Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
US impeachment inquiry hearings continue. The former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, testifies in the second day of public hearings. Her appearance follows a new revelation of a second US embassy officer overhearing president Donald Trump’s request for investigations into the Biden family.
Jeremy Corbyn promises free broadband for all. In a speech due to be delivered today, the UK Labour leader will unveil a plan to partly nationalize broadband provider BT, in addition to pledges to nationalize water and energy utilities, and railways.
Sri Lanka heads to the polls… Voters will cast their ballots for the next president tomorrow, with a record 35 candidates. Slow economic growth and security concerns are top issues after the Easter Sunday attacks that killed more than 250 people. Incumbent Maithripala Sirisena is not seeking re-election.
…And Belarus holds parliamentary elections. Though elections in the former Soviet republic are almost always a shoo-in for president Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the electorally disillusioned public may take greater interest this time as Minsk makes overtures to the European Union to counter growing pressure from Moscow for integration.
While you were sleeping
Rudy Giuliani is under federal investigation. The FBI is probing Trump’s personal lawyer for possible campaign finance violations and failure to register as a foreign agent, according to Bloomberg. Further charges of violating laws against bribing foreign officials or conspiracy could also follow.
Cambodia buckled further under EU pressure. A judge ended an investigation into opposition leader Kem Sokha, meaning he could either face trial or see the charges dropped. After Europe threatened trade punishments on Tuesday, strongman ruler Hun Sen freed 70 opposition activists from jail yesterday.
A Hong Kong official was mobbed by protesters in London. Justice secretary Teresa Cheng fell after being chased by an angry crowd shouting “murderer,” in an incident which the Hong Kong government called an attack by a “violent mob.” She was in London to promote Hong Kong as a hub for dispute resolution.
Amazon will go up against the Pentagon. Jeff Bezos’ company will challenge a decision by the US defense department to award a $10 billion contract for cloud services to Microsoft, amid reports that Trump personally stepped in to influence the decision.
Trump asked to block New York subpoenas. The president’s lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court to block New York prosecutors’ attempts to subpoena his tax records to shed further light on alleged payments made to two women, including adult actress Stormy Daniels, during the 2016 campaign.
Correction: An item in yesterday’s Daily Brief misspelled the name of the former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí.
Sign up for your free trial.
Should Big Tech be broken up? As part of this week’s field guide, Quartz’s economics reporter Allison Schrager argues that the size of the major companies isn’t necessarily a problem—instead, anti-competitive behavior, poor data privacy, and misinformation are where solutions must be found.
Are crystals the new blood diamonds? Despite damning coverage of brutal industrial practices—not to mention a total lack of evidence of any tangible health benefits—enthusiasm for crystals has only grown. Unearth the sparkly trend with the Quartz Obsession.
Matters of Debate
Women’s rights conferences aren’t working. The meetings keep setting ambitious goals, but fail to deliver them.
Recycling shoes is hard. Adidas has a plan to make 100% recyclable shoes, but the tricky part is getting people to give them back in the first place.
Bolivia is an internet Rorchsach test. Existing political leanings will determine how people read the ouster of Evo Morales.
Space travel could make your blood flow backward. On Earth, blood flows down from the brain to the body. In outer space… it might not.
Even Nordic dads don’t take enough parental leave. Scandinavian fathers take just 10-30% of their allotted time off after the birth of a child.
Lost cows are coming home. Three cows thought dead after a major hurricane were discovered after apparently swimming to land for several miles.
The stationery market is booming. Email anxiety is fueling the revival of personal stationery, projected to be a $128 billion market by 2025.
South Korea is trying to promote failure. Amid widespread unhappiness due to societal pressures to succeed, the government is holding “Fail Expos” around the country.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, free broadband, and space blood to firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Isabella Steger and edited by Tripti Lahiri.