Royal wedding fever, Trump threatens Kim, $500,000 whiskey

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

The EU attempts to block Donald Trump’s Iran sanctions. The European Commission plans to activate a statute today that would punish any EU firm that curtails its business in Iran due to US sanctions. Meanwhile German chancellor Angela Merkel and Russia’s Vladimir Putin will meet in Sochi today to discuss salvaging the Iran nuclear deal.

Britain’s royal wedding. The nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will take place on May 19 at 12pm BST with much fanfare—though 66% of Brits say they don’t care that much about the event.

Venezuela holds a presidential election amid a worsening crisis. Autocratic leader Nicolás Maduro is widely expected to be re-elected on Sunday after the opposition coalition opted to boycott the contest, saying the vote is rigged.

While you were sleeping

Trump threatened Kim Jong Un. The president said the North Korean leader would suffer the same fate as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and North Korea would be “decimated” if he doesn’t reach a deal with the US over nuclear disarmament. If he does, however, Trump said he could keep “running his country,” which would be “very rich.”

Cambridge Analytica filed for bankruptcy in New York. The company at the heart of the Facebook data-privacy scandal said earlier this month it would shut down after suffering a drop in business.

Elon Musk presented his boring idea to Los Angeles. The Tesla, SpaceX, and Boring Company CEO told an enraptured crowd in Bel-Air that his network of “personalized mass transit” tunnels under the city could be created with minimal disturbance. He’s trying to get city approval for the 2.7-mile tunnel.

Germany hit back at the US over the Russian gas pipeline. German economy minister Peter Altmaier said that the US was attempting to block a planned gas pipeline from Russia to Germany to boost its own shale gas exports. Altmaier said that the US was acting out of self-interest and Europe would resist.

China dropped an anti-dumping probe of US sorghum imports. The gesture was made as officials meet in Washington to head off a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. China has reportedly offered the Trump administration a package to slash the US trade deficit by up to $200 billion.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Josh Horwitz on the “SoftBank of China.” “Tencent, the social media company best known for its messaging app WeChat, has been funding dozens of Chinese and overseas companies over the past few years at an astonishing rate… What’s not clear is whether or not Tencent, like SoftBank, has a grand vision that explains its disparate investments.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

US cities should be catering to freelancers instead of courting Amazon. Trends point to most of the workforce being independent in less than a decade.

Time is an illusion. Chronology is just a story we tell ourselves to make sense of existence.

John Bolton is pushing all the wrong buttons in North Korea. The White House’s resident warmonger may be intentionally sabotaging peace talks.

Surprising discoveries

Bitcoin is on track to consume 0.5% of the world’s electricity this year. The energy footprint for mining cryptocurrencies is doubling every six months.

Most of the world’s 321 female billionaires rely on inheritance money. For 53% of the women, inheritance is the source of their wealth, compared to 8% for men.

Investors are buying real estate near North Korea’s borders. Property prices are rising along both the Chinese and South Korean borders as speculators bet on peace.

A prison research project may tell us if salt is unhealthy. The study plans to use inmates as guinea pigs for low-sodium diets.

Two bottles of Scotch could be auctioned for more than $1 million. The 60-year-old bottles (paywall) of 1926 Macallan could go for as much as $573,000 apiece in Hong Kong.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Old Fashioneds, and salt shakers 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.