#China’s passenger jet, #VW’s comeback plan, grease thieves

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND

France’s presidential run-off. Centrist Emmanuel Macron has a significant lead in the polls over far-right rival Marine Le Pen, aftergaining support during Wednesday’s debate. Ahead of Sunday’s vote, former US president Barack Obama praised Macron for appealing to “people’s hopes and not their fears,” adding that “the success of France matters to the entire world.”

Volkswagen Group outlines its plans for the VW brand. This week the world’s biggest carmaker reported rising profits in the first quarter, a result of overdue cost-cutting and restructuring. In a live broadcast today it will outline plans to revive the reputation of its core brand, which is still wheezing from the emissions-cheating scandal.

The first large passenger-jet made in China takes off. The much-delayed C919, roughly the size of Boeing’s 737, will take itsmaiden flight in Shanghai today at about 2pm local time (7am in London). China wants in on the global jet market, estimated to be worth $2 trillion over the next 20 years. Boeing and Airbus will be watching, and so will many in China, where it’s a top trending topic on social media.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Donald Trump lauded Australia’s health-care system. His surprising praise came as he met with Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull, whose government pays for all citizens to have access to doctors and public hospitals for free. US senator Bernie Sanders remarked: “Thank you Mr. Trump for admitting that universal health care is the better way to go.”

General Electric’s CEO warned against protectionism. In a speech at Georgetown University, Jeff Immelt said the US should modernize and improve trade deals, not withdraw from them. He said if US political leaders think Americans want to live without the benefits of global economic integration, “they’re in for a rude awakening.”

Jeff Bezos sold nearly $1 billion in Amazon stock. Last month the founder and CEO said he’ll spend about that amount each year to get his space-tourism company, Blue Origin, off the ground. He still owns about 17% of the e-commerce giant, which beat expectationsin the first quarter.

Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $110 million in a cancer case. The money will go to a Virginia woman who says shedeveloped ovarian cancer after decades of using the company’s talc-based products. The jury said the company did not adequately warn consumers of the cancer risks of such products, including Johnson’s Baby Powder.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Oliver Staley on the tragic twilight of a forgotten comic-book mastermind: “In 1992, Bill Mantlo suffered a severe and permanent brain injury. His outlook began to change about a decade ago, when Marvel entered the movie business… Mantlo received a significant sum for the use of his Rocket Raccoon character from theGuardians of the Galaxy movie.” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

Metal prices fall / The culprit? No one needs all / the steel in China.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Dorms for adults could cure an epidemic of loneliness. The co-housing movement touts hybrid dwellings with shared kitchens and other common spaces.

The GOP health-care bill treats being female as a pre-existing condition. Women who have experienced C-sections, sexual assault, and domestic violence would all suffer.

Your financial fate is sealed by the time you turn 25. Pay raises get progressively smaller as we get older.

QUARTZ ANNOUNCEMENT

Quartz Index indicator of the day: one. That’s the number of jobs of the 270 listed in the 1950 US census that have since been lost to automation. Learn what that job was and explore other indicators at the new Quartz Index.💼

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Apple’s Singapore debut is baffling residents. The new Apple Store’s cryptic icons—🍎 ❤️ 🔴—supposedly reference the island’s “little red dot” nickname.

A plague of insects is eroding Louisiana’s coast. The mealybug infestation is killing the plants that shore up crucial wetlands.

Elon Musk’s juvenile joke is costing Tesla real money. His plan to name his car models “S,” “3,” “X,” and “Y” only confused consumers (paywall).

Grease thieves are plaguing US restaurants. The surging cost of biodiesel fuel is to blame.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mealybugs, and curious icons 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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