Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Chinese manufacturers get back to work—maybe. The Lunar New Year holiday, extended due to the coronavirus outbreak, is over for many, but it’s unclear how soon the “world’s factory” can get back to normal. That has companies across the globe worried about their supply chains.
The White House releases its budget proposal. The Trump administration is expected to seek cuts to social safety net programs and foreign aid while also requesting $2 billion in new funding for border-wall construction. House Democrats probably won’t play along.
The world tunes into the Oscars. The award for Best Picture is shaping up to be a two-film race between World War I movie 1917 and South Korean thriller Parasite. The show starts at 9am in Hong Kong. Here’s how to watch it, wherever you are.
Allergan reports fourth-quarter earnings. The pharma giant is expected to discuss the commercialization of Ubrelvy, an acute-migraine drug that the FDA approved in December and many analysts believe will become a blockbuster.
Over the weekend
The Wuhan virus toll surpassed that of the 2003 SARS epidemic. The number of fatalities topped 800 in China, a WHO advance team left for Beijing, and US officials acknowledged the first confirmed non-Chinese death—an American woman in Wuhan who died last week.
Ireland’s election pointed to political gridlock. Exit polls and early counting suggest a breakthrough for left-wing nationalists Sinn Fein, which appeared to equal if not surpass the long-dominant Fine Gael and Fianna Fail parties. A coalition may prove elusive.
Thailand suffered its worst mass shooting. A soldier who was reportedly angry about a financial dispute killed at least 29 people and wounded dozens of others. Police fatally shot him after a long standoff in a mall.
Iran unveiled a missile and fell short with a satellite. Amid US worries over its weapons development, the country showed off a new missile with longer range, but failed to put a communications satellite into orbit due to insufficient rocket speed.
Bitcoin breached $10,000. Continuing its upward trend of late, the cryptocurrency passed the psychologically important mark yesterday for the first time since October. It peaked at nearly $20,000 in December 2017.
By nearly every measure, the venture industry has boomed. Venture capital has evolved from small-scale, hyperlocal deals to a global industry that invests $250 billion each year. Quartz contributor Dave Edwards reports on the forces that transformed VC—and lays out what the explosion of private investment means for all of us.
Quartz daily obsession
Acceptance speeches are a rare peek beyond the highly filtered veil of modern celebrity. Winning a major award can throw some stars way off, or prompt them to deliver a formulaic litany of thank yous. Other performers use the platform to make a statement, get clever, or even recite poetry. The Quartz Daily Obsession would like to thank its readers with a look at the unscripted spotlight.
Matters of debate
To protect humanity, invest in poor communities’ health systems. It’s the best way to prevent the next pandemic.
Selling mattresses is not a tech business. Casper is paying the price for wrapping itself in the trappings of tech stardom to pump up its valuation.
“The 99%” is a bit broad. Our conversations about wealth inequality gloss over the differences between non-billionaires.
Alaska bought itself a higher fertility rate. When the state started paying an annual dividend to every man, woman, and child, fertility shot up 13%.
Something in space is sending radio bursts to Earth at regular intervals. Scientists are still debating what is creating the waves, which follow a steady 16-day cycle.
Netflix uses as much power as 40,000 US homes. The streaming giant’s energy use leapt 84% last year, but executives promise they have carbon offsets to match.
Spending billions is hard work. Even after sinking $1 billion a year into space travel, Jeff Bezos still struggles to offload everything he earns.
Wind turbine blades aren’t so eco-friendly. The fiberglass behemoths can’t be recycled, so thousands stack up in landfills each year.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, spare billions, and mattress tech specs 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 brought to you by Steve Mollman and Nicolás Rivero.