Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
Xi Jinping speaks at the Boao Forum for Asia. On Sunday the Chinese president will talk about opening the economy more, and he could announce plans to create free-trade ports along China’s coast, as he proposed in October. Such ports would allow greater market access and could undermine Hong Kong’s position as a link between China and the world.
New US sanctions hit Russia. The Trump administration plans to issue penalties today (paywall) affecting oligarchs connected to Vladimir Putin. Trump has been urged by aides, allies, and US lawmakers to take aggressive action against Moscow in the wake of Russian cyber attacks, election meddling, and a nerve-agent assault on a former double agent in the UK.
Park Geun-hye faces court on live TV. South Korea’s former president—impeached in December 2016—will be sentenced on numerous criminal charges, including bribery, election interference, and abuse of power. Prosecutors are aiming for a 30-year prison sentence against Park, and more than $100 million in fines.
Jacob Zuma appears in court. South Africa’s former president is due to face corruption charges linked to a years-old arms deal. Other charges against Zuma, who was removed from office in February, include fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.
While you were sleeping
Trump doubled down on his trade spat with China. The US president said he’ll consider slapping an additional $100 billion in tariffs on China, in response to what he called Beijing’s “unfair retaliation” against tariffs he announced earlier. Chinese state media described the move as a “ridiculous” attempt at intimidation reflecting “deep arrogance.”
Malaysia’s prime minister dissolved parliament. The move by Najib Razak paves the way for a general election within 60 days. Critics are questioning the timing: Yesterday, opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad’s party was ordered to suspend activities for 30 days (paywall) for not providing enough registration documents.
Samsung Electronics projected record first-quarter profits. The world’s largest smartphone and semiconductor maker said it expects an operating profit of $14.7 billion for the quarter, up 58% from a year earlier. The company has delivered record earnings for three straight quarters.
Monex Group said it will buy hacked cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. Monex, one of Japan’s mainstream online brokerage firms, will acquire full ownership of Tokyo-based Coincheck for $33.6 million. Earlier this year Coincheck was hit by a $530 million theft of digital money.
Quartz obsession interlude
Abdi Latif Dahir and Yomi Kazeem on how Trump’s trade war is punishing Africans for refusing second-hand clothes. “The debate around second-hand clothing also underscores the rise of manufacturing on the continent… Crucially, there are also active discussions over the ecological and ethical repercussions of taking in piles of used clothing, including underwear.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Medical mission initiatives need to consult locals first. Doctors who “parachute” into a low-resource community are in real danger of making a negative impact.
Spotify will never be able to scale like Netflix. Streaming music costs the provider more (paywall) as the service grows, but video stays the same.
Mark Zuckerberg should just resign. New leadership would give Facebook an opportunity to revamp (paywall) and re-communicate priorities.
UK classical musicians could be required to wear earplugs at all times. A high court ruled the Royal Opera House had been in breach of noise regulations at work.
Women aren’t allowed in a sumo ring—even if they’re saving lives. Female first responders attempting to treat a city mayor in Japan were ordered out—but have since been offered public apologies.
A man made over €1.2 million by recycling the same bottles. The machine-tampering fraudster is one of many who have gamed the German deposit-return system.
Walden Pond is being ruined by human urine. The phosphorus in the urine of Henry David Thoreau fans is causing a harmful algae overgrowth.
Waze turned one of the steepest hills in the US into a disaster zone. Los Angeles locals avoid Echo Park’s dangerous Baxter Street hill in the rain, but drivers simply following directions keep crashing.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, earplugs, and iconic ponds to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.