Broadcom blocked, Russia accused, Bezos eats iguana

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

China shakes up its ministries. The country’s media regulator—responsible for its strict censorship regime—will be combined with the culture ministry to “expand the scope of China’s ideological influence,” the South China Morning Post reported. The overhaul will be announced during the National People’s Congress in Beijing, adding to already announced shakeups.

The US floats proposals for improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Representatives from Israel and several Arab countries will attend the “brainstorming session” in Washington, DC. The Palestinian Authority turned down an invitation, having cut contact with the White House following Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

South Korean envoys extend their diplomatic world tour. The national security officials who took Kim Jong-un’s invitation for talks to Washington, and then met with Chinese president Xi Jinping in Beijing yesterday, will now head to Russia. North Korea has yet to officially acknowledge the proposed summit between Kim and Donald Trump.

An update on the UK economy. Chancellor Philip Hammond will release economic and public finance forecasts for the year. Growth last year, while sluggish, was higher than government expectations, suggesting the projection for 2018 might be tweaked upward.

While you were sleeping

Theresa May said it’s “highly likely” Russia poisoned an ex-spy on British soil. The UK prime minister said Moscow’s production of the “weapons-grade” nerve agent and willingness to assassinate defectors left little doubt about its culpability. She demanded Russia’s diplomatic response by Tuesday regarding the “brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil.”

US lawmakers ended a Russia probe. Over strong objections from Democrats, Republicans in control of the House Intelligence Committee ended an investigation into the 2016 presidential election, saying it found no evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia to influence the outcome.

Jim Mattis said Taliban elements had expressed interest in talks. On an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, the US defense secretary said “there is interest that we’ve picked up from the Taliban side” about ending a war that’s lasted more than 16 years.

Trump blocked Broadcom’s attempt to buy Qualcomm. His executive order stopped the hostile takeover by the Singapore-based chipmaker, citing national security concerns. The White House feared China pulling ahead in 5G if Broadcom emphasized short-term profits over R&D at Qualcomm. It would have been the biggest technology deal in history.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kira Bindrim on the bankrupt company that taught teens the art of self-expression. “Perhaps it is time for Claire’s to hang up its hat (likely a pink, sequined beanie). But let us also mourn the potential passing of an American staple, a store that speaks to the best and worst of girlhood-on-the-cusp-of-the-cusp-of-womanhood. Claire’s stores are explosions of emotion and expression in pastel and neon, featuring an array of aesthetic choices that serve as miniature stand-ins for the more sophisticated visual preferences one will form later in life.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Creative freedom breeds jerks. A former Google employee recalls displays of entitlement at a company known for letting workers do what they want.

China needs more exposure to diversity. The nation’s reaction to Black Panther and recent use of an actress in blackface are examples of its retrograde attitudes.

Women created the software industry. The first wave of programmers was female, and two women pioneered a widely used early computer language.

Surprising discoveries

Empathy is shaped by DNA. A study of nearly 50,000 people shows some are genetically predisposed to understand the emotions of others.

A shade of purple that changed fashion began as an attempt to fight malaria. William Henry Perkin’s try at lab-made quinine in the 1850s led instead to the first synthetic dye.

Jeff Bezos was photographed eating an iguana. The shot was taken while the Amazon CEO was receiving a space exploration award.

A US charity can 3D-print a house in less than a day. New Story wants to build affordable dwellings for people in the developing world.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s latest tour announcement draws inspiration from a classic Senegalese film. Their pose on a motorbike adorned with a bull’s long-horned skull is a direct nod to the poster for 1973’s Touki Bouki.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, homemade dyes, and iconic African movie posters 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 Steve Mollman and edited by Alice Truong.