Tibet anniversary, Manafort’s lenient sentence, Insta-famous Parisian street

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

The UK faces a deadline to rewrite its Brexit plan for Ireland. Just over three weeks before its scheduled exit from the European Union, the UK must find a way to avoid a hard border within the island without enmeshing the UK in the bloc’s trade rules.

The US releases its February jobs report. The economy is expected to have added 180,000 jobs in February, a big drop from the 304,000 added in January, but economists still think the labor market looks strong.

The SpaceX crew module splashes down. The spacecraft, which docked with the International Space Station last weekend, is due to land in Atlantic Ocean near Florida at approximately 8:45am ET on Saturday.

Suspense is low ahead of North Korea’s parliamentary elections. The rubber stamp legislature has extremely good odds for its approved candidates: Last time they secured exactly 100% of the vote on 99.97% turnout, according to authorities.

An anniversary looms in China. Sunday marks 60 years since the crushing of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, which led to the Dalai Lama’s exile. Authorities have restricted travel by Tibetans and foreign tourists are also barred from the region for several weeks.  

While you were sleeping

China’s exports fell 20% in February. The unexpectedly weak figures, which come as the US and China are trying to reach a deal to reduce trade tensions, also showed China’s overall trade surplus at $4.1 billion, far short of the predicted $26.4 billion.

Paul Manafort got 47 months in prison. The sentence meted out to US president Donald Trump’s former campaign manager for tax and bank fraud has been criticized as too lenient. He faces sentencing in a separate case on two conspiracy charges next week.

Michael Cohen sued the Trump Organization for nearly $4 million.  The president’s former lawyer claims the Trump-controlled business owes him for legal fees and costs related to the Russia probe and hush-money payments he made on behalf of Trump. Separately, a judge dismissed porn actress Stormy Daniels’ hush-money agreement suit against Trump.

The US House agreed to condemn all hate. A measure to condemn anti-Semitism, prompted by Democratic Minnesota lawmaker Ilhan Omar’s comments about pro-Israel lobbying, morphed into a broad resolution that reflected both Democrats’ values and divisions.

Tesla got a $521 million loan from Chinese banks. The funding will go towards building its Gigafactory 3 assembly plant in Shanghai, which is expected to start production later this year.  Meanwhile, CEO Elon Musk’s pot use on a webcast has led the Pentagon to review his security clearance (paywall)—given because his company SpaceX launches military satellites.

Airbnb got into the hotel business. Terms for the acquisition of HotelTonight were not announced, but the boutique-hotel booking site was most recently valued above $460 million. The deal could reassure investors as Airbnb eyes an IPO.


Today we have a Q&A with the head of The City of London about Brexit and its impact on London’s financial community. We also have an infographic about Brexit and immigration, an Insider View of PR, and a Private Key feature on Coinbase and its latest/troubling acquisition.

Quartz Obsession

Toilet paper: For some bathroom reading, consider that Americans’ taste for luxury TP consumes a lot of trees. Virgin wood pulp has longer fibers than recycled-paper pulp, so it makes fluffier paper, but at a heavy environmental cost. Bidet manufacturers hope to eventually cross the streams of wellness and environmentalism, but meanwhile the American fondness for TP is rolling across China and India. Sit for a spell with the Quartz Obsession, and don’t forget to wash your hands!

Matters of debate

Join the conversation with the new Quartz app!

The world is stuck with English. It would take an enormous global effort to switch to another lingua franca.

“Be yourself” is terrible advice. It’s an empty self-help mandate.

Psychedelics are the new gluten-free. Gwyneth Paltrow thinks tripping for wellness is the next big thing.

Surprising discoveries

The British royal family is being trolled by racists. Abuse aimed at Meghan Markle since her marriage to Prince Harry has led to new protocols on royal social media channels.

The rain in Greenland falls mainly on the ice sheet—and it shouldn’t. Unseasonal rain from warming winters is accelerating ice melt.

Residents of a Paris street want to shut out Instagrammers. They can’t stand the hordes of tourists hunting for the perfect ’gram.

Xi Jinping’s graying locks are a radical act. China’s Communist leaders have traditionally appeared in public with perfectly black hair, symbolizing youthfulness and unity.

Hey space, U up? For a nominal fee, Blockstream will send your message into space via satellite, for other civilizations to receive…and be utterly confused by.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, gray hairs, and space chats to hi@qz.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Mary Hui and edited by Tripti Lahiri.