Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—UK unemployment surprise, Tesla results, Hong Kong’s maid trade, Hot Pocket recall

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What to watch for today

Protests in Venezuela. Demonstrators hope the arrest of their leader, Leopoldo Lopez, will galvanize the anti-government movement.

Tesla’s supply and demand. The electric car company has already pre-announced stellar fourth-quarter sales, so investors will be looking for details about a new battery factory and second production line to ensure Tesla can keep up with surging orders.

Why the Fed voted for further tapering. The US central bank releases minutes from its January meeting, which should show how the emerging market selloff factored into the decision to cut another $10 billion from its bond-buying program.

The meeting of the Three Amigos. The American, Canadian and Mexican presidents meet in Toluca, Mexico to discuss trade, security, and the $5.4 billion US-Canadian Keystone pipeline.

While you were sleeping

The battle for Kiev raged on. Police stormed the main protest camp in Ukraine’s capital, with widespread explosions and fires reported, a day after clashes between demonstrators and security forces killed at least 18 people.

Japan’s prices are “rising moderately.” But the government’s monthly economic report stopped short of declaring victory against deflation.

Britain’s unemployment rate rose unexpectedly, up to 7.2% in the fourth quarter, after falling steadily over the past year and forcing the central bank to revise its rules for raising interest rates.

Europe’s IPO backlog. Companies including the UK chain Pets at Home are looking to raise more than $8 billion in IPOs (paywall), as private equity firms eagerly cash out investments they made before the financial crisis.

China is playing hardball with Qualcomm. The US technology firm is facing a Chinese antitrust investigation that could result in hefty fines unless it agrees to relax pricing for 4G mobile phone networking equipment.

Nestle’s Hot Pocket recall. An unknown number of ”Philly Steak” and “Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese” microwaveable meals may have been tainted by a US beef supplier accused of processing diseased and unhealthy animals.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on how a wave of buy-outs could save India’s ungainly telecoms market. “[E]ven with 886 million subscribers between them, Indian mobile network operators struggle to turn a profit… There are many reasons for this, among them the fact that most Indian subscribers are poor and spend on little apart from voice calls and texts. But the biggest culprit is competition: Far too many mobile operators compete in diverse areas of the country for scraps of the market. Few telcos can boast all-India coverage. And while this is great for consumers, it’s unsustainable for the industry.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Ukraine’s violent crackdown is a Soviet flashback. President Viktor Yanukovych has joined the short list of the former Soviet Union’s most brutal leaders.

Abenomics is off-target. The central bank’s 2% inflation goal is virtually unreachable, since the value of the yen isn’t falling fast enough.

Cyprus’s bailout didn’t solve its money laundering problems. The island is still a destination for rich Russians trying to hide their cash.

Hong Kong’s “maid trade” is cheating domestic workers. Visa restrictions and a two-tiered minimum wage are hurting tens of millions of women across Asia.

Surprising discoveries

Why north is up on maps. It all goes back to Ptolemy—but if east were up, the Americas would look like a duck.

Financial markets love breakfast. Prices for commodities such as coffee, oats, bacon and orange juice are rising.

India has racist crayons. A man is suing Hindustan Pencils for marketing a peach-colored crayon as “skin color.”

What goes on behind closed doors at a Wall Street secret society. Basically everything you’d expect.

Google Maps missed a spot. As far as the internet is concerned, Cranberry, Pennsylvania, doesn’t exist.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, non-racist crayons, and secret society invites to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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