Quartz Daily Brief—POTUS/SOTU, Barclays and Coca-Cola earnings, Fat Tuesday

February 11, 2013
February 11, 2013

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

POTUS’ SOTU! President Obama will deliver his 2013 State of the Union (SOTU) address Tuesday evening, which sets out his government’s policy agenda for the year. He’s expected to spotlight gun control, climate change and immigration in the speech.

Barclays posts earnings. But more importantly, the British bank’s new chief, Antony Jenkins, will trot out his strategic review, known somewhat grandly as “Project Transform.” Will it counterbalance the recent flow of bad news for the bank, including—but not limited to!—the Libor rate-rigging scandal and new allegations of murky relationships with Qatari investment vehicles?

Mario Draghi speaks in Spain. The European Central Bank (ECB) president will address the parliament and meet with embattled Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy. The men may talk about aid for Spain via the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transaction program, under which the ECB would buy Spanish government bonds. Spain’s borrowing costs have fallen sharply in financial markets, however, so it might not be asking for help after all.

Coca-Cola’s fourth quarter results. The beverage giant delivers fourth-quarter results before the start of US trading. Watch out for the company’s volumes in China. During the third quarter they only rose 2%, slowing sharply from the 11% gain seen in Q3 of 2011.

Fat Tuesday. Rio’s Carnival 2013 winds down today—Happy mardi gras. Also known as Shrove or Pancake Tuesday, it precedes Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the more sober Lenten season.

While you were sleeping

The horsemeat scandal galloped on. French officials say the trail of mislabeled meat runs from Romanian butchers to Dutch and Cypriot traders, among others.

UK regulators to investigate Autonomy. The Financial Reporting Council will look into the accounts at the software company for the two-and-a-half years leading up to its acquisition in 2011 by Hewlett Packard. HP subsequently recorded an $8.8 billion write-down, most of the value of the deal, after discovering what it said were accounting irregularities (which Autonomy’s founder denies).

A stampede killed 36 people at the Kumbh Mela. The chief organizer of the Hindu festival has resigned. A writer traveling there with a medical team from Harvard explains how, even with 30 million people at the Hindu festival, it could have been avoided.

The UK issued a legal opinion on Scottish independence. If the nation votes for independence in a 2014 referendum, Scotland would have to reapply for membership in the EU and UN, among other hassles.

Quartz obsession interlude

The surprise resignation from the Holy See turned the papacy into a mini-obsession for Quartz. Lily Kuo and Christopher Mims rounded up five papal facts to know. Kuo and David Yanofsky looked at how popes’ life expectancies have changed suprisingly little over two centuries. Meanwhile, Matt Phillips analyzed the pontiff’s job in terms of management paradigms and suggested that the next Vatican CEO may be a clean-up guy, a product guy or a merger specialist, but is unlikely to be an outsider.

Matters of debate

Europe is losing the currency war. Because it’s not printing as much money as everybody else

Housing isn’t really a great investment, says Robert Shiller, co-inventor of the Case-Shiller index, the standard indicator that Americans use to decide whether to invest in housing.

Germany is overly obsessed with doctorates. A plagiarism scandal is the latest example.

Conservatives have reason to get behind breaking up the big banks, says George Will, a conservative pundit.

Surprising discoveries

New Yorkers like to tour sewage plants on Valentine’s day.

A Chinese entrepreneur is selling canned air

Tupperware’s top North American saleswoman is actually a salesman. Or, a salesperson. Fine, it’s a man in drag.

Lightning struck the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Yes, on the same day Pope Benedict announced his resignation.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, opinions on Scottish independence, pancake recipes and canned air recommendations to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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