Cuba after Castro, Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong-un, flip phone comeback

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Beijing’s tariffs on US sorghum come into effect. A new 179% tariff will affect about $1 billion of US exports. It could hurt farmers in states like Kansas that are strong supporters of Donald Trump.

Cuba begins its shift to post-Castro leadership. The country’s National Assembly will convene as it prepares for a vote, most likely on Thursday, to replace president Raúl Castro, 86, with 57-year-old Miguel Díaz-Canel.

Morgan Stanley and American Express post first-quarter figures. As US bank earnings season continues, Morgan Stanley is expected to have had a record first quarter, (paywall), with strong growth in its trading business. Analysts predict Amex will report a rise in first-quarter profit on the back of credit-card loans growth.

While you were sleeping

Mike Pompeo had a clandestine meeting with Kim Jong-un. The CIA director reportedly met Kim in North Korea over Easter weekend, to lay the groundwork for the upcoming Trump-Kim summit. The meeting took place shortly after Trump nominated Pompeo to become the next secretary of state.

… And South Korea began work on a peace treaty with the North. Ahead of the upcoming summit between the two nations—which are technically still at war—Seoul announced today that it’s looking at how to change a decades-old armistice into a more peaceful agreement.

Barbara Bush died. The former first lady passed away at age 92 in her Houston home, after opting to stop seeking medical treatment to prolong her life. Widely admired, she held the rare distinction of having been both the wife of a president George H.W. Bush, and the mother of another, George W. Bush.

Facebook switched on facial recognition in the EU again. It turned off the face-matching tech in the bloc in 2012 after privacy protests, but will now use the new European data protection laws to ask users to opt in again. A judge in the US ruled this week that the social media platform must face a class action lawsuit for allegedly collecting biometric data without users’ consent.

Trump said he’s not into rejoining TPP. After instructing officials to look into rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership last week, Trump tweeted late Tuesday “I don’t like the deal for the United States.” He had just dined with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, a staunch supporter of the 11-nation trade agreement.

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Kopf on how much users would pay for Facebook. “Economists set out to measure the value of these free digital products because GDP, the gauge traditionally used to assess the size of the economy, does a terrible job of assessing them… they asked people if they would prefer $10 or to give up Facebook for a month. The amount offered varied in increments between $1 and $1,000.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

“Advantage blindness” is rampant among powerful people. Denying your privilege runs contrary to the collective good.

It’s time to rekindle the flame with Firefox. Chrome’s original mission has become corrupted by too much time atop the web browser food chain.

Post-Castro Cuba has slim prospects for change. Even with younger leaders, the Communist Party’s hardliners are firmly in control (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Flip phones are making a hipster comeback. Some are touting the retro classic as a way to protest smartphone slavery.

Scientists accidentally gave superpowers to a plastic-eating enzyme. While tweaking it to learn more, they boosted its ability to digest PET bottles.

Trainee British lawyers will be penalized in exams for wearing “kinky boots.” The points-docking system reveals a sexist double standard at one law school.

Americans forgo billions because doing taxes is so dull. Many could save thousands by itemizing deductions but simply can’t bear the tedium.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, flip phones, and kinky boots 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.