#Japan’s surging exports, #Trump boom fizzles, weaponized GIFs

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

China’s premier goes Down Under. Li Keqiang’s first official trip to the country, lasting about a week, comes as China takes a bigger role in promoting free trade. Australia is trying to maintain its alliance with the US while also courting China, its top trading partner.

Rex Tillerson hosts a global coalition on ISIL. The US secretary of state will host counterparts from 68 countries in Washington to discuss the Islamist extremist group. For NATO foreign ministers, it could be their last chance to talk to Tillerson for a while—he’sskipping a big meeting of the alliance next month, unless theyreschedule it for him (paywall).

An update on existing-home sales in the US. In January they increased at the fastest pace in nearly a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors. Numbers for last month areexpected to show a slight slowdown, but inventories are still tight.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Japanese exports leapt the most in two years. Last month they were up 11.3% from a year earlier, rising for the third month in a row. Leading the way were exports to China—Japan’s largest trading partner—which jumped 28.2% year-on-year. That helped Japan record its first trade surplus with China in five years.

US stocks fell on Trump fears. Investors think the US president will have difficulty delivering the tax cuts he promised, sending major indices down by more than 1% on Wall Street’s worst day since Nov. 8. Trump’s tax cuts are predicated on Congress passing a health-care reform bill, the prospects of which are looking iffy (paywall).

Airbnb changed its name in China and doubled its investment there. Where Uber failed, the home-sharing giant aims to succeed. The new name is Aibiying, which means “welcome each other with love.” The company’s China unit is also tripling its workforce to better compete against domestic rivals, chief among them market leader Tujia.

A North Korea missile launch failed. The US military detected a missile that appeared to explode seconds after taking off, with South Korea confirming. Experts believe the rogue nation is trying to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that could strike the US. It was unclear what kind of missile misfired.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Oliver Staley on how the scandal rocking Thinx shows why HR departments exist: “Agrawal encouraged a rambunctious, sexually explicit work environment where boundaries were not only crossed, but obliterated… So where was HR in all of this? Oh yeah: Thinx hadn’t bothered hiring an HR director.” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

Tax cuts always just
around the bend. Investors
won’t wait forever.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

The US should stop building airports. Upgrading existing infrastructure would create more growth opportunities.

Losing weight won’t make you happy. Eating a balanced diet, however, reduces the risk of depression.

It’s time for remote workers to return to the office. Distributed workforce pioneer IBM is demanding that employees return to the mothership.

QUARTZ ANNOUNCEMENT

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SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Spain had an outbreak of cannibalism 10,000 years ago. New evidence suggests that hunter-gatherers relied on a convenient source of protein.

Bots are learning to speak their own language. There’s no way to translate it into something humans can understand.

Jane Austen faked her own marriage—twice. The author, who wrote about socially advantageous pairings, registered two phony announcements at her father’s parish.

GIFs can be a deadly weapon. A man is facing a 10-year prison sentence for allegedly sending a strobing image to a journalist with epilepsy.

A mistranslated word led to fake news in the New York Times.An Italian astronomer’s 19th-century report of “canali” on Mars was misread as “canals.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Spanish cannibals, and fake marriage announcements tohi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.

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