German-Trump spat, Uber sacks star, Italian bank heists

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

An update on India’s economy. Analysts expect GDP to increase by an annualized 7.2%, as the world’s largest economy rebounds from prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to replace large denomination banknotes last November.

A key figure in South Korea’s presidential scandal is extradited. Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of the presidential advisor accused of collecting massive bribes, was arrested in Denmark in January. Chung’s admission to a prestigious university helped trigger the corruption scandal that brought down president Park Geun-hye.

Eric Holder’s report on sexism at Uber. At least some of the former US attorney general’s findings, which cover recent allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, is expected to be released to the public next week.

While you were sleeping

Germany’s politicians traded barbs with Trump. Chancellor candidate Martin Schulz called the US president “the destroyer of all Western values” after contentious G7 and NATO meetings last week, echoing his rival Angela Merkel. Meanwhile, Trump tweeted a tirade against Germany’s “unfair” trade policies and criticized its military spending levels.

The US decided not to ban in-cabin laptops on flights from the EU—for now. After weeks of rumors, the Department of Homeland Security that it has decided to allow passengers to carry laptops on inbound flights, despite intelligence suggesting a possible ISIL bomb threat. A ban is still “on the table,” a DHS spokesman told Politico.

Uber fired the star engineer at the center of a high-stakes lawsuit. Anthony Levandowski, who has done crucial work on the lidar sensors that enable autonomous cars to “see” their surroundings, has refused to hand over 14,000 documents he allegedly stole from Waymo, his former employer, despite a court order. A judge has also ordered Uber to open its books to Waymo’s lawyers.

Twin bombings in Baghdad killed 31 people. An evening attack outside a popular ice cream parlor and a massive car bomb during rush hour were claimed by the Islamic State, which said it targeted gatherings of Shiites during Ramadan. Four separate bombings followed in and around Baghdad, killing 19 more people.

A senior White House staffer resigned as the Russia probe moved forward. Veteran Republican strategist Mike Dubke stepped down after only three months as communications director, part of a major shakeup in the Trump administration. Separately, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen refused a congressional request for information about communications with Russian officials.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lila MacLellan on the antidote to multitasking. “Starting but not finishing too many projects puts a person at risk of the so-called Zeigarnik effect, named for Bluma Zeigarnik, a Russian psychiatrist who, in the 1920s, discovered that people are better at remembering unfinished tasks than completed ones. Unfinished items that we’ve left hanging are like cognitive itches.” Read more here.

Markets haiku

One thousand a share,” / Jeff Bezos softly whispers. / “Amazon dot com.”

Matters of debate

A US exit from the Paris Accord will lead directly to catastrophe. If Trump follows through on his threat, the world can expect extinctions, crop damage, and irreversible sea level increases.

Passive investing is like antibiotics. Valuable in moderation, index-tracking products will do more harm than good if they are widely used.

North Korea is helping Beijing in the South China Sea. Its missile tests are distracting the world from China’s territorial aggression.

Surprising discoveries

There’s a Muslim metal band in Indonesia. Its members are hijab-wearing teenage girls.

Italy has more bank heists than the rest of Europe combined. One in ten branches gets robbed each year.

Marcel Proust liked to play the markets. Letters to his banker show he was “a master at turning financial indulgence into narrative craftsmanship.”

Japan has an invasive raccoon problem. 1970s anime series is to blame.

Macaques in Bali are holding tourists’ valuables for ransom. They steal glasses and cameras then return them for snacks.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Indonesian metal bands, and Proustian stock trades to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.