Tesla on show, Sri Lanka bombings, Earth Day tip

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

House Democrats meet to discuss the Mueller report. House speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to hold a conference call with Democratic colleagues about next steps following the release last week of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report. The topic of impeachment may be raised in the meeting (paywall).

The US ends sanctions waivers for Iran oil imports. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo is expected to announce that all countries must completely end their imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions (paywall). The move escalates pressure on Tehran as the Trump administration tries to starve the regime of its oil money.

Egypt wraps up a referendum. Voting concludes today on a measure that could see president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi hold onto power until 2030. Observers have warned the constitutional changes would further consolidate authoritarian rule.

Tesla holds an investor day ahead of earnings. CEO Elon Musk will try to drum up excitement about driverless vehicles at the company’s California headquarters. The electric-car maker is expected to announce losses (paywall) in a quarterly report on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the company is investigating video of a parked Model S catching fire in Shanghai.

Over the weekend

Easter Sunday bombings killed close to 300 people in Sri Lanka. The attacks, which targeted churches throughout the country and three popular hotels in the capital, Colombo, have been blamed on a little-known radical Islamic terror group (paywall). It was the deadliest violence in Sri Lanka since the end of its civil war 10 years ago. The country has been placed under nationwide curfew with access to social media platforms temporarily blocked.

The FBI cracked down on border vigilantes. The leader of the United Constitutional Patriots, an armed group of mainly military veterans stopping migrants as they enter the US via Mexico, was arrested on Saturday after New Mexico’s governor ordered an investigation. The American Civil Liberties Union has called the group a “fascist militia.”

Samsung temporarily tucked away launch plans. The electronics giant has reportedly delayed events (paywall) in Hong Kong and Shanghai for its $2,000 Galaxy Fold phone following media reports that review models were breaking after only a few days of use. The phone is scheduled to be released in the US on Friday.

Huawei soared despite US pressure. The Chinese telecommunications company posted stellar first-quarter earnings, with revenue up 39% over last year. It also reported signing 40 commercial 5G contracts with carriers, despite the US urging allies against working with the company. Analysts expect Huawei to overtake Apple in phone shipments this year.

Ukraine elected a comedian as its new leader. Volodymyr Zelensky, whose wildly popular comedy Servant of the People has skewered Ukranian politics since 2015, defeated the incumbent Petro Poroshenko with 73% of the vote. His election reflects the tide of populism in Europe and continued frustration with corruption in Ukraine.


The rise of gene readers. We dive into direct-to-consumer genetic-testing kits, a growing business which promises to enhance knowledge of our health and our heritage, but is based on less-than-stringent claims of efficacy and accuracy. And in the latest episode of our new members-only video series Because China, we look at Chinese students in America, the largest group of international students from any one country ever.

Quartz Obsession

Maslow’s pyramid: The popular framework for explaining human motivation has for decades been represented by a colorful diagram. But recent research suggests the hierarchy of needs not only fails to describe motivation accurately—it doesn’t even capture the complete thinking of the psychologist it’s named for. Read more in our Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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Doing nothing is a way to do something. To mark Earth Day today, just sit still.

Your laptop-holding position reveals a lot. You can seem defensive, careless, or plain boring.

Print is the future of luxury. Books in dead-tree format are the ultimate status symbol.

Surprising discoveries

An insurance agent is in charge of restoring Notre Dame’s art. Michel Honore has assembled a team of 30 specialists for the job.

A Kentucky welder made a Game of Thrones throne. The 200 lbs (91 kg) life-size “iron throne” is made of aluminum and took more than two months to complete.

Scientists discovered a man who can’t cooperate. Researchers looking at the part of the brain responsible for collaboration stumbled across a “completely selfish” man.

A giant mammal fossil was found in a museum drawer. The new species, dubbed “Simbakubwa kutokaafrika” or “big African lion,” was identified from bones found in a Kenyan museum.

A huge alligator invaded a Florida neighborhood. The 11 ft (3.3 m), 600 lbs (272 kg) creature, which plowed through a chain-link fence, didn’t even break local records.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, gator repellent, and GoT-inspired art 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 Adam Rasmi and edited by Jackie Bischof.