#Trump’s #NAFTA about-face, #Venezuela’s OAS withdrawal, security robot assaulted

Good morning, Quartz readers!


The European Central Bank weighs in. With the French election imminent, the ECB is not expected to make any major moves, but traders will be watching for any shifts in tone of the bank’s assessment of the euro zone economy and hints about future tapering.

A big day for tech earnings. Analysts expect Alphabet, Google’s parent company, to post an impressive 21% increase in revenue to $20.02 billion, though they’ll also be watching for signs (paywall) that advertisers are abandoning YouTube. Microsoft and Amazon will also report quarterly results.

Shinzo Abe sits down with Vladimir Putin. North Korea will be on the agenda when the Russian and Japanese leaders meet in Moscow—but so will sea urchin and scallop cultivation in the islands off the coast of Hokkaido that are claimed by both countries.


Trump pulled a 180 on NAFTA. After media reports surfaced stating that Trump would issue an executive order ending US participation in the North American Free Trade Agreement, the president stated that the White House would merely “renegotiate” its terms with Canada and Mexico. The announcement comes one day after Trump imposed tariffs on Canadian lumber shipped to the US.

Venezuela announced it would exit OAS. After members of the Organization of American States voted to hold a meeting to discuss the country’s plight, Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez said the regime would begin the withdrawal process from the organization. Violent protests against the Maduro regime, which has brought its citizens to the brink of starvation, have been waging in Caracas for over a week.

A North Korean official warned his nation would “never stop” its nuclear tests. His comments followed a joint statement given by secretary of state Rex Tillerson, defense secretary Jim Mattis, and director of national intelligence Dan Coats saying Washington will manage North Korea’s nuclear threat “by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners.”

Samsung Electronics had its best quarter in three years. The company reported operating profits of 7.68 trillion won ($6.8 billion), driven by a strong components division that has compensated for its lagging mobile phone unit. It also stated it would not re-structure into a holding company—something US-based activist investors, hungry for more dividends, have rallied for.

“Canada’s Donald Trump” withdrew his political bid. Kevin O’Leary, the outspoken businessman and star of the reality TV showShark Tank, ended his bid for leadership of Canada’s Conservative Party. O’Leary stated he dropped out of the race because his unpopularity in Quebec would make it difficult to beat prime minister Justin Trudeau in the 2019 election.


Katherine Foley on how science got it wrong about fat. In an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (an affiliate of BMJ) on April 25, researchers from the UK and California reviewed all the existing studies about cholesterol and heart disease. Based on all the published literature, “the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong,” they write. Read more here.


Trump’s tax plan: Something / For everyone. And a lot/ For the very rich.


Kim Jong-un is acting rationally. He’s doing what it takes to stave off a military coup or a popular uprising—both of which would upend the regime.

Queens are more likely to wage war than kings. And married queens are more bellicose than unmarried ones.

Pre-muddied expensive jeans are a symptom of “the war on work.” For $425, the wealthy don’t have to get their hands or pants dirty.


Quartz Index indicator of the day: $4.1 billion. That’s the projected size of the iris recognition market in 2025 (it was $670 million in 2016). Fingerprint recognition is already mainstream; is iris scanning next? 👀 for yourself at the new Quartz Index.


Donald Trump has a special red button to request a soda. The Oval Office device is not to be confused with the one that could start a nuclear war.

A security robot was assaulted in Silicon Valley. An intoxicated man knocked over the Knightscope K5 and was promptly arrested by (human) police.

Amazon’s new gadget judges your fashion sense, or lack thereof. The $200 Echo camera uses machine learning to analyze your daily clothing choices.

Humans may have arrived in the Americas 130,000 years ago.Controversial research posits that people lived in California 115,000 years earlier than is commonly accepted.

Baby whales whisper to their mothers. The faint squeaks and grunts are designed to prevent eavesdropping by predatory orcas.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, red buttons, and whale whispers to hi@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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