Brexit campaign kickoff, Japan earthquake, fake Loch Ness monster

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Editor’s note: Yesterday’s Daily Brief incorrectly said Chinese GDP data was due on Thursday. In fact it is due today.

The UK kicks off its official campaign over an EU exit. Britain’s vote on whether to leave or remain in the European Union won’t be held until June 23. Both sides of the Brexit debate have already been making their arguments, but the official campaign period begins Friday.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders face off in New York. The Democratic candidates both have deep roots in the state: Sanders grew up in Brooklyn, while Clinton served as a New York senator for eight years. It will be their last debate before the state’s April 19 primary, a critical contest in their race for the nomination.

Citigroup reports first-quarter earnings. Rival JPMorgan Chase set a high bar this week with results that handily beat Wall Street forecasts. Now investors will see whether Citi can be as successful at navigating near-zero interest rates, slowdowns in emerging markets, a slump in the IPO market, and other factors weighing on banks this earnings season.

While you were sleeping

A deadly earthquake hit Japan. The estimated magnitude-6.4 quake killed at least two people and injured several more after it struck the region around the southern city of Ueki. Authorities fear many more may be trapped under fallen houses.

Canada moved to legalize assisted suicide. The country’s parliament will consider a new bill, backed by prime minister Justin Trudeau, that would allow Canadians to discuss suicide with their physicians. The bill excludes foreigners from traveling to Canada to do so.

AB InBev wants its SABMiller deal to go over well. The world’s largest brewer agreed to create a 1 billion rand ($69 million) fund to protect South African jobs, in the hopes the gesture will help its $105 billion bid to acquire the second largest brewer, founded in Johannesburg.

Microsoft took on Big Brother. The software company filed a lawsuit against the US government for the right to let users know when a federal agency is reading their emails, arguing that people don’t give up their privacy when they move information to the cloud.

The oil slump hit banks hard. Wells Fargo’s first-quarter profits declined 5.9% (paywall) as falling oil prices hurt energy companies’ ability to pay back loans. The San Francisco bank, along with Bank of America, set aside hundreds of millions of dollars to cover the energy sector’s troubled loans.

Quartz markets haiku

The yen is too strong
More quantitative easing
might not do the trick

Quartz obsession interlude

Michael J. Coren on our conflicting interpretations of emoji. “Researchers are seeing signs of an early emoji “language” emerging as the symbols grow more complex and nuanced, eclipsing even Egyptian hieroglyphics. But as digital interactions start to displace more face-to-face communications, academics are now confirming what many social media enthusiasts have complained about for years: Emotional communication online is a mess.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Society’s reaction to Zika babies reflects our deep prejudices. News coverage of the afflicted babies implies the lives of people with disabilities aren’t worth living.

Science fairs aren’t fair. Students who don’t have the help of a science-savvy parent are ill-equipped to compete.

No good can come from spying on your teenagers. Technology makes it easier than ever to keep tabs on them, but snooping erodes trust.

Surprising discoveries

Waiting to have kids may make them taller and smarter. New research shows that kids born to older mothers are more likely to finish school and perform better on standardized testing.

“Pastafarians” worship the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But few government officials are willing to grant religious exemptions to its colander-wearing worshippers.

Researchers found the Loch Ness monster. Well, its film double, at least. The 30-foot-long movie prop sunk decades ago.

Social media might be the best way to predict gentrification. Geotagged Twitter and Foursquare posts might be more helpful than census data to researchers mapping hot spots.

China’s internet got a lasting boost from the SARS epidemic. Many Chinese began shopping online to avoid exposure to the illness.

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