Musk’s reckoning, new accusations against Manafort, angry guppies

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Italy’s euroskeptic government faces a confidence vote. A coalition between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League is expected to pass the vote in the Senate today and in the lower house tomorrow.

Democrats brace for a big test in California. Today’s “top two” primaries in California will offer an indication on Democrats’ chances of taking back the White House. The state’s primary system, also known as a “jungle primary” (paywall), means voters from any party can choose a candidate and the top two finishers will be on the November ballot.

A day of reckoning for Elon Musk. Tesla shareholders will vote on whether the electric carmaker’s chairman and CEO can keep both titles. Some shareholders are pushing for an independent chairman, but Musk will likely keep his titles despite investor concerns.

While you were sleeping

Robert Mueller accused Paul Manafort of witness tampering. The Special Counsel’s office said Donald Trump’s former campaign manager had tried to get potential witnesses to lie. Manafort is under house arrest as he awaits trial in July. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of bank fraud and failure to disclose his lobbying work for a foreign government.

Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House. The Super Bowl champions’ Tuesday trip appears to be cancelled (paywall), based on the president’s tweet last night. He said that staying in the locker room during the national anthem is “as disrespectful to our country as kneeling.”

The UK government took a multi-billion hit in its RBS stake sale. The government sold 7.7% of its stake in the bank, which it rescued during the financial crisis in 2008, making a loss of more than £2 billion ($2.6 billion). It took RBS six years and $27 billion to atone for its crisis-era sins—it reported its first profit in a decade in February.

The death toll from Guatemala’s volcanic eruption rose to 69. It’s expected to climb even higher. The country’s disaster agency failed to warn residents of the impending explosion in areas where most of the victims have been found. Ash and mud from Sunday’s eruption have blanketed the landscape around Volcán de Fuego.

Mexico will hit the US with 20% retaliatory tariffs on pork. The move follows the Trump administration’s imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican exporters last week. Reuters reports that the new duties will be published today and go into effect tomorrow.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Dan Kopf on Japan’s shrinking population. “How low can it go? At the pace of decline projected by the UN, and assuming no change in migration or fertility rates, the Japanese population would fall to 8.5 million by 2300. By 2800, it would be less than 2 million. The laws of math mean it would decline very slowly from there.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Brazil is at risk of a military coup. Many feel forceful intervention is the only answer in the leaderless and scandal-ridden country.

We learned the wrong lesson from the marshmallow test. The capacity to resist temptation is largely shaped by socio-economic factors.

It is not just Italy that is caged by the single currency. Should the euro break up, the financial crisis would devastate Germany (paywall) just as much as its poorer southern neighbors.

Surprising discoveries

A British baby’s first word was “Alexa.” The infant copied his parents asking Amazon’s virtual assistant for help.

Aetna’s CEO considered suicide before he found meditation. Mark Bertolini has since hired a “chief mindfulness officer” at the health insurer.

The EU paid researchers to catalog hundreds of millions of internet memes. They found that people are often amused by racism, sexism, and genocide.

Guppies signal aggression by turning their eyes black. It isn’t exactly clear how the ferocious little fish do so.

GDPR puts people to sleep, in a good way. Meditation app Calm is offering highlights of the EU’s data-protection legislation.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, angry guppies, and wholesome memes 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.