Uber IPO, trade-war escalation, toxically masculine makeup

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Uber goes public. The year’s most anticipated IPO is projected to be the biggest in the US since 2014, despite the company’s failure to turn a profit and its brand identity hitting some significant roadblocks. Its share price has been set at $45, at the low end of its expected range, giving Uber a valuation of over $80 billion.

Japan and Russia talk territory. The hotly contested Northern Territories or Southern Kurils, depending whether you hail from Japan or Russia, will be the topic of the latest sit-down in Moscow. Once the dispute has finally been resolved, the two nations could formally conclude their World War II hostilities.

South Africa reports election results. President Cyril Ramaphosa will find out tomorrow whether his African National Congress party has secured a large enough victory to enact his agenda. Polls show that he’s all but guaranteed a parliamentary win, but his margins will matter.

Lithuania goes to the polls.  Prime minister Saulius Skvernelis is facing an uphill battle in Sunday’s presidential elections, and has said that he will resign if he comes third or lower. After this weekend’s vote, the top two candidates head to a run-off on May 26.

While you were sleeping

The US hit China with a new round of tariffs. President Donald Trump more than doubled tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, from the current 10% to 25%, dramatically escalating the trade war. The move came after no breakthrough was reached as both sides met late into the evening yesterday, with talks set to continue today. China said it “deeply regrets” the tariff hike and will take “necessary countermeasures.”

Chelsea Manning was released from jail. The former US army intelligence analyst, who leaked state secrets to Wikileaks in 2010, had been held for 62 days for refusing to testify before an investigation. However, she was served with a new subpoena and will have to face a grand jury again on May 16.

Anna Sorokin was sentenced to prison. The Russian-born woman who posed as a German billionaire heiress under the name of Anna Delvey to swindle New York’s finest restaurants and hotels could face between four to 12 years in jail on charges of grand larceny and theft of services.

Jeff Bezos unveiled a lunar lander. The Amazon CEO’s space company, Blue Origin, announced its intention to send an unmanned mission to the moon via its new Blue Moon lander, which can carry seven tons of cargo.

The US charged a Chinese hacker with a 2015 attack that compromised the data of millions. A federal grand jury in Indianapolis indicted Wang Fujie and others in a hacking campaign against US businesses, including insurance company Anthem.


We talk to Fraser Howie, co-author of a seminal book on the creation of China’s state-owned banking behemoths, who believes that Chinese fintech upstarts like Ant Financial are still beholden to their old-economy predecessors. Over at Private Key, we look at a novel and controversial solution to bitcoin heists: asking bitcoin miners to roll back the theft.

Quartz Obsession

The pizza box refuses to be disrupted. Decades after its invention, the square box for a round meal remains unbeatable in balancing effectiveness and cost efficiency. Silicon Valley keeps trying to improve on it, but the foundation of the delivery economy is still sturdy, square, and corrugated.

Matters of debate

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Facebook needs to be broken up. Company co-founder Chris Hughes says Mark Zuckerberg has amassed too much power.

We should stop eating fish. The fishing industry is hastening the general collapse of life on Earth.

Delivery bots make cities more accessible for everyone. They could spur more equitable and navigable urban design.

Surprising discoveries

Antarctica thrives on seal and penguin poop. Nitrogen-rich feces create hot spots with lots of biological diversity in what is otherwise a desolate landscape.

Paternal leave policies made Spanish men want fewer kids. Researchers think spending time with their children made men more aware of the effort and costs associated with childrearing.

A naked Vermeer Cupid will soon be restored. Lab tests on Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window revealed the figure had been overpainted decades after the artist’s death.

You can’t hide toxic masculinity with concealer. Men’s cosmetic brand War Paint is under fire for its “unnecessarily aggressive” branding.

San Francisco has the most billionaires per capita of any city. One out of 11,600 residents is a billionaire—runner-up New York City only has one for every 81,000.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, penguin dung, and Cupid arrows 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 Mary Hui and edited by Isabella Steger.