Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Theresa May invokes Article 50. The British prime minister is expected to trigger the start of the two-year process of negotiating the UK’s exit from the European Union, by citing an exit clause in the EU founding treaty.
Toshiba’s Westinghouse unit could declare bankruptcy. The nuclear power company has struggled with cost overruns, badly damaging its Japanese parent firm. Toshiba’s future losses will be limited if Westinghouse files for bankruptcy, a move that is imminentaccording to Reuters.
Samsung launches a new smartphone. The Galaxy S8 will be the company’s first significant release since its flammable Galaxy Note 7 debacle. One bad omen: Yesterday a Samsung retail outlet in Singapore caught fire.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
Trump rolled back Obama’s environmental regulations… The US president signed an executive order to dismantle rules that curb power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions. The regulations—currently being contested in court—would have prevented thousands of premature deaths a year.
…And US lawmakers voted to repeal Obama-era internet privacy rules. Slated to go into effect later this year, the rules required broadband providers—but not the likes of Google and Facebook—to get permission before sharing data on a user’s online activities. Trump is expected to sign the bill into law, in a win for ISPslike Comcast and AT&T.
Wells Fargo had a bad day. A federal regulator gave the US bank a failing score (paywall) when it comes to providing lending in low-income neighborhoods. On the same day (March 28) the bank agreed to pay $110 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over its creation of unauthorized customer accounts—a scandal that’s still scaring off potential consumers.
The US admitted its likely role in a deadly Mosul bombing. “My initial assessment is that we probably had a role in these casualties,”said the top US commander in Iraq, referencing airstrikes this month that killed up to 200 civilians. Iraqi officials told Mosul residents not to leave the areas about to be hit, according to Amnesty International.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Dan Kopf on the compelling evidence that robots are taking jobs and cutting wages: “A central question about robots is whether they replace human workers or augment them by boosting productivity. Acemoglu and Restrepo’s research is a powerful piece of evidence on the side of replacement.” Read more here.
MATTERS OF DEBATE
The FBI’s facial-recognition database has gone too far. Nearly half of Americans are in the system, and its algorithms are deeply flawed.
Facebook is proof that originality is overrated. Its last five major products were copied from Snapchat, Apple, Twitch, Slack, and Snapchat once again.
Israel’s next war is inevitable. The country is taking deterrence too far with its constant bombing of Hezbollah (paywall).
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Richard Branson wants Kiwi farmers to raise weed, not cows. It would be more profitable and easier on the environment.
A Coca-Cola plant in Northern Ireland was shut down by feces. Police were called in after it clogged the plant’s machinery.
An Airbnb host illegally rented out her Trump Tower apartment. New York City slapped her with a $1,000 fine.
Three rivers are now legally people. One is in New Zealand and two are in India, where they will be treated as minors in court.
Amazon giveth as Barnes & Noble taketh away. For every bookstore that B&N closes this year, Amazon is opening a high-tech brick-and-mortar replacement.
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