Brexit’s crucial week, China grounds Boeing 737 Max, medieval diseases

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Britain begins a crucial week for Brexit. Prime minister Theresa May is battling for the deal she negotiated—and possibly her job—ahead of a key vote on Tuesday. If the lawmakers veto her proposal, more votes will follow, including one on whether to delay the March 29 departure from the European Union.

The UN Environment Assembly meets in Nairobi. The forum, which runs through March 15 and is expected to draw world leaders including French president Emmanuel Macron, is tinged by tragedy this year. At least 19 UN officials were among the victims in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight bound for Nairobi shortly after it took off from Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Iran’s president visits Iraq. Hassan Rouhani is making his first official trip to Baghdad for high-level meetings with its Shiite-led government, a strong Tehran ally. The trip comes as Rouhani faces an economic crisis at home and pressure from restored US sanctions.

Another request for wall funding. Donald Trump will ask Congress for $8.6 billion (paywall) to complete the barrier at the southern border as part of his fiscal 2020 budget proposal. Lawmakers declined his previous request to finance the wall, prompting Trump to declare a national emergency in order to bypass them and access the money.

Elon Musk will ask a judge to go easy on him. The Tesla CEO will make the case (paywall) that he shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for his tweet last month about the company’s production figures. The Securities and Exchange Commission contends Musk violated an earlier settlement over his Twitter communications.

Germany releases manufacturing and trade data. The figures for January come as Europe’s largest economy narrowly avoided falling into a recession in the last three months of 2018.

Over the weekend

Malaysia freed a woman accused of killing Kim Jong Nam. Prosecutors withdrew charges against Siti Aisyah, an Indonesian held in the 2017 assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother, but didn’t say why. The fate of a Vietnamese woman who was also charged is not known.

China grounded all of its Boeing 737 Max planes. The country’s aviation regulator ordered the suspension following the deadly crash on Sunday of a 737 Max operated by Ethiopian Airlines, killing all 157 on board. It was the second deadly crash involving that model.

Algeria’s president returned home. The ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who has spent the past two weeks in a Swiss hospital, arrived back to continuing mass demonstrations to protest his push for re-election to a fifth term. 

US-backed forces attacked the last ISIS stronghold in Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces launched an assault on the Islamic State’s final enclave of Baghuz near the Iraqi border. The strikes are aimed at wiping out the last of the “caliphate” proclaimed by ISIS in 2014.

India set its election dates. Polls to form the lower house of parliament will be held on seven dates in April and May, with results declared on May 23. Whichever party, or coalition of parties, wins a majority of 272 seats will elect the prime minister of India (paywall).

US Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin died aged 23. The three-time world champion, who was studying for a graduate degree at Stanford University, has passed away, USA Cycling confirmed.

Quartz Obsession

Put your hands together for applause: The act of clapping has been part of human nature since recorded history began. But what it means isn’t always simple. From its use in the Byzantine empire to the Soviet Union to the US State of the Union, this gesture has a remarkably complex history. Read more in the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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The US should stay on daylight saving time permanently. It would decrease crime, save energy, and encourage more outdoor recreation.

The ‘self-made billionaire’ is a lie. A raft of research debunks the enduring myth.  

The anxiety business is making us more anxious. Squishy toys and fidget spinners worth billions are commodifying our anxiety, not easing it.  

Surprising discoveries

K-pop stars aren’t just from South Korea anymore. Labels are making the genre more global by featuring artists from other countries.

Medieval diseases are infecting California’s homeless. Illnesses like typhus and tuberculosis have flared in recent years, turning the homeless crisis into a public-health crisis.

Humans are wiping out chimpanzee culture. Human activity has already pushed chimpanzee populations to the brink, but research now shows chimps’ distinct cultural behaviors are at risk, too.

Carlos Ghosn’s workman disguise angered Japanese construction companies. The companies fear reputational harm (paywall) after the former Nissan chairman exited jail wearing clothes associated with their firms.

A nine-year-old girl helped design Stephen Curry’s new sneaker. Riley Morrison’s work appears in the sock liner and includes phrases like “Girls Hoop Too.”

Captain Marvel just had the biggest opening ever for a female-fronted film. It also had the second-largest worldwide premiere for any superhero film.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, K-pop opportunities, and sneaker designs to 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.