Japan’s new era, Zuckerberg op-ed, cauliflower controversy

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Japan opens its doors to lower-skilled foreign workers… Following a radical overhaul of its immigration policies late last year, the country, which faces a shrinking population, will let in more blue-collar workers from overseas. Critics contend such laborers are vulnerable to exploitation.

…and learns the name of its next era. Emperor Akihito will abdicate in about a month, bringing the Heisei era to a close. The name of the next era will be revealed today, after much speculation. Crown prince Naruhito ascends the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1.

Lawmakers take the Brexit steering wheel. After shooting down Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time Friday, the UK Parliament will conduct a second phase of “indicative voting.” The votes aren’t binding, but legislators hope they’ll show a way forward.

Over the weekend

China’s manufacturing gauge unexpectedly rebounded. Marking the first expansion in four months, the official Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.5 in March, up from February’s three-year low of 49.2. China’s economy has been one of the biggest worries for the global outlook.

New York approved “congestion pricing” for the busiest part of Manhattan. Motorists trying to enter the zone below 60th Street will be electronically charged, in a first for the US. Much of the revenue collected will go toward improving the city’s decrepit public transit system.

Jeff Bezos’ security chief dropped a bomb. Gavin de Becker, writing in the Daily Beast, said that the Saudi Arabia government had been surveilling the Amazon CEO’s mobile phone. It had “been intent on harming” Bezos, he wrote, because of reporting by the Bezos-owned Washington Post about the murder of its columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mark Zuckerberg called for internet regulation. The Facebook founder and CEO used an op-ed piece (paywall) to make the case for new government rules around harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability. It’s a sign that Facebook acknowledges such regulation is now inevitable and wants to shape it (paywall).

Vogue relaunched in Greece. Publishers are betting the country’s economic recovery will mean revived demand for glossy fashion magazines. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour welcomed back the Greek edition, saying of the country’s recent woes, “I can only imagine how tough it was.”

Quartz Obsession

We’re surrounded by kludges. The cause of the Boeing 737 Max crashes may be a kludge. The rules governing Boeing? Arguably kludges. Our moral response? Kludgy. Even the language we use to talk about it: kludge. What’s this word? It’s a foundation of human nature (and a linguistic kludge). Patch it together at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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Heavy metal is the thinking person’s music. There’s a significant overlap between metal and opera fans, who share “similarly creative and gentle personalities.”

The US college waitlist has to go. Being put on one is “torturous for the kids,” and only a small percentage of them get admitted.

You shouldn’t follow adorable exotic animals on Instagram. Photos and videos of them acting unnaturally, though cute, may actually be a sign of their mistreatment.

Surprising discoveries

There’s no sign of a $450 million painting. “Salvator Mundi” fetched a record price in 2017 but has yet to appear (paywall) at the Louvre Abu Dhabi as promised.

Arkansas lawmakers passed a law against cauliflower rice. Food companies may no longer call it “rice.” (The same law prohibits calling plant-based meats “meat.”)

Parisians initially hated the Louvre Pyramid. Now celebrating its 30th year, the French monument was derided as a “gigantic, ruinous gadget.”

Americans “far outpace” the rest of the world in toilet paper usage. The average four-person US household uses more than 100 lbs (45 kg) of it a year.

Bright orange Garfield telephones have washed up on a French beach for 35 years. They came from a container that fell off a cargo ship in 1983 and disappeared into a coastal cave.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Louvre postcards, and heavy-metal playlists to hi@qz.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Steve Mollman and Kevin J. Delaney.