Facebook’s F8 conference, Mercedes beats BMW, did Putin leak Panama Papers?

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Facebook’s F8 conference kicks off in San Francisco. At its annual developer conference, the social network is expected to focus on chatbots for its popular Messenger app, which could help users order goods and services.

The EU sets out new corporate tax rules. Proposals from the European Commission are expected to compel multinationals in the EU to publish tax information on their global operations. The legislation comes in the wake of the Panama Papers’ revelations of tax evasion by companies as well as individuals.

The IMF releases its World Economic Outlook. The fund is expected to cut its growth outlook, after managing director Christine Lagarde warned of global economic instability brought on by political upheaval, terrorism, growing income inequality, and China’s slowdown.

While you were sleeping

Brazil took another step toward impeaching its president. A Congressional impeachment committee voted 38 to 27 to proceed with a motion to remove Dilma Rousseff. That sets the stage for a lower house vote—likely at the weekend—on whether to approve impeachment.

Mercedes Benz sales outpaced BMW. Daimler’s luxury-car unit’s 13% rise in first-quarter sales was more than double that of its main rival, BMW. Mercedes is aiming to knock BMW off the top spot in the luxury auto market by 2020; the success of its compact cars as well as an all-new model line-up may help it get there sooner than expected. 

Tesco agreed to sell its stake in Lazada to Alibaba. Britain’s biggest supermarket chain will sell an 8% stake in the southeast Asian retailer to the Alibaba Group for around $1 billion, to allow the UK company to focus on reviving its core grocery business in the UK. The deal helps Alibaba follow its strategy of getting at least half of its eventual revenue from overseas. 

The Taliban announced a spring offensive. The Islamist terror group in Afghanistan pledged to launch large-scale attacks against the Western-backed government of president Ashraf Ghani. The insurgents are at their strongest since they were driven from power by US-backed forces in 2001.

China expressed anger over G7 comments on disputed islands. Beijing warned against “irresponsible” remarks after foreign ministers, meeting ahead of May’s G7 conference in Japan, said they oppose “any intimidating, coercive, or provocative unilateral actions” that could increase tension—clearly referring to China’s aggression in the South China Sea.

Venezuela rejected an amnesty bill. The law petitioning for the release of around 70 jailed opposition leaders and activists was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Venezuela is deeply split by those loyal to president Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government and those who oppose it.

Quartz obsession interlude

Frida Garza on how male gamers react when they have to play female characters. “The only objective in Rust, a popular online video game, is to survive in the wild. But now, some players will have no other choice than to survive as female characters. Plenty of fans, voicing their discontent on Reddit and video game forums, are not happy about it.” Read more.

Matters of debate

“New York values” help everyone live longer. The city’s spending on social services improves life spans for rich and poor alike.

Did Putin leak the Panama Papers? An economist at the Brookings Institution has a counter-intuitive conspiracy theory.

White people can be trained to not be racist. Overcoming their low tolerance for stressful discussions is key.

Surprising discoveries

Drink-drivers in Thailand will have to work in morgues. Authorities hope to reform offenders by confronting them with people who’ve been killed in accidents.

Prostitutes in one English city can sell their services from 7pm to 7am legally. It’s part of a year-long pilot to control crime.

Scientists discovered a woman who lives in a “perpetual present.” It’s the first known case of “severely deficient autobiographical memory.”

There’s a BBC news website in China, but it’s not British. Though it looks a bit like the real BBC, it’s actually the Business Broadcast of China.

Disneyland China is recruiting 10,000 people. The amusement park is preparing to launch in Shanghai in three months.

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