on loan to a US museum.

Flatulence forced an emergency landing. A Transavia flight was forced to land and summon the police when a passenger’s gassiness led to an onboard fight.

Apple sold more watches than Switzerland. In the final quarter of 2017, the tech company sold 8 million watches, versus 6.8 million from the traditional home of high-end horology.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, traditional timepieces, and terracotta replacement digits to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Jill Petzinger and edited by Lianna Brinded.