Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The EU discusses Covid-19. European Union health ministers are meeting in Brussels for emergency talks, noting that the disease is spreading rapidly. Germany has 16 cases of the novel coronavirus, the highest number in the region.
Boris Johnson reshuffles his cabinet. The UK prime minister’s reconfiguring is rumored to be widespread, with possible ousters going as high up as the attorney general. The foreign secretary, home secretary, and chancellor of the exchequer are expected to stay put.
The US Senate votes to rein in the president’s war powers. The resolution to curb Donald Trump’s ability to declare war on Iran without approval from Congress has bipartisan support and is expected to pass. Trump warned that passing such a resolution signals “weakness” to America’s enemies.
While you were sleeping
The number of coronavirus cases in China surged… Hubei province alone added 14,840 cases yesterday, taking the total number to almost 60,000 due to a change in the diagnostic criteria. And more heads rolled, as the party chiefs for the province and Wuhan were removed from their jobs, while Beijing’s point man in Hong Kong was also replaced.
…and more events were shelved. Organizers decided to cancel the Mobile World Congress, scheduled for Feb. 24 in Barcelona, after many participants pulled out due to the coronavirus. That comes after the postponement of the Hong Kong Sevens, one of the world’s most popular rugby tournaments, from April to October.
Harvard and Yale are being investigated. The US education department is looking into whether the Ivy League schools failed to disclose some $375 million in funding from foreign sources including Saudi Arabia and China. US universities are required to report all foreign donations that exceed $250,000.
Michael Bloomberg is out-spending Trump on Facebook. The billionaire US presidential candidate has spent more than $1 million a day on average over the past two weeks on the social network and its subsidiary Instagram, five times more than Trump, according to an analysis by NBC.
Amazon is struggling to truly go global. Quartz’s Marc Bain walks through the competitors and regulatory hurdles that make international growth one of the few areas where Amazon has fallen short of its outsized ambitions.
Quartz daily obsession
Currently cruising along in interstellar space, the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are the most distant human-made objects—not to mention the longest-running NASA mission. But it’s not always smooth sailing, and it doesn’t help that the spacecraft are running on ancient technology. Still, the Voyager mission isn’t done quite yet. The Quartz Daily Obsession directs your gaze towards the little spacecraft that could.
Matters of debate
Ban China’s wild animal trade. If we want to thwart viral epidemics, we should be urging China to make its temporary ban permanent.
Nightclubs deserve the same cultural status as opera houses. A lower level of classification is making Berlin’s famed nightlife vulnerable to gentrification.
It’s time for Silicon Valley to reckon with Bernie Sanders. The tech elite underestimated him, and targeted their rancor at Elizabeth Warren.
There are far fewer bugs splatting on your windshield. And that’s bad news for insect populations and the birds that eat them.
Zapping the brains of coma patients could wake them up. It’s worked in monkeys.
Americans have taken ex-stalking to another level. One in 10 admit to installing so-called stalkerware on the devices of partners and exes.
A record number of people in Syria are being displaced. About 700,000 people have fled Idlib province since December, the largest level of displacement in the civil war’s nine-year history.
Scientists found ghost DNA in living West Africans. The discovery is evidence of an extinct branch of humanity that lived a million years ago.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dead bugs, and extinct branches of humans 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.