Uber IPO, trade-war escalation, precious penguin poop

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.

Mark Zuckerberg faces France. The Facebook chief meets with French president Emmanuel Macron today to discuss a draft digital tax and proposed fines for social media companies that don’t take down unlawful material. Macron has been leading a push for greater digital tech regulation in Europe.

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.

While you were sleeping

The US hit China with a new round of tariffs. President Trump raised tariffs from 10% to 25% on about $200 billion worth of Chinese goods after no breakthrough was reached in trade negotiations that went late into the evening. Talks are 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.

The Trump administration pressed diplomacy with North Korea. Special envoy Stephen Biegun said the door remains open (paywall) to restart negotiations between the US and North Korea, one day after Pyongyang test-fired two short-range missiles, and the US seized a North Korean cargo ship that it said violated international sanctions.

Asia’s richest man bought a UK toy retailer. Indian magnate Mukesh Ambani purchased British chain Hamleys (paywall) for $88 million in an all-cash deal. Hamleys has struggled in the UK in recent years, but has fared well in India. The purchase adds to Ambani’s growing consumer goods portfolio.

British Airways got a small lift. Parent company IAG SA reported €135 million ($151 million) in operating profit (paywall) for the first quarter, an improvement over European competitors Lufthansa and Air France-KLM, which each recently posted more than $300 million in losses. Still, quarterly results are down 60% from a year earlier.


Quartz reporters this week laid out the state of play for Chinese fintech giant Ant Financial. They took a close look at Alipay, the all-encompassing app at the center of Ant’s growth; Yu’e Bao, Ant’s money-market fund (which is the largest in the world), and chronicled the fierce competition between Ant and its archrival, Tencent. We also had our regular weekly servings of Private Key, a new episode of Because China, an analysis of Slack’s S-1, and an update to our immortality guide.

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. Enjoy a slice of history in today’s Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

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

We should stop eating fish. The 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 of biological diversity in an otherwise desolate landscape.

Paternity leave 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 painted over decades after the artist’s death.

Meditation might not be a path to calm. A quarter of regular mediators report negative mental states after the practice.

India’s navy sank a submarine by forgetting to close a hatch. The incident happened shortly after the $3 billion vessel’s launch.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, Cupid arrows, penguin dung, and disruptive pizza box designs 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.