Uber strike, Trump’s losses, canned water

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Uber and Lyft drivers go on strike. The work stoppage is scheduled for the morning rush hour in a number of US and UK cities, including New York, Los Angeles, London, and Glasgow, in protest of the companies’ labor practices. It comes a day before Uber is due to price its shares (paywall) ahead of its high-profile IPO.

South Africa holds parliamentary elections. Despite growing anger at corruption within its ranks, the African National Congress is all but certain to win the most votes, securing another term for president Cyril Ramaphosa. Key issues include land reform, crime, and the provision of basic utilities such as water and electricity.

Huawei’s CFO goes back to court. Meng Wanzhou appears in a Vancouver court five months after her arrest, for a short administrative hearing as part of her fight against being extradited to the US. She is currently out on bail.

Disney opens its books. The entertainment giant’s shares hit a record high last month, and expectations for its latest quarterly results are positive. The Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Endgame recently broke global box office records and streaming service Disney+ will launch in the US later this year for half the monthly price of Netflix.

While you were sleeping

Donald Trump lost $1 billion in 10 years. An investigation by the New York Times found that the president’s businesses were deep in the red between 1985 to 1994, according to federal income tax information. He was able to avoid paying income taxes for almost a decade as a result.

More than $40 million in bitcoin was stolen from a major exchange. In a “large scale security breach,” hackers took 7,000 bitcoin from Binance, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges. The company’s emergency insurance fund will cover the cost, so no user funds will be affected, but the exchange has suspended all deposits and withdrawals while it conducts a security review.

Toyota missed expectations. The Japanese automaker said its profit will rise 3.3% in its current fiscal year, which disappointed analysts who were expecting more. Its shares fell in Tokyo trading as execs pledged to find new ways to cut costs.

Alibaba took on Amazon. The Chinese e-commerce giant told the Financial Times it is planing to offer a full international service. AliExpress, which sells goods from Chinese retailers to customers around the world, will open up its platform for the first time to sellers in Russia, Turkey, Italy, and Spain, aiming to expand to more countries in the future.


The world’s largest money market fund is only six years old. Ant Financial launched Yu’e Bao (“Leftover Treasure”) as part of its Alipay app, and now some 588 million Chinese use it. Its runaway success is a sign of China’s financial potential, as well as a deep and worrisome imbalance within its economy. Also, as part of this week’s field guide on Ant Financial, we profile its fiercest rival, Tencent, which is gunning for control of Chinese digital wallets just as aggressively as Alipay.

Quartz Obsession

Butter: For a good chunk of the late 20th century, it was in the dietary doghouse. Now, butter is back at the big kid’s table, thanks to celebrity chefs, a backlash against processed foods, and new nutrition advice. Take a look at how butter spread around the world in today’s Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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Taxing targeted ad revenue could curtail Big Tech. Google and Facebook should be pressured to make significant changes to their business models.

A second Brexit referendum is inevitable. The intransigence and growing confidence of purists on both sides makes a compromise deal impossible.

Women gifted in math are still less likely than men to pursue it. STEM majors are losing out on mathematically gifted women.

Surprising discoveries

A Mongolian couple died of the bubonic plague. They contracted the illness after eating raw marmot.

Qantas made a zero-garbage flight. Passengers on a Sydney-Adelaide flight used biodegradable cutlery and packaging made from sugar cane and crop starch.

Random stock picks are better than expert ones. The Wall Street Journal’s investments, selected by throwing darts, beat a portfolio chosen by the best professional investors.

Canned water is now on the market. Liquid Death markets itself to people who are into heavy metal and punk rock.

Sunscreen chemicals hang out in your body. The active ingredients show up in the bloodstream at unnervingly high levels for several days.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, compostable airplane meals, and hot stock tips 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 Amanda Shendruk and edited by Jason Karaian.