Brexit alternatives, Japan’s new era, cauliflower controversy

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Lawmakers take the Brexit steering wheel, again. After rejecting prime minister 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 to break the parliamentary deadlock ahead of the April 12 deadline for leaving the EU.

Jair Bolsonaro begins his Israel visit. Brazil’s far-right president arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday for a four-day trip, his first state visit to the country ahead of its closely contested elections next week. He and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to sign “many agreements,” including security deals. Bolsonaro is also expected to decide whether to move the Brazilian embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the US has done.

Jean-Claude Juncker visits Italy. The European Commission president travels to Rome (paywall) to visit the Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte amid concerns over relations between Brussels and the euro zone’s third-largest economy, which was recently singled out by the International Monetary Fund for its “glaring vulnerabilities” (paywall).

Venezuela gets a shorter working day. As another blackout took hold of Caracas yesterday, the government announced that public and private institutions would end workdays at 2pm until further notice “to achieve consistency in the provision of electricity.”

Over the weekend

Japan revealed its new era name. The arrival of Reiwa, meaning “commanding peace”, comes as crown prince Naruhito prepares to take the throne on May 1 following the abdication of 85-year-old emperor Akihito, bringing an end to the current Heisei era.

A comedian took the lead in Ukraine’s presidential elections. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who plays the president in a television series, received 30.4% of the vote, well ahead of incumbent Petro Poroshenko’s 17.8%, according to exit polls. The two are expected to take part in a run-off election on April 21.

Slovakia elected its first female president. The liberal lawyer and anti-corruption activist Zuzana Caputova defeated her opponent Maros Sefcovic, a career diplomat nominated by the governing party, in a runoff on Saturday. Her victory breaks the trend of populist politicians gaining traction across the EU.

Turkey’s president suffered major setbacks. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party claimed overall victory in local elections, but early results showed the opposition set to seize the major cities of Ankara and Izmir, and possibly even Istanbul. The elections, marred by scattered violence across the country, have been seen as a test of Erdogan’s support amid growing economic malaise.

Kim Jong Nam’s suspected assassin pleaded guilty. A Vietnamese woman accused of murdering the North Korean leader’s half-brother accepted a lesser charge of “causing hurt by a dangerous weapon” and was sentenced to more than three years in prison. Doan Thi Huong has been in custody since February 2017, while her co-accused was released last month.

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. In an op-ed, the Facebook founder and CEO made the case (paywall) 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).

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.”

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 been washing 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 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 Isabella Steger.