Trump-Abe summit, Tesla stalled again, bikini ban

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Shinzo Abe heads to Mar-a-Lago. The Japanese prime minister will join Donald Trump to discuss trade and North Korea—and play golf—at a time when both leaders are engulfed by scandals.

Johnson & Johnson’s first quarter report. The company’s numbers are expected to be robust, driven by sales of its cancer drugs and growth in its Medical Devices unit.

Goldman Sachs posts earnings. The investment bank is likely to report higher revenue in its trading business in the first quarter, due to higher volatility in markets.

While you were sleeping

Tesla shut down Model 3 production—again. CEO Elon Musk said the plant would shut for four-to-five days to “improve automation,” making it the second temporary shutdown this year. He gave workers the choice to use their vacation days or stay home without pay.

Russia finally agreed to let chemical weapons inspectors into Douma. The inspectors have been blocked for five days from examining the Syrian site of the recent alleged chemical attack. US officials are concerned that Russia may have already tampered with the site.

China’s economic growth looked robust. 

The world’s second-largest economy

posted growth

 (paywall) of 6.8% in the first quarter of the year, defying concerns that the country’s economic growth would take a hit amid trade tensions with the US. Of course, the numbers

can’t always be trusted


Beijing slapped anti-dumping charges on US sorghum. From today, US companies shipping grain to China will have to pay up to 178% of the shipment’s value as a deposit, after China determined that US grain was damaging the domestic industry. In the ongoing trade spat, the US on Monday banned ZTE, one of China’s biggest tech companies, from buying components from American firms.

The UK’s pay squeeze ended. In the three months ending February, wage growth of 2.8% finally overtook inflation after a year-long squeeze. The results may fuel speculation that the Bank of England will raise interest rates again next month.

Quartz obsession interlude

Josh Horwitz on the AI company that’s quietly watching people in China: “If a person goes shopping at Suning, one of China’s largest electronics retailers, it’s possible that a camera in the store is tracking her behavior using SenseTime’s software. Later, if she opens Rong360, a peer-to-peer lending app, she’ll be asked to login using facial recognition—powered by SenseTime… And if she finds herself approached by police officers in the subway, it’s possible SenseTime helped identify her.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The world’s largest advertising company is vulnerable to a breakup. Martin Sorrell was the man holding WPP together.

The biggest myth of nomadic travel is that anyone can do it. Having a powerful passport and a permanent address are just two prerequisites for roaming in Bali with a laptop.

The point of the Commonwealth is increasingly unclear. The bloc’s role needs to be redefined as the reign of Queen Elizabeth II could soon be drawing to a close.

Surprising discoveries

Turkmenistan banned bikini imports. The country’s president, who calls himself “the Protector,” also banned black cars because white ones bring good fortune.

Chinese women are ditching push-up bras. They’re choosing comfort over conforming to unrealistic beauty standards.

The South Korean actress who was abducted by North Korea has died. Choi Eun-hee, who was held hostage by film fanatic Kim Jong-il for eight years, was 91.

The Dutch are getting less tolerant of marijuana. The Hague is the first city in the Netherlands to ban smoking cannabis in the city center.

More than 95% of world’s population breathe dangerous air. A major new study found that the gap between rich and poor countries is growing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, comfortable bras, and swimming costumes 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.