Net neutrality vote, North Korea’s about-face, yanny vs. laurel

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Democrats try to save net neutrality. The Senate will vote on whether to reverse the White House’s decision to repeal net neutrality. One Republican is in support of maintaining the measures, giving Democrats an advantage as senator John McCain is absent due to illness.

Cambridge Analytica’s whistleblower testifies to Congress. Christopher Wylie, who exposed details of how the political firm used Facebook to illegally harvest user data to influence US elections, will speak before a Senate committee.

Macy’s posts quarterly earnings. Investors are keen to see if the chain’s recent strategies—like discounts and an expanded loyalty program—are having a positive effect on store traffic. It’s expected to report a rise in quarterly revenue.

While you were sleeping

North Korea said it’s reconsidering its summit with the US. Pyongyang said it could call off the talks, slated for June 12, if the US continues to insist that it give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea called the military drills between South Korea and the US a “provocation,” and canceled a meeting planned for today with South Korea.

Novartis ditched its top lawyer over his Cohen contract. Felix Ehrat is leaving (paywall) the Swiss drugmaker over the $1.2 million paid to Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen’s Essential Consultants—the company that paid hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels over her alleged affair with the president. Ehrat said the contract was legally in order, but “an error.”

Burberry’s numbers checked out. The British fashion house beat forecasts with a 2% rise in full-year profit to £467 million ($629 million). Its new creative chief, Riccardo Tisci, is expected to give the luxury brand an upmarket boost this year; his first collection debuts in September.

Japan’s growth streak came to an end. The world’s third-largest economy ended eight straight quarters of consecutive growth, as the economy shrank by a worse-than-expected 0.6% in the first three months of the year.

Meghan Markle’s father said he will miss the royal wedding. Thomas Markle told website TMZ that he must have heart surgery this week, after having a heart attack a week ago. Markle had said earlier this week that he wouldn’t attend the wedding on May 19, because he did not want to embarrass his daughter.

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Matters of debate

Evolution made it hard for humans to ask for help. Fear of losing status within a community is hardwired into primate brains.

Respect for diversity can lead to harmful extremes. Cultural appropriation is less about disrespect and more about actions that reinforce the oppressor-oppressed binary.

Incels are about absolute male supremacy. Misogyny, not a desire for sex, is at the heart of the violently misguided (paywall) movement.

Surprising discoveries

Swedish thieves are stealing owls as cash is phased out. Valuable endangered species are easier targets than banks.

Japan is battling a severe whiskey shortage. Surging demand and limited supply has forced Suntory to halt sales of two premium makes.

There’s a new “The Dress” controversy on the internet. People are divided over whether they hear the word “yanny” or “laurel” in a sound clip.

Anne Frank’s diary revealed her thoughts on sex. Two newly published pages from the diary contain a handful of what she called “dirty jokes.”

“Manly foods” like penis fish are losing their favor among young Koreans. Older generations believe certain foods can improve male stamina.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Hedwig, and ear plugs 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.