Israel’s new government, Indonesia’s election, plastic rain

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Benjamin Netanyahu forms a new government. Following consultations with newly elected parties, Israel’s prime minister secured the backing of a majority of parliament members to assemble a coalition that will likely include his Likud party and traditional partners of ultra-orthodox and right-wing parties.

The top US envoy for North Korea heads to Moscow. Stephen Biegun, who leads negotiations with Pyongyang, is meeting with Russian officials today and tomorrow for talks on denuclearizing North Korea. His visit suggests that a meeting between Kim Jong Un and Russian president Vladimir Putin may be imminent.

The US lifts limits on lawsuits against foreign firms in Cuba. The Trump administration will allow Americans to sue foreign companies operating businesses in Cuba out of properties confiscated by the Havana government six decades ago. The move intensifies US pressure on Cuba, and is strongly opposed by the EU. The US will also announce new sanctions on Venezuela and Nicaragua.

A big day for IPOs… The digital pinboard company Pinterest is expected to be valued around $11 billion, at the high end of its pricing range, but less than its $12 billion private valuation in 2017. Meanwhile, video-conferencing company Zoom, a rare case of a tech unicorn that is profitable, will offer shares at a valuation of around $9 billion.

…and more blue-chip stocks report earnings. Morgan Stanley is the latest big bank to release first-quarter earnings, with revenues expected to rebound from the previous quarter. PepsiCo will also publish its quarterly results, which are expected to get a boost from its snacks business.

While you were sleeping

China’s GDP growth exceeded expectations. The world’s second-largest economy expanded by 6.4% in the first three months of the year, beating analysts’ predictions. But as always with Chinese economic statistics, the real question will be how much to trust the numbers (paywall).

Trump rejected a bill to pull out of Yemen. The US president vetoed a bipartisan Congressional resolution to end the country’s involvement in the Saudi-led war against Yemen. Trump said pulling out would weaken his constitutional powers and endanger lives in the region. Neither chamber of Congress has the votes required to override the veto.

Qualcomm shares soared after a surprise deal with Apple. The companies dropped their long-running patent litigation on the first day of a trial in California, with Apple paying an undisclosed sum to its chip supplier. Shares of Qualcomm, which has been locked in a bitter dispute with Apple over royalties and licensing fees, shot up more than 20%.

Indonesians went to the ballot box. Pollsters said incumbent Joko Widodo had a double-digit lead in the race against his rivals. The official results will be out later today, after polls close on the single-day election with nearly 200 million eligible voters spread over 17,000 islands.’s CEO was accused of rape. In a lawsuit, a Chinese undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota accused Richard Liu, billionaire founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant, of assaulting her last August.

Quartz Obsession

The Notre Dame fire: If there’s a silver lining to the tragic event, it’s that the 13th-century cathedral is an architectural mutt to begin with, built and restored by countless architects over the centuries. Still, the fire forces us to confront a very uncomfortable truth: Our monuments are built for the generations to come, but our ability to protect them is much more limited than we might like to admit. Read more in our Quartz Obsession.


Today we have a guide to traveling with two or more passports, a close look at Uber’s IPO, and a profile of Amazon shareholder MacKenzie Bezos.

Matters of debate

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DNA tests don’t tell us who we really are. Knowing genetic geological origins distracts us from the reality of race.

Students focus too much on making an impact. Rhetoric about “achieving greatness” is pushing them toward the wrong kind of success.

Breaking the law is the future of climate protests. Activists are increasingly willing to commit crimes to save future generations.

Surprising discoveries

NASA is shooting mice into space, and they’re thriving. Rodents used tails and toes to go about their normal business in microgravity.

Stonehenge was built by Turkish immigrants. New DNA evidence reveals that a group from Anatolia brought agricultural know-how and a penchant for stone monuments to ancient Britain.

Microplastics are falling from the sky. Even remote mountain ranges aren’t safe from tiny plastic particles that travel on the wind.

China’s censored Game of Thrones premiere lost six minutes. The custom version axed violence and sex scenes, but the episode emerged mostly unscathed.

A swimming dog was rescued at sea. Workers on an oil rig off Thailand found “Boonrod” 130 miles (209 km) away from shore—freezing and exhausted, but alive.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, rescued pups, and deleted Game of Thrones scenes 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 Jenny Anderson and edited by Akshat Rathi.