Wells Fargo’s huge fine, Comey’s Trump memos, welcome to eSwatini

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

GM Korea’s bankruptcy deadline looms. The Detroit-based automaker’s South Korean arm failed to reach a restructuring agreement with labor unions, so it’s holding another round of talks this afternoon. It’s expected to file for bankruptcy if an agreement can’t be reached.

Wells Fargo is on the cusp of a huge fine. US regulators are poised to slap a $1 billion fine on the bank for misbehavior that includes charging customers bogus mortgage fees. The bank has faced a series of fines in recent years, including $185 million for opening accounts in its customers’ names without telling them.

General Electric releases results. The numbers are expected to show a decline, partly from the poor performance of its power unit and partly because of GE’s tax bill for 2017.

While you were sleeping

James Comey’s memos of his meetings with Donald Trump were leaked. The former FBI chief’s notes include the president’s repeated demands for Comey’s “loyalty” alongside some salacious elements. Among them was Trump saying that Vladimir Putin had told him that Russia had some of the “most beautiful hookers in the world.”

Barclays CEO Jes Staley got to keep his job. UK regulators recommended that Staley should be financially penalized for trying to unmask a whistleblower, but was still fit to do his job. Barclays’ board said it still had full confidence in its CEO—although it may take back his 2016 bonus of £1.3 million ($1.6 million).

Cardboard pianos and fishing rods bumped Nintendo’s share price by over $1 billion. The Japanese gaming company’s shares soared (paywall) on Friday on the launch of its Nintendo Labo—cardboard model accessories you build yourself that can to be used with its Switch console.

Brexit negotiations are 75% done, Michel Barnier said. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator warned, however, that there are still risks of failure and that Brussels will say “no way” if the UK tries to cherry-pick EU benefits. The issue of a hard or soft border between Ireland and Northern Ireland still hasn’t been resolved.

Ericsson’s radical restructuring started to pay off. The Swedish company’s loss shrank to 300 million crowns ($35.6 million) versus 11.3 billion a year earlier. It cut another 3,000 jobs in the quarter and 18,000 overall in the last year. It said momentum in North America, its biggest market, was positive.

Quartz obsession interlude

Olivia Goldhill on why the Starbucks racism scandal is also a fight over public space. “Venues where people can gather in public are increasingly rare as governments allow private companies to manage parks and permit restaurants to spill onto the sidewalk, creating privately owned public spaces. People go to Starbucks to use the restroom because, quite simply, there’s nowhere else to go.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Is it still an artistically justifiable pursuit for a man to paint a naked woman? Paintings of that type are sitting uncomfortably on gallery walls.

Equalizing home ownership won’t fix America’s racial wealth gap. Fair housing won’t truly be fair until reparations are paid that allow for more home equity for black families.

Memos are more effective for meetings than PowerPoint presentations. The process of writing them crystallizes thinking and improves teamwork.

Surprising discoveries

Swaziland changed its name partly because it sounded too much like Switzerland. The country is now called eSwatini (“land of the Swazis”).

Robots can assemble IKEA chairs—without fighting. It took three years to master, but a robot can now put a chair together in 20 minutes.

Cows will soon be the largest mammals on earth. Humans will likely drive all bigger animals to extinction within a few hundred years, a new study says.

Oregon has more pot than it can smoke. Dispensaries are selling marijuana at starkly reduced prices as the state sits on a million-pound glut of unsold weed 

David Copperfield was forced to reveal a magic trick in court. A volunteer claimed the “Lucky #13” act caused him $400,000 in medical bills (paywall) due to an injury.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, magic tricks, and hefty animals to hi@qz.com. 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.