Lyft IPO, May’s step-down vow, kosher weed

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

An update on the US economy. The final estimate of US fourth-quarter gross domestic product is expected to be revised from 2.6% to 2.4% (paywall) on weaker retail and construction spending. That would drag the full-year growth rate to 2.9%—below the 3% that Trump boasted about.

Google signs a deal with Cuba. The tech giant is set to announce a memorandum of understanding with Cuban telecoms monopoly ETECSA to explore ways of improving connectivity in the island nation.

Lyft will price its initial public offering. The ride-hailing company is set to price its shares, after raising the price range yesterday to between $70 and $72 per share. That means it is now targeting a valuation of up to $24.3 billion when it lists on Friday.

Qatar’s national museum opens to the public. Eighteen years in the making, the giant desert-rose-like structure designed by French architect Jean Nouvel will finally welcome visitors. The museum’s series of permanent exhibitions will showcase Qatari history.

While you were sleeping

Theresa May promised to step down if parliament approves her Brexit plan. The embattled UK prime minister told Conservative MPs that she would step aside, as many are demanding, if her twice-defeated proposal to leave the EU is approved in a third vote by Friday—the official date by which the UK must leave the EU that was extended last week to April 12.  Lawmakers also defeated all eight non-binding Brexit alternative plans in a series of “indicative votes.”

Monsanto was ordered to pay $80 million in damages. A federal jury ruled that the agrochemical corporation should be held liable for a California man’s cancer, which was determined to be partly caused by his use of the popular weedkiller Roundup. The ruling is a major blow to Monsanto and its parent company Bayer, which are defending themselves against thousands of similar claims.  

Europe voted to ban single-use plastic. The European Parliament overwhelmingly approved sweeping legislation to outlaw single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws, stirrers, and polystyrene cups. The ban comes into effect in 2021. Separately, the parliament also tightened caps (paywall) on carbon dioxide emissions from cars in a push to spur electric vehicles.

China’s premier pledged to widen market access for foreign investors. In a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia, Li Keqiang said China would make it easier for foreign banking and insurance firms to enter China. He also said the country would cut real interest rate levels and lower financing costs for companies, but did not specify which interest rate he was referring to.

Boeing announced a software fix to the 737 Max. The company said its update would prevent erroneous sensor data from triggering a controversial anti-stall system (paywall), which is suspected of causing two recent fatal crashes. Boeing was close to rolling out the fix (paywall) when an Ethiopian Airlines jet went down on March 10, Bloomberg reported.

Quartz Obsession

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. But that wasn’t always the case. The phrase, which now crops up as a reminder to look for the hidden costs in a mutual fund or user agreement, comes from the days when US saloons would offer patrons a meal with the purchase of a drink. Sidle up to the Quartz Obsession for the full story.


Immortality: Humankind’s documented attempts to cheat death and live forever fall into six categories and go back to at least the 4th century BC. Our coded timeline tells the story. We also shed light on what today’s life expectancy in the US says about global inequality and why Bill Gates thinks the pursuit of immortality by his superrich peers is “egocentric.”

Matters of debate

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Ethicists aren’t any more ethical than the rest of us. They might have stricter moral views, but are no better at behaving morally.

White nationalism is no different than white supremacy. Facebook was forced to erase the distinction by the New Zealand mosque shootings.

Bagels shouldn’t be vertically sliced. Serving them “St. Louis style” is a crime against the baked good.

Surprising discoveries

One-third of China is invested in a single mutual fund. Ant Financial’s Yu’e Bao has $168.26 billion in assets under management (paywall).

SoftBank’s founder narrowly missed out on an early Amazon investment. Masayoshi Son came up just short of Jeff Bezos’ $130 million asking price for a 30% stake (paywall).

Kosher cannabis is for sale in California. The Jewish dietary law requires the product to be clean and not infested with pests.

Health officials want France to cut back on wine. New guidelines suggest no more than two glasses a day, and at most 10 a week.

Greenland’s largest glacier is growing—but not in a good way. NASA found that part of Jakobshavn Glacier is gaining ice for the first time in 20 years, due to troublesome shifts in ocean temperatures.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, growing glaciers, and surplus French wine to Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written Mary Hui and edited by Isabella Steger.