Lyft’s IPO lift-off, Brexit vote #3, 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 US and China get down to business. After a ceremonial dinner last night, negotiators are having a full day of talks aimed at resolving some stubborn sticking points in the ongoing trade dispute. China has reportedly made concessions on some key issues, including forced technology transfers.

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

Lyft goes public. The ride-hailing company priced its shares at $72 yesterday ahead of its public listing, valuing it at more than $24 billion (paywall). While the Uber rival 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 against a decade-old blockade. 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. Tibet’s spiritual leader slipped into India six decades ago on Sunday, where he 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

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.

H&M’s quarterly sales sparkled. The Swedish fashion giant posted first-quarter earnings (paywall) that beat analyst estimates, causing its stock price to surge more than 15%. Pretax profits were boosted by selling more wares at full price.

A preliminary conclusion was made in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Investigators believe a flight-control feature that forces the Boeing 737 Max’s nose downward was activated before (paywall) the deadly crash in January. The same feature is suspected to be behind a Lion Air crash in October. Boeing yesterday released a software patch to fix the feature, known as MCAS.

The US told foreign firms to get off Venezuelan oil. Reuters reported that Washington has told companies to cut further oil trades with the Latin American country or face sanctions. Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó was banned by the government yesterday from running for public office for 15 years.

New Zealand held a memorial service for its mosque attack victims. 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 set up to watch the National Remembrance Service were canceled because of limited police resources.

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 European Parliament elections in May.

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.

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 star teaches us not to rely on the filtered lives of influencers.

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 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 (paywall).

A painting long thought to be a fake Botticelli turned out to be real. 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, holy 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 Adam Rasmi and edited by Jackie Bischof.