China’s GDP, Clinton-Sanders debate, fake Loch Ness monster

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

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 today.

A delegation from the European Union visits Tehran. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini will be joined by energy, trade, and industry commissioners on a weekend trip designed to broaden ties with Iran—and reassure international banks about doing business with the nation.

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

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders faced off in New York. Repeatedly questioning each other’s judgement, the Democratic rivals got nasty in their last debate before the state’s April 19 primary—a critical contest in their race for the nomination. Aside from all the yelling, Sanders offered to release his tax returns, and Clinton said she’d raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Goldman Sachs has embarked on its deepest cost-cutting push in years. It’s responding to a slump in trading and dealmaking by cutting expenses, firing support staff, and relying more on junior bankers, Bloomberg reported. The bank must report quarterly results—and face investors—next week.

China shared its GDP numbers. Its economy grew 6.7% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year—the slowest quarterly growth in seven years, but in line with expectations. On the bright side, it reported jumps in both consumer spending and investment in industrial assets and infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia said it really did donate $681 million to Malaysia’s prime minister. It was a “genuine donation with nothing expected in return,” said Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir. Najib Razak’s claims that the money—deposited into his personal bank accounts—was a donation drew widespread skepticism.

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.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, deep emoji, and fashionable colanders, to And download our new iPhone app for news throughout the day.