Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND
The EU shares inflation data. Economists expect the annual rate of inflation for the euro zone fell this month. Last month it surged to a four-year high, prompting calls for the European Central Bank to scale back stimulus measures it has in place—like negative interest rates and a $2.5 trillion bond-buying program—to counter the threat of deflation. Those calls could quiet down.
Mike Flynn’s request for immunity. Trump’s former national security adviser “has a story to tell” investigators regarding possible Russian meddling in the US election, his lawyer said, but wants protection in the current “witch-hunt environment.” Last month Flynn resigned over misleading statements he made about communications with a Russian official.
Elections in Ecuador and Serbia. Ecuador will elect a new president on Sunday as Rafael Correa leaves office. His successorwill get a say in the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, currently holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy. Serbia also has a presidential election on Sunday; prime minister Aleksandar Vucic is the favorite to win.
Japan officially recognizes bitcoin. New legislation that legitimizes digital currencies goes into effect on Saturday. But the country’s financial regulator says bitcoin is not a currency, leaving companies and bitcoin fans in the dark.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
South Korea issued an arrest warrant for its impeached president. Park Geun-hye was put behind bars and will be detained for up to 20 days as prosecutors investigate allegations of abuse of power, accepting bribes, and leaking information. She’s the third Korean president to be jailed. A May 9 presidential election will determine her replacement.
The inventor of the Oculus Rift VR headset left Facebook.Palmer Luckey co-founded Oculus and helped kickstart a wave of virtual-reality gaming that is only just being realized. With CEO Mark Zuckerberg convinced the future of communication is immersive, Facebook spent $2 billion three years ago acquiring Luckey’s startup.
Jacob Zuma sacked finance minister Pravin Gordhan and over a dozen others. The South African president’s abrupt reshuffle led to the rand plunging against the US dollar. Gordhan’s steady stewardship of the economy had reassured investors rattled by the corruption claims and general mismanagement associated with Zuma’s beleaguered leadership.
Stranded Malaysians returned from North Korea. Nine Malaysians had been effectively held hostage in a diplomatic standoff between the countries, after the assassination of Kim Jong-un’s estranged brother in Kuala Lumpur. In exchange for their release, Malaysia delivered the body of Kim Jong-nam to North Korean authorities.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Christopher Groskopf and Dan Kopf on the geography of US wages: “As the Rust Belt stagnated, coastal metropolises thrived. As Appalachia sputtered, shale country boomed. As Southern manufacturing centers shut their doors, neighboring research hubs opened theirs.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Lyft might be more “woke” than Uber, but that’s a low bar. The smaller ride-hailing service has played a much savvier PR game.
Congress is about to learn that tax cuts are easy, but reform is hard. Reshaping the system requires bipartisanship, which is in short supply.
Ivanka Trump is more qualified than her husband. But she still got a lesser title in the White House.
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Madeira has the world’s ugliest statue of Cristiano Ronaldo. Its creator said it “was a matter of taste.”
Patients are going under the knife with their eyes open.Advancements in anesthetics makes it possible for surgical patients to stay awake (paywall).
A bulldozer theme park could solve the US construction worker shortage. Diggerland lets kids operate real backhoes.
Donald Trump’s tweets are being set ablaze by a robot. David Neevel’s contraption prints and burns every @realDonaldTrump message, then tweets him the evidence.
The governor of Maine pardoned a dog. Dakota the husky will no longer be euthanized for killing a smaller dog in 2016.
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