Zuckerberg in Europe, Xi’s coronavirus alarm, quarantined cash

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Britain’s Brexit chief tells Europe what the UK wants. At a speech in Brussels that marks his first public appearance, David Frost will say the UK expects to get as good a deal as the EU’s other trading partners. France has warned Britain to expect a bitter battle over these negotiations.

Alstom and Bombardier announce a deal. In a bid to fend off Chinese competition, the French rail giant reached a preliminary deal to buy Bombardier’s train unit for over $7 billion, and an announcement could come as soon as today.

Mark Zuckerberg visits EU commissioners. The Facebook CEO will meet with competition regulator Margrethe Vestager, who later this week will share proposals to create a single European data market—challenging the dominance of US tech giants.

Europe’s foreign ministers discuss Libya. They’ll consider ways to enforce an arms embargo that “has become a joke,” said Stephanie Williams, a UN deputy special envoy for the country. Turkey and the UAE continue to arm their allies in the country’s civil war.

US financial markets are closed in observance of Presidents’ Day.

Over the weekend

China made public Xi Jinping’s early coronavirus remarks. In a speech delivered to top officials on Feb. 3, the Chinese leader alluded to demands he made on Jan. 7 to control the virus. The release was possibly aimed at defending Xi amid continuing public anger over the epidemic. Meanwhile, Americans were evacuated today from the quarantined cruise ship in Japan.

Japan’s new sales levy taxed its economy. Economic growth shrank by an annualized 6.3% in the last quarter of 2019, the deepest contraction in six years, after a sales tax increase in October hit consumption. The coronavirus outbreak could bring another negative quarter, and a recession.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation lost a key legal challenge. A court said police raids on its offices, which followed ABC’s investigations of alleged war crimes by Australian armed forces in Afghanistan, were valid. In 2018, Australia made it a crime for journalists to obtain classified information from military sources.

William Barr had a bad weekend. Over 1,100 former justice department officials called for the US attorney general to resign, suggesting he was “doing the president’s personal bidding” by interfering in the sentencing of Trump ally Roger Stone.

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Matters of debate

Subsidizing meat means subsidizing climate change. Governments shouldn’t prop up animal agriculture when it causes 14% of the world’s greenhouse emissions.

Germany’s 5G policy must not revolve around Donald Trump. Although the US president has inserted himself in the debate over Huawei, he’s an irrelevant distraction.

Brexit will make the UK more diverse. The breakup has discouraged European migrants, but immigration from the rest of the world is on the rise.

Surprising discoveries

Crunchy foods could help fight obesity. Research suggests crunchier potato chips could make people feel more sated.

China is quarantining cash to curb coronavirus. Beijing has urged banks to disinfect used bills and lock them away for up to 14 days before recirculating them.

A Tennessee lawmaker worries a tax break will lead to tampon hoarding. The state senator voiced reservations about including feminine hygiene products in a local tax holiday.

A Japanese sanitation worker found ¥11 million ($100,121) in the trash… Ten envelopes of cash were stuffed in among the wreckage of a broken desk.

…And a class ring lost in Maine in 1973 turned up in a Finnish forest. The ring was found by a hobby metal detector user, who sent it back to its American owner.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, extra-crunchy chips, and (disinfected) garbage money to hi@qz.com. 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 Tripti Lahiri and edited by Isabella Steger.