CES Asia, Canada plastic ban, office chair races

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

CES Asia kicks off. The Consumer Electronics Show is scheduled to bring 550 exhibiting companies to Shanghai to showcase innovations in transportation tech, AI, and 5G through Thursday.

The US takes on Thailand in the Women’s World Cup. The defending champions play their first game in the tournament, and are favored to win against Thailand, putting the team closer to an anticipated matchup with France in the quarterfinals.

Botswana decides on decriminalizing gay sex. The African nation’s law currently prohibits both oral and anal sex as “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” punishable by up to seven years in prison. Botswana’s high court will make a definitive decision on whether to change the law, as LGBTQ advocates hope the nation follows Angola’s example, not Kenya’s.

While you were sleeping

Canada announced a plan to ban single-use plastics. The list of forbidden plastics isn’t set yet, but could include fast-food containers, plates, cutlery, and shopping bags. The ban could take effect as soon as 2021.

US democrats dredged up more Mueller documents. House judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler announced a deal with the Justice Department to get access to “Robert Mueller’s most important files.” But the battle between democrats and the White House over the rest of the special counsel’s unreleased evidence is far from over, and a House vote on holding attorney general William Barr in contempt is still scheduled for Tuesday.

Salesforce made a deal. The customer relations software company became a customer itself, acquiring data visualization firm Tableau in an all-stock deal worth $15.7 billion, significantly higher than Tableau’s last valuation of $10.79 billion. San Francisco-based Salesforce will now count Tableau’s homebase of Seattle as its second hub.

A helicopter crashed into a Manhattan skyscraper. The pilot died, but no one else was hurt. Authorities acknowledged that the image of an aircraft hitting a building is triggering for a post-9/11 New York, but there’s no sign of terrorism.

Ten candidates stepped up for the UK prime minister job. The deadline for nominations came and went, and the expected would-be PMs who hadn’t already done so threw their hats in the ring, with the exception of conservative MP Sam Gyimah. The candidates will now face a series of votes that will reduce the playing field to just two.


The future of food lies in Israel. Hundreds of tech startups are housed in Israel, a veritable Silicon Valley on the Mediterranean. But a fascinating subset of that industry is the panoply of food-tech startups calling the Holy Land their home. In this week’s field guide, starting with today’s state of play memo, Quartz’s science reporter Chase Purdy explains how Israel is already dealing with issues related to food and climate that the rest of the world is only starting to address.

Quartz Obsession

Your smellscape is how your nose knows the world. A combination of 400 kinds of olfactory receptors means each person smells things a little (or a lot) differently from the next, which is why we can’t always agree on whether our wine is woody or if our pee smells weird after we eat asparagus. But scientists are hoping those unique prints can make connections between the sense and a range of ailments. Don’t turn up your nose at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of debate

Join the conversation with the new Quartz app!

Education reform is futile. Countries like the US should instead focus on fixing income disparity.

The world is ready for digital-only banks. They just need to differentiate themselves from brick-and-mortar competitors to succeed.

Men in ballgowns is this year’s best red-carpet trend. Long defined by drab suits and bowties, men’s fashion is getting a much needed refresh.

Surprising discoveries

Egypt wants to take a King Tut statue off the market. Egyptian officials argue that the 3,000-year-old bust was likely stolen, and Christie’s auction house should return it.

A missing $450 million painting could be on Mohammad Bin Salman’s yacht. The whereabouts of “Salvator Mundi”—which may or may not be by Da Vinci—have been a mystery since last year.

A Japanese town hosted an office chair Grand Prix. Racers seated in regular office furniture scooted through city streets for two straight hours.

Nancy Pelosi and Justin Trudeau are sports gamblers. The San Franciscan congresswoman and Canadian prime minister made a friendly wager on the NBA finals.

The persecution of women is not something to celebrate. Kylie Jenner is facing backlash for cheerfully hosting a Handmaid’s Tale-themed birthday party.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, speedy office chairs, and missing paintings to hi@qz.com. Join the next chapter of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written and edited by Susan Howson and Nicolás Rivero.