Brexit vote #3, Huawei profits, hovercraft moose hunt

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Looking for something fascinating to listen to after you finish this email? In this week’s episode of Should This Exist?, experts debate whether supersonic airplanes—which travel at 2x the speed of current commercial jets—will make flying easier for everyone, or make global inequality even worse.

What to watch for today and over the weekend

The UK parliament votes on Brexit, yet again. Theresa May’s government will make a third attempt to secure approval of its a withdrawal agreement. Due to some complicated tactical maneuvering, it won’t include the political declaration that outlines the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

The US and China get down to business. After last night’s ceremonial dinner, negotiators are having a full day of talks aimed at resolving some stubborn sticking points. China has reportedly made concessions on some key issues, including forced technology transfers.

Lyft goes public. The ride-hailing company priced its shares at $72 yesterday ahead of its public listing, valuing the Uber rival at more than $24 billion. While the company has generated large revenues, it also has the largest net losses of any pre-IPO businesses—close to $1 billion in 2018.

Ukraine goes to the polls. The March 31 election is the first since the 2014 toppling of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. Anti-establishment comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy is currently leading incumbent Petro Poroshenko in polls.

Palestinians get ready for mass demonstrations. The protests on Saturday mark a year since large-scale rallies erupted along the Israeli border and come just days after fighting between Israel and Hamas flared up. The conflict will figure on the packed agenda of the Arab League summit, which meets Sunday in Tunisia.

The Dalai Lama marks 60 years in exile. Six decades ago Sunday, Tibet’s spiritual leader slipped into India after a perilous two-week trek, where he soon set up a government in exile. In recent years, international attention has shifted away from Tibet amid the Chinese Communist Party’s relentless efforts to reshape the global conversation about the region.

While you were sleeping

Facebook tightened its political advertising rules ahead of EU elections. Advertisers will have to provide verifiable public contact details before they can run political campaigns on the social network, the company announced, part of a series of changes leading up to elections for the European Parliament in May.  

Huawei’s profits soared. The Chinese tech giant reported a 25% jump in profit last year to $8.8 billion, even though it narrowly missed its sales target. Its carrier business, which provides telecommunications products including 5G equipment worldwide, dropped by 1.3%, a possible sign that intense pressure from the US-led campaign against the company is taking a toll.

Juan Guaidó was banned from running for office. The Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared interim president was given a 15-year ban from holding public office, the state comptroller announced, citing inconsistencies in Guaidó’s personal financial disclosures. Meanwhile, as efforts to oust president Nicolás Maduro have stalled, the US has ordered foreign firms to cut further oil trades with Venezuela or face sanctions.

New Zealand held a memorial service for its mosque attack victims. Security was tight as tens of thousands, including dozens of foreign dignitaries, gathered in Christchurch to commemorate the 50 people killed in terrorist attacks two weeks ago. Several events across the country set up to watch the National Remembrance Service were canceled because of limited police resources.

The journalist Maria Ressa was arrested again. The founder of the lauded Philippines news site Rappler was arrested at the Manila airport shortly after arriving from San Francisco, and was charged with violating a law that bans foreign ownership of media. A vocal critic of president Rodrigo Duterte, Ressa was arrested last month on “cyber libel” charges. 

China thanked Kazakhstan for its support on its mass internment campaign. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi praised the Central Asian nation’s “understanding and support” of its controversial de-radicalization program in Xinjiang, where up to a million Uyghurs are held in detention camps that China insists are vocational training centers.  

Quartz Obsession

Supersonic flight: Three US companies are trying to break the sound barrier on commercial flights, which hasn’t been done since the Concorde last few in 2003. That plane represented the apex of the age, but it was extremely expensive and not especially luxurious. Should we really be trying to go beyond the speed of sound once again? Onboard at the Quartz Obsession.


What jellyfish can teach us about immortality. Anyone who has ever looked in the mirror and tried to smooth their wrinkles away might well be jealous of the turritopsis dohrnii. The tiny jellyfish has the ability to regenerate its cells and literally turn back to a more youthful version of itself. Find out more here.

Matters of debate

Join the conversation with the new Quartz app!

Getting dietary advice from online personalities is dangerous. The scandal surrounding a fish-eating vegan YouTube influencer teaches us as much.

Better communication skills will help humans trust self-driving cars. They need to provide clear signals that let us read what their machine minds are planning.

Parents are helping perpetuate the cult of homework. Their views on how much homework is enough have been shaped by the system they’re frequently critiquing.

Surprising discoveries

The US Supreme Court ruled an Alaska man can shoot moose from a hovercraft. Justice Elena Kagan wrote the hunter can once again “rev up his hovercraft in search of moose.”

Scotland has a “dog suicide bridge.” Hundreds of dogs have leapt off the century-old gothic structure for unexplained reasons.

A painting long thought to be a fake Botticelli turned out to be a real Botticelli. British conservators confirmed the authenticity of “Madonna of the Pomegranate” via X-ray and infrared tests.

Finnish prisoners are training AI. In a modern twist on prison labor, a startup employs inmates to train its algorithms.

Pope Francis is a germaphobe. The pontiff explained it was “a simple question of hygiene” when he pulled his hand away from Catholics attempting to kiss his ring last week.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hand sanitizer, and immortal jellyfish 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.