Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
A Trump-Trudeau summit. Given Canada’s reliance on US trade, will prime minister Justin Trudeau dare to challenge the US president on Muslim immigrants and the future of the NAFTA trade deal duringtheir first official meeting in Washington? And where will their handshake rank among uncomfortable Trump embraces?
Further fallout from North Korea’s latest missile test. An intermediate-range missile traveled about 500 km (310 miles) into the Sea of Japan Sunday, violating UN restrictions barring North Korea from such activity. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe pronounced the test “intolerable,” while some see it as a North Korean provocation of Trump.
US cabinet votes. The Senate is expected to approve Trump’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, and for Veterans Affairs secretary, David Shulkin. Mnuchin is among the prominent Goldman Sachs alums populating the Trump administration, andBloomberg reports the White House is now leery of bringing on too many more.
OVER THE WEEKEND
Jean-Claude Juncker said he won’t run again in 2019—and cast doubts on the EU. In a radio interview the European Commission president said he fears that Britain’s negotiations to leave the EU could open up splits in the bloc. “The British know very well how to achieve this… You promise one thing to state A, another to state B, and something else to state C and you end up with no united European front.”
Swiss voters came out on the side of immigrants. A successful national referendum measure—opposed by nationalists stoking anti-Islam fears—makes it easier for third-generation immigrants to gain Swiss citizenship.
Royal Bank of Scotland prepared for further downsizing. TheFinancial Times reported (paywall) that the bank will unveil an £800 million ($1 billion) cost-cutting plan later this month, while the Sunday Times said RBS would eliminate up to 15,000 jobs. The bank has already closed about 200 branches in recent years.
Adele dominated the Grammys. The singer won album, record, and song of the year. David Bowie, who died from cancer last year,won best rock song and best alternative music album. Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book became the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy, and he was named best new artist.
Former foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected president of Germany. Steinmeier, a Social Democrat, will become the 12th person to hold the somewhat-ceremonial position. He will replace Joachim Gauck on March 18.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Sarah Todd on a smart way to organize priorities at your home and office. “To figure out how to prune your to-do list, Dufu recommends using the theory of comparative advantage, a principle developed by the classical economist David Ricardo in 1817 to explain the benefits of free trade… The principle can be applied to our personal productivity, too.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Germany is playing a dangerous game on trade. It chronically overproduces and under-consumes, inflating pockets of debt and unemployment in the US, the UK, and the euro zone periphery.
Don’t blame globalization for economic inequality and social immobility. The problems are due to a lack of vision and action by governments around the world.
Poor spelling is a political issue. Americans are divided on many things, and now skirmishes over misspellings are driving them further apart.
MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER
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A couple in the UK plans to wed via VR. The virtual-reality wedding will take place at a bar in Cardiff, but guests will be transported to a futuristic nightclub through VR headsets.
A startup found a way to solve robots’ awkward walking issues. Inspired by flightless birds, Agility Robotics’ latest creationwalks like an ostrich and can handle nearly any terrain.
A condom maker is getting into the baby formula business. It’s one upshot of Reckitt Benckiser Group agreeing to buy Mead Johnson Nutrition for $16.6 billion.
A World War II bomb forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of Greeks. The 550 lb (250 kg) bomb was unearthed in Thessaloniki during road work and was later defused.
You can likely afford a piece of Alexander Fleming’s original penicillin mold. Fleming gave out mold medallions like calling cards, so an upcoming fungus auction is expected to hit only $5,000.
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