Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Turkey’s president makes an uneasy US visit. Recep Tayyip Erdogan won’t get a one-on-one meeting with Barack Obama (paywall) amid US concerns about Turkey’s crackdown on dissent and democracy. Later in the week, Erdogan will attend a nuclear security summit with more than 50 world leaders.
Protests against Xi Jinping’s visit to Prague. A pro-Tibet rally will take place outside the Prague Castle as China’s president meets with his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman, who has come under fire for his pro-China policies.
The Japanese economy gets a boost. Prime minister Shinzo Abe will announce details of a new stimulus package, which may include a delay to a planned consumption tax hike scheduled for next year. He could also introduce vouchers for shopping and child care, along with a pay rise for workers at the country’s overcrowded nursery schools.
While you were sleeping
The Starwood bidding war isn’t over yet. Anbang Insurance raised its bid to buy Starwood Hotels to almost $14 billion in an attempt to top a sweetened offer from Marriott. The Chinese financial conglomerate wants to diversify its foreign assets, while Marriott is trying to create the world’s largest hotel company.
Pushback against anti-LGBT laws in the US. Georgia’s governor vetoed a bill that would allow businesses to refuse to serve gay people on religious grounds, after coming under pressure from the NFL and Hollywood. North Carolina, which passed a law on public bathrooms last week that would affect transgender people, was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Oculus Rift started shipping. The first of the long-awaited virtual reality headsets was hand-delivered by founder Palmer Luckey—he initially launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2012 before his company was acquired by Facebook. The rest of the pre-orders will start shipping this week; reviews are mixed.
Pandora hit “repeat” on its CEO. Co-founder Tim Westergreen will replace Brian McAndrews, who is leaving the company. Shares of the music streaming service fell sharply on the news, which suggests Pandora is having trouble competing with rivals such as Spotify and Apple Music.
Suitors lined up for Virgin America. JetBlue and Alaska Air are interested in taking over the airline, sources told Bloomberg, and a deal could be announced as early as next week. Virgin shares rose by nearly 10% on the news.
Quartz markets haiku
Becalmed sailboats bob
Gulls dangle, in want of wind
Wait ’til jobs Friday
Quartz obsession interlude
Steve Levine on Elon Musk’s moment of truth. “If motorists buy the Model 3 in the hundreds of thousands, he will have delivered on his vow to make an electric for the general public. The consequences of all this turning out well could be considerable profit for Musk and his investors, not to mention a new upheaval in geopolitics.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
“Solitary” confinement is even worse with a cellmate. Thousands of US prisoners are forced to share incredibly tiny spaces, sometimes with homicidal roommates.
Tech firms now run western politics. With democracy under threat from terrorism and rising inequality, Google and Facebook have taken control.
America’s “Superman” obsession highlights a hypocritical attitude toward violence. It’s not about bad guys or good guys.
A former Nazi SS officer became an Israeli hitman. Former Mossad officers say Otto Skorzeny was one of Hitler’s favorites.
New Zealand held an Easter bunny hunt. It culled 10,000 rabbits, an invasive species that is decimating the sensitive ecosystem.
A US city is paying criminals to not murder people. Convicts In Richmond, California get up to $1,000 a month for not committing gun crimes.
There are two religions where men are more devout than women. They are: Islam and Orthodox Judaism.
Former Australian PM Tony Abbott stole a wave from a teenage surfer. Despite throwing him some side-eye, she was pretty cool about it.
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