Historic Korea meeting, Merkel in DC, crypto discoveries

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Donald Trump skips the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, again. The president will be at a campaign rally in Michigan, sending press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to the gala instead. The ceremony will honor CNN, a frequent target of Trump’s ire.

Angela Merkel heads to the Washington. Hot on the heels of Emmanuel Macron’s glitzy White House visit, the German chancellor will sit down for a 20-minute meeting and a working lunch with Trump, in an attempt to avoid US tariffs on EU steel and aluminum. Trump has slammed Germany for its trade surplus, and blatantly avoided a handshake with Merkel at the White House last year.

New US GDP numbers are released. The first-quarter figures will likely show a slowdown—analysts expect 2% annualized growth, down from 2.9% the previous quarter.

While you were sleeping

North and South Korea made an historic announcement. In a joint statement, the countries pledged to formally end their state of war by year-end, and pursue “complete denuclearization.” At the start of the day-long summit, Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader to enter the South when he stepped over the military demarcation line separating the two countries.

Norway’s massive sovereign fund posted its first loss in two years. The $1 trillion wealth fund, which owns about 1.4% off the world’s listed stocks, lost 1.5 % in the quarter due to shaky shares and higher bond yields.

Airbus clipped its wings. Buffeted by a first-quarter plunge in profit, the European aerospace company slashed production targets for its A330 jet next year. Airbus has been hit by engine delays and deals lost to rival Boeing.

Royal Bank of Scotland reported a rare bit of good news. The troubled state-owned bank beat expectations with pretax profit jumping 70% in the first quarter. However, the looming threat of a fine—estimated to be as much as $9 billion—by the US Department of Justice means it can’t restore dividends just yet.

The “Beast from the East” took a bite out of Britain’s GDP. A huge snowstorm that brought most of the UK to a halt in February was reflected in the country’s weakest quarterly growth since 2012. It stoked speculation that the Bank of England won’t raise interest rates next month.

Quartz obsession interlude

Rosie Spinks on how it’s getting harder to see where the hotel industry ends and Airbnb begins. “Since it announced its new multi-tiered offering in February, Airbnb’s era as a quirky sharing economy startup is quickly coming to a close… If you can book hotel rooms on Airbnb and book a home share via Booking.com or a major hotel brand, is the accommodation industry just turning into one big mega-offering?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Pie charts will never die. Serious data visualizers may prefer bar charts and line graphs, but people love those colorful circles.

Journalists are losing to Trump. Media members are getting locked out of a system in which the president controls the narrative.

More tech companies should shun Wall Street. Today’s economy proves that big banks and bloated IPOs aren’t necessary (paywall) for industry success.

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Surprising discoveries, crypto edition

Big financial institutions are keen to trade crypto. A survey says 70% of those planning to trade digital currencies will get started in the next three-to-six months.

Tencent merged CryptoKitties and Pokémon Go. Players of “Let’s Hunt Monsters” can catch virtual monsters, while rearing and trading digital kittens stored on a blockchain.

What’s in a name? Crypto-preneurs are racing to grab names from fantasy and sci-fi for their tokens, with Lord of the Rings monikers high on the list.

Owning crypto is a conflict of interest for Wikipedia editors. The site notes that “any external relationship—personal, religious, political, academic, legal, or financial (including holding a cryptocurrency)” is a no-no.

Nasdaq could become a digital-currency exchange. CEO Adena Friedman says once regulation is ironed out, she’s open to the exchange becoming a crypto-trading platform.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ICO tips, and Pikachu-on-the-blockchain 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 Jason Karaian.