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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Goldman earnings, deflation’s specter, new Microsoft candidate, babies are liars

What to watch for today

The specter of deflation. Europe and the United States will report pricing data a day after IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned that the risk of deflation could “prove disastrous for the recovery.”

The not-so-vampirish squid. Goldman Sachs may have lost its mojo after recent troubles in its fixed-income business; analysts will look for answers in its fourth-quarter earnings report.

Puerto Rican default looms. Creditors and lawyers for the island territory meet in New York to discuss a debt restructuring as a moratorium looks increasingly likely (paywall).

Intel inside…the cloud. Ahead of today’s fourth-quarter earnings report, the troubled chipmaker announced a new co-branding campaign with the cloud services that are making its server business obsolete.

While you were sleeping

Microsoft’s new name in the game. Hans Vestberg, the CEO of Ericsson AB, is being considered as a successor to Steve Ballmer, Bloomberg reported.

Rio Tinto dug deeper. The mining giant set new records for iron ore and coal production and cut costs as it benefitted from increased demand from China.

Charter and Comcast discuss a tag team. The two cable operators are reconsidering a joint bid for Time Warner Cable, which rejected Charter’s $37.3 billion bid earlier this week, according to Reuters.

Yahoo COO ousted. Henrique De Castro was asked to leave by CEO Marissa Mayer ahead of what are expected to be disappointing quarterly results later this month.

A private equity pizza party. Apollo Global Management agreed to buy Chuck E. Cheese (paywall) in a deal that values the children’s pizza party chain at about $1 billion, according to the Financial Times.

Apple fined for kiddie app purchases. The iPhone maker will pay at least $32.5 million to customers whose children racked up “in-app” charges without their parents’ consent.

Is Silicon Valley a cartel? A judge approved a mass lawsuit against Google, Apple, and other companies for allegedly agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees.

US labor regulators took aim at Wal-Mart. The National Labor Relations Board accused the retail giant of illegally punishing workers who considered taking part in walk-outs to protest low wages.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on “fantasy M&A.” “Analysts who crank out stock reports and ratings for investment banks thrive on action. If the research they publish every day convinces a reader to buy or sell stocks, bonds or other instruments, chances are it will generate commissions for the bank’s trading desk, and what’s good for the bank is good for the analysts. … Particularly persuasive ideas can take on a life of their own—moving markets, presenting awkward questions to the management of companies concerned, and maybe even drawing real dealmakers out of the woodwork.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t fear the taper. Despite the Federal Reserve’s plans to cut back on stimulus, the World Bank thinks it’s all going to be OK.

Verizon shouldn’t count its chickens just yet. A US court ruling on net neutrality has left regulators plenty of room to enforce open access.

The world’s elites are failing us. Financial liberalization, global plutocrats, and the euro showcase the failures of the high and mighty.

Why it’s so hard to get a home loan in the US. One surprising reason: interest rates are too low.

Surprising discoveries

The New York Times had a front-page typo for 102 years in a row. A typesetter miscounted the paper’s edition number in 1898, and nobody noticed for a very long time.

Babies are liars. Scientists find evidence of “fake crying” solely intended to seek attention, which is immediately followed by smiling and laughing.

German beer is facing an existential crisis. Price-fixing threatens the country’s hoppy history.

77% of Davos attendees are going for the first time. Maybe the forum isn’t really worth a second visit.

Hannibal Lecter isn’t a psychopath. But you might be.

The Netherlands is the world coffee consumption capital. Scandinavia isn’t far behind when it comes to joy in java.

Best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, self-diagnoses of sociopathy, and your favorite Davos ski runs to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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