Nirvana Unplugged, Boeing crash, those pants

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Smells like middle-aged spirit. Kurt Cobain’s unwashed sweater is expected to fetch around $300,000 at an auction this weekend. The musician, who committed suicide in 1994, wore the cigarette-stained cardigan on MTV’s Unplugged.

Argentina goes to the polls. Sunday’s presidential vote will likely elect populist Alberto Fernández—whose running mate is the controversial former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner— to run the third-largest economy in Latin America.

Elon Musk unveils new-generation solar panels. The founder, $2 billion richer this week after unexpectedly good figures for Tesla, is launching a new version – “finally ready for the big time” – of his domestic renewable energy product.

The US releases a Russian agent. Maria Butina, the only Russian to be arrested and convicted from the three-year probe into Moscow’s interference in US elections, is expected to be sent back to her country today.

California faces a fiery weekend. Northern California’s Kincade fire has grown at the rate of 30 football fields a minute since breaking out on Wednesday, and weather conditions mean more blazes could break out today and over the weekend.

While you were sleeping

Indonesia has released its final 737 Max crash report. Investigators blamed Boeing, Lion Air, and the plane’s pilots for last year’s disaster, in which 189 people were killed. Boeing is under pressure to explain what it knew about problems with the now-grounded aircraft.

Barclays profits plunged by 80%. The UK bank’s third-quarter problems are partly due to “uncertainty around the UK economy and the interest rate environment,” said CEO Jes Staley. Beyond that, an insurance scandal could cost $60 billion. Barclays’ US markets business rose 6%.

Lackluster ale sale. The world’s largest beer maker, Anheuser-Busch, said profits will grow less than expected this year. The maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois admitted sales in China slipped, another signal that the world’s second-largest economy is slowing. 

Swiss tech went public. SoftwareONE was valued at about 2.8 billion Swiss francs ($2.82 billion) in its IPO. Private equity investor KKR sold part of its stake in the software management company as the Swiss stock market traded near record highs. 

Nike has beaten New Balance in a legal battle over team jerseys. Liverpool Football Club had signed a new deal with Nike, but its old supplier New Balance filed a lawsuit. The UK high court has adjudicated in favor of Nike.


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The coal mine versus the forest. Hasdeo Arand is one of the largest and most pristine tracts of forest in India…but it also sits atop 5,500 million tonnes of coal. In this week’s field guide on India’s coal addiction, Quartz senior reporter Akshat Rathi investigates one mining giant’s attempt to overrun the sacred forest.

Quartz Obsession

The glass cliff is when a company appoints a female CEO just as the business is in trouble. Whether it’s to signal transformative change, enhance trust, or because women are just built better for crises, the phenomenon puts more women at the top—but in immediately perilous positions. Lean in (and over the edge) at the Quartz Obsession.

Matters of Debate

Humans shouldn’t be allowed into outer space. With Earth’s destructive history, we should think about how to best approach galactic exploration and tourism. 

Doctors should be tested for bedside manner. Some say medical school candidates should take empathy tests

Napster saved the music industry. Spotify has credited the illegal peer-to-peer service as its inspiration.

Surprising discoveries

There is no Brooklyn accent.There really is no linguistic evidence,” so forget about it.

Instagrammers can tell you how those basic pants fit. A new class of influencers prefer Target to Barney’s.

Hong Kong’s million-dollar parking spots. A space at the most expensive office building in the world just changed hands for $970,000.

Drink it neat, without ice or water. A bottle of 60-year-old Macallan scotch blew away estimates at Sotheby’s with a hammer price of $1,926,960. 

Soldiers without honor. The host nation’s orienteering team was disqualified at the Military World Games in China after evidence of cheating was uncovered.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, bottles of vintage whisky, and old Brooklynites to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by John Detrixhe and Hasit Shah.