Mossack Fonseca raid, JPMorgan earnings, Stephen Hawking joins Weibo

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Syrian peace talks resume in Geneva. The UN-brokered talks will focus on the future of president Bashar al-Assad and how to form a transitional government and end the five-year civil war. A resurgence in violence in Syria is threatening the fragile ceasefire.

South Korea’s parliamentary elections. President Park Geun-hye’s Saenuri Party hopes to win three-fifths of the seats needed to break the legislative deadlock that has hampered her administration. Although the Saenuri Party is expected to win, it has lost sympathy due to infighting and its clampdown on dissent.

JPMorgan Chase reports earnings. Analysts expect to see the first annual profit decline in more than a year, in part because of low interest rates, a drop in market volatility, and a stricter regulatory environment.

While you were sleeping

Authorities raided the offices of Mossack Fonseca. Police and organized-crime prosecutors in Panama City looked for evidence of money laundering and financing terrorism, following a leak of documents about offshore funds the firm set up for wealthy international clients.

Peabody filed for a rather large bankruptcy. A huge drop in coal prices left the world’s biggest privately owned coal producer unable to pay off debts, which it incurred from expanding into Australia. Peabody listed both its assets and liabilities at $10-50 billion.

Tesco reported its first quarterly growth in three years. The UK’s biggest supermarket chain reported a $230-million pre-tax profit for the year to the end of February. CEO Dave Lewis said the company is still fighting a price war and changes in consumer shopping habits.

China dismissed the country’s first gay-marriage case. A court in Changsha took just a few hours to rule against against two men demanding the right to legally marry. It was a landmark case for the LGBT community, hundreds of whom gathered outside the courthouse.

Sean Parker set up a $250-million cancer institute. The tech billionaire hopes it will speed development of better immunotherapy treatments by encouraging collaboration among the field’s top researchers, saying he was “transformed” by the death of friend and Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin.

China defended its detention of Taiwanese nationals deported from Kenya. It claimed to have jurisdiction because its own citizens had been among the victims of an alleged Nairobi-based telecoms scam to which the Taiwanese were linked, though many have been acquitted.

Quartz obsession interlude

Ian Kar on why Airbnb just acquired a team of blockchain and bitcoin experts. “If Airbnb can figure out a way to make its user profiles immutable and universally readable, they could become a trusted form of digital identity, a bit like the profiles that credit bureaus create for individuals. If these identities can be exported to other platforms… they could become hugely valuable.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There’s one major perk of globalization that only applies to rich people. It’s the ability to move freely around the world.

It’s not just the global elite who hold offshore funds. There’s a high possibility many private investors (paywall) also have them, too, without knowing.

Alibaba is buying its way into Southeast Asia. By acquiring companies like the online retailer Lazada, it’s taking the easy road to global expansion.

Surprising discoveries

“The hum” is a mysterious noise heard around the world. Several mass murderers have blamed it for their crimes.

Stephen Hawking joined Weibo. The astrophysicist clocked up two million followers in a few hours on Chinese social media site.

BuzzFeed is missing its revenue targets. 😂😂😂 

A Caravaggio painting was found in a French attic. If it’s real, it could be worth $135 million.

Shanghai will dock your credit score if you don’t visit your parents. Parents can also sue their kids for neglect.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ”hum” recordings, and missing paintings from the Masters to And download our new iPhone app for news throughout the day.