Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Coronavirus continues to spread, and is causing chaos in markets. Following the CDC’s admission yesterday that a pandemic is now likely, there are new cases in several previously-unaffected countries. Shares in Asia and Europe are also tanking.
Apple holds its annual meeting with investors. Shareholders are voting on whether the company must disclose all censorship requests by any government, after it was repeatedly accused of acquiescing to China’s demands to block certain apps.
European powers are attempting to salvage the Iran nuclear deal. Britain, France, and Germany, as well as Russia and China, are meeting in Vienna to try and persuade Tehran to uphold the accord. The US withdrew in 2018 and slapped punishing sanctions on Iran.
While you were sleeping
Bayer’s chairman announced he’s stepped down. Werner Wenning said he’s moving on after making “progress in handling the legal issues in the US.” He’s referring to a huge lawsuit in which the German chemical giant is accused of produced a carcinogenic weedkiller.
Japan’s PM wants to hit pause on sporting and cultural events. The country’s professional soccer league has already been postponed. But despite increasing skepticism, preparation for the big one, the Olympic Games, is apparently continuing as scheduled.
At least 20 people died in riots in New Delhi. Protests over a controversial citizenship law that grants sanctuary to migrants of all faiths except Islam coincided with Donald Trump’s visit to the Indian capital. Hindu mobs have attacked Muslim homes and businesses over their perceived opposition to the new law.
Indonesia drew closer to building a new capital city. The government is submitting a bill to parliament this week that would speed up construction of the new city on Borneo island, which is intended to attract investors from around the world. Meanwhile, torrential rain is flooding its current capital, Jakarta.
Demand for space travel has skyrocketed. Virgin Galactic said the number of people registering interest has doubled since September, with tickets for its inaugural flight later this year retailing at $250,000. Despite the enthusiasm, the business still reported a $73 million quarterly loss.
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Quartz daily obsession
Lazy rivers are far from lazy. As people float along man-made trails of water—spotted in water parks, but also in malls, hotels, Airbnbs, and even college campuses—they may not be aware that “the most complex engineering design there is” lies underneath them. The craft can be dangerous, but rest assured, the lazy river remains largely safe. Float on with today’s Quartz Daily Obsession.
Matters of debate
The new head of Univision doesn’t speak Spanish. Shareholders vs. audiences: which is more important?
Do soda taxes work? Despite the fanfare at their introduction, the answer is… hard to find.
Virgil Abloh could be the next Karl Lagerfeld. It might dismay fashion traditionalists, but he looks like the real deal.
A White House doctor hid cauliflower in Trump’s mashed potatoes. He wanted the US president to eat more vegetables.
Red squirrels are better than gray ones at sniffing out danger. They are more responsive to the scent of pine martens, a sharp-clawed predator.
Two activist musicians produced every possible melody. They hope to undermine lawsuits in which one artist accuses another of ripping off their sound.
The world’s smelliest fruit could be an electric charger. Researchers found that durian and jackfruit can be used to store energy.
There’s a secret 17th-century doorway in Britain’s House of Commons. It was used by parliamentarians to get to Charles II’s coronation banquet in 1660.
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