US jobs report, trade deal update, space DMs

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Theresa May appeals to the EU. In a speech today, the UK prime minister will urge the bloc’s negotiators to agree to changes she proposed to a previously agreed Brexit deal, which the UK parliament will vote on next week. The EU has insisted that it will not rewrite the agreement, which British MPs rejected in a vote in January.

The US releases its February jobs report. The economy is expected to have added 180,000 jobs in February. That would be 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 EST 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.

The world marks International Women’s Day. Celebrations and protests are planned across the globe today, with activists framing this year’s theme, the fight for a “gender-balanced world,” as a business issue. Only six countries worldwide have equal legal rights for women and men, according to the World Bank.

While you were sleeping

The US said a trade deal with China isn’t imminent. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal (paywall), US ambassador to China Terry Branstad said a meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping was not yet in the works. Hopes that a deal was ready to be signed have buoyed global markets in the past week.

China’s exports fell 20% in February. The unexpectedly weak figures also showed China’s overall trade surplus at $4.1 billion, far short of the predicted $26.4 billion.

Paul Manafort’s sentencing sparked outrage. The 47-month sentence meted out to Trump’s former campaign manager for tax and bank fraud has been criticized by some as too lenient. Manafort faces sentencing in a separate case on two conspiracy charges next week.

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.

Venezuela was hit by a massive power outage. The blackout struck across the nation, beginning at rush hour yesterday and continuing into the early hours of this morning. The government directed blame at the US, calling it an “electrical war” orchestrated by right-wing extremists.

Germany got off to a slow start. Europe’s largest economy saw its steepest drop in industrial orders in seven months in January, with contracts for goods dipping by 2.6%. Concerns over a slowdown in major economies like Germany prompted the OECD earlier this week to once again cut its global growth forecast.

Finland’s prime minister resigned. Following the failure of its proposed healthcare reform, the center-right government collapsed just a month before general elections. Finland’s rapidly aging population has been the topic of reform for decades, but changes have been slow to come.


We’re closing out our Brexit coverage this week with our toolkit full of resources (and comedy!) about the UK/EU separation, and a photo essay profiling a key player in the ongoing geopolitical negotiations: stalwart protester Mr. Stop Brexit. Our new Consummate Consumer feature reveals the credit cards that are the most rewarding for different types of consumers.

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. Meanwhile, the American fondness for TP is rolling across China and India. Sit for a spell with the Quartz Obsession.

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 hair strategies, and self-help advice to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Amanda Shendruk and edited by Jackie Bischof.