Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and over the weekend
All eyes will be fixed on the coronavirus outbreak. With new clusters popping up in Japan and South Korea, coronavirus has become a thoroughly pan-Asian concern. At the center of the outbreak, China is struggling to maintain economic output—with one analysis concluding that the country’s carbon emissions are down by 25%—as well as narrative control of conspiracy theories surrounding the origins of the disease. Meanwhile, Chinese businessmen are scouring the globe for surgical facemasks, US pork producers see a golden opportunity, and garlic prices are set to skyrocket.
Millions of Iranians head to the polls. Today’s election marks the first vote since weeks of deadly anti-government protests, the US killing of general Soleimani, and the subsequent downing of a Ukranian plane by Iranian forces. A widespread disqualification of candidates will likely tip the scale towards hardline party control in support of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Thailand rules on disbanding the opposition Future Forward Party. The election commission ruled that the country’s third-largest political party’s $6 million loan from its leader was illegal, and recommended the dissolution of the party—which the constitutional court will decide on today. The FFP has maintained its innocence as it faces multiple legal challenges.
US visa curbs on six new countries come into effect. The Trump administration’s latest list of countries targeted for travel restrictions—including Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar—goes into effect on Saturday.
While you were sleeping
Morgan Stanley is buying E*Trade. The $13 billion all-stock deal is the biggest acquisition by a major US bank since the financial crisis of 2008. In other financial acquisition news, investors have proven to be skeptical over leader LendingClub’s purchase of Radius bank for $185 million earlier this week.
A new CEO takes over Victoria’s Secret as the brand is sold off. Longtime boss Les Wexner turned the now-struggling lingerie brand into an empire during his 50-year reign. But he will be replaced by Bath & Body Works chief Andrew Meslow as part of a new with Sycamore Partners for a controlling 55% stake in the company, valued at $525 million.
There was a new warning for the Great Barrier Reef. Australian scientists warn that the natural wonder of the world could face a new wave of deadly coral bleaching if water temperatures don’t fall in the next few weeks. Just last week, half a million mussels boiled alive off the coast of New Zealand due to similarly warm waters.
California unanimously voted to apologize for Japanese internment. Seventy-eight years after US president Franklin Roosevelt ordered some 120,000 people of Japanese descent into internment camps during the second world war, California’s state legislature has apologized for its participation. The measure does not include any additional compensation for victims or their descendants.
Baby Yoda Star Wars merchandise is here. Ever since the adorable green creature appeared on the Disney+ streaming service hit TV show The Mandalorian last fall, fans have been clamoring for a Baby Yoda they could take home. Well, the wait is finally over.
The third-largest sector in the B Corp community might surprise you. Financial services companies are increasingly seeking B Corp certification and taking on a purpose beyond the bottom line. Quartz’s Cassie Werber reports on an industry in flux and the next generation of financiers.
Quartz daily obsession
Pole dancing moves out of the strip club. The art of pole dancing can trace its roots to the Indian pastime of Mallakhamb; it’s only within the past 50 years or so that it became synonymous with stripping. More recently, pole dancing has found favor as a celebrity-driven fitness trend and international competitive sport. Next stop: the Olympics? Go for a spin with the Quartz Daily Obsession.
Matters of debate
The shortest path is not always the best one. A career discovery workshop for teenage girls in New York City sheds light on being prepared for unpredictable career changes.
Machine learning can’t fix algorithmic bias. Tech visionaries turn to their engineering prowess for everything, but there comes a time when people problems need to be solved by people.
Stop traveling to the airport via car. Los Angeles is drafting up a plan that would let those who travel by train or bus cut lengthy security checkpoint lines at the airport.
Your fat tongue is making you snore. A new MRI study finds sleep apnea may also be caused by fatter tongues, leading to a future of medical recommendations for tongue diets.
Donald Trump’s approval rating is at an all-time high…In India. Up to 56% of Indians think the US president will “do the right thing” in world affairs.
Investors are lining up for Liquid Death. The death metal-themed water-in-a-can concept just raised $9 million in funding.
A sub-Antarctic region has “astonishing” numbers of blue whales. Scientists spotted 55 of the mammals in South Georgia, a former whaling epicenter.
Humans can learn to echolocate. The brain’s visual cortex can be retrained to process sound the same way it would treat images.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, sweet liquid death, and baby Yoda plushies to email@example.com. 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 Patrick deHahn and Max Lockie.