Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
A Chinese trade delegation arrives in Washington, DC. Led by vice premier Liu He, it will prepare for high-level talks with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and others. The two sides will try to end the trade war (paywall) before a March 1 deadline for the US to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
Saudi Arabia shares details on a $425 billion infrastructure plan. The Middle East’s largest nation by area is seeking massive investments in railways, airports, and industrial projects as it tries to become less reliant on oil. About 70 deals could be announced (paywall).
Caterpillar reports earnings. Investors hope to get a better sense of how China’s slowdown will affect the US economy. The company sells a fair number of tractors, bulldozers, and excavators in the world’s second-largest economy.
Over the weekend
Malaysia scrapped a $20 billion China-backed rail project. A finance official said the cost of the East Coast Rail Link project was “beyond the government’s financial capability,” noting the high interest rates involved (paywall). The project was part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative—and, critics say, its “debt-trap diplomacy.”
Explosions at a Philippines cathedral left at least 20 dead. Two bombs went off Sunday at a Roman Catholic cathedral on the southern island of Jolo: One in or near the church during services, and the other as soldiers hurried to respond. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which injured over 100 people.
Brazil’s mining-dam tragedy worsened. At least 34 people were killed when a dam at a mining complex near the town of Brumadinho burst on Friday, flooding the area with mud and debris. Hundreds are still missing, but rescue efforts were temporarily suspended Sunday upon fears a second dam could collapse.
More than 10,000 protestors marched against the gilets jaunes in Paris. Sunday’s peaceful demonstration, led by the movement known as foulards rouges, or “red scarves,” aimed to give voice to French citizens who are fed up with weeks of unrest and violence caused by the so-called “yellow vests.” The marchers said they want a return to normal life.
Nicolas Maduro rejected calls to hold early elections. The Venezuelan president warned that “nobody can give us an ultimatum” after European nations threatened to recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as president if fresh elections were not announced soon. Guaido declared himself interim president last week.
Quartz obsession interlude
Climate change could mean it’s all downhill from here for skiing. The forecast for the 21st century is grim: Some of the world’s most popular ski resorts may stop seeing snowfall altogether, while others see their seasons shrink significantly. Read more in the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of debate
Join the conversation with the new Quartz app!
Nice doctors make for more effective treatments. Even a brief reassurance to a patient from a doctor might relieve the patient’s symptoms faster.
The Super Bowl halftime show is no longer a cultural institution. The NFL has become too toxic to many social-justice-minded artists and their fans.
The era of “move fast and break things” is over for tech startups. “Minimum viable products” must be replaced by “minimum virtuous products” that consider social risks and have a plan to address them.
NASA made airliners safer by blowing one up in 1984. A YouTube video shows the unique, fiery destruction of the decommissioned Boeing 720.
Researchers found 3,000-year-old quinoa seeds in Ontario. The discovery sheds new light on the vast trading system that existed in North America thousands of years ago.
Tokyo’s subway is offering free soba to flexible commuters. The noodles are an incentive to travel at off-peak times.
Preschoolers already show signs of racial bias. They pick up on cues from the adults around them, research suggests.
The Tesla Model S is now a scary-looking police car. Police departments in Los Angeles and Denver have added it to their stable.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, quinoa recipes, and nice doctors to email@example.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by Steve Mollman and Sarah Todd.