Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US jobs, Putin rebuffs Obama, Pimco’s Gross outburst, WhatsApp’s clunky phones

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What to watch for today

America’s job market perks up. Analysts expect that the US economy added 163,000 new jobs in February (paywall), compared to only 113,000 the month before. But even if the data disappoint, investors will probably chalk it up to an anomaly, or the extreme cold weather; many other employment indicators look strong.

A manufacturing bump in Germany. Analysts expect industrial production for January to rise by 0.7%, after a 0.6% drop in December. It might even come in higher: Yesterday’s data on industrial orders showed double the expected increase, giving hope for a more bullish 2014.

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto—really? Doubts are swirling over Newsweek’s report naming a Los Angeles man as the creator of bitcoin, which he denies. The magazine is standing by its story, but the debate rages on.

The Winter Paralympics opening ceremony. The follow-up to the Olympic Games kicks off in Sochi despite global boycotts of the event due to Russia’s intervention in Crimea.

While you were sleeping

Putin shrugged off Obama’s warning. The Russian president defended his country’s actions in Ukraine despite US sanctions, saying “Russia cannot ignore calls for help and it acts accordingly.” Russia’s parliament voted to support a succession vote by Crimea.

Pimco aired its dirty laundry. Co-founder Bill Gross claimed outgoing CEO Mohamed El-Erian is “undermining” him, and told a Reuters reporter: “Great, he’s got you, too, wrapped around his charming right finger.”

A historic Chinese bond default took place. Struggling solar equipment maker Shanghai Chaori  (paywall) failed to make an interest payment (paywall)—the first time a mainland Chinese company has ever defaulted. Now that government bailouts are no longer a certainty, investors will have to reconsider how to price in risk.

Japan’s largest wireless carrier may miss its earnings target. NTT Docomo blamed discounted iPhones from its competitors, part of a “grueling” price war.

Erdogan mulled a ban on Facebook and YouTube. The Turkish prime minister said that he would rather shut the sites down (paywall) than allow them to be used by his opponents. Erdogan’s private conversations were recently leaked to social media sites.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on hints that Spotify could be about to go public. “The music-streaming service Spotify is doing what looks like some pre-IPO spring cleaning. Spotify announced today that it has bought the company behind the algorithms it uses to power its personalized radio service. It is also reportedly talking to banks about establishing a credit facility, a common step before companies go public. And Spotify hired a senior executive from its newest rival, Beats Music, this week.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There’s no chance of another world war. We are all too economically interconnected 

Wall Street is weaning itself off transaction commissions. Advisory firms are making a momentous shift to fee-based revenues.

Facebook should buy Tata Communications. After its purchase of WhatsApp, buying the Indian telco wouldn’t be a crazy thing to do.

America isn’t a developed country… Its education, criminal justice system and gun violence record rank far below countries it calls “third-world.”

…And it’s not having enough babies. The long, slow birth-rate decline has big implications for consumption.

Surprising discoveries

NASA could be Europa-bound. A key US congressman wants to fund a probe to Jupiter’s water-rich moon.

Bill Gates and Ben Bernanke got near-perfect SAT scores. So did James Franco and Ben Affleck.

Supporting the wrong cricket team in India is a crime. Kashmiri students cheering for Pakistan briefly faced charges.

@GSElevator lost his book deal. Now that the creator of the spoof Twitter account has been outed, Simon and Schuster isn’t interested.

WhatsApp’s founders use clunky old cell phones. And it’s not because they’re Luddites.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, SAT scores, and book offers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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