What to watch for today
America weighs in on December jobs. Wall Street expects the US Labor Department’s December jobs report to show payrolls grew by 240,000 and that unemployment fell from 5.7% from 5.8%. That would follow November’s stellar performance, with payrolls adding 321,000 compared to Wall Street’s expected 230,000.
São Paulo braces for bus fare protests. Brazil’s Free Pass movement, which organized the 2013 protest against an increase in bus fares (paywall), plans to protest another fare hike, with 21,000 people who’ve pledged to attend on the event’s Facebook page.
Impeachment hearings for Thailand’s former prime minister begin. The military-appointed parliament will weigh accusations that ousted PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s rice subsidy program was rife with corruption and resulted in $15.7 billion in government losses (paywall).
India gets a new airline. Vistara, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata based in New Delhi, takes to the sky with a fleet of Airbus A320 planes that will travel between Mumbai, Delhi, and Ahmedabad. It’s positioning itself as a premium airline, with tickets priced accordingly.
Brazilian inflation teeters on the edge. The South American giant’s inflation rate likely abated slightly in December, and could fall within the government’s 6.5% target range. Still, economists warn price rises will continue plaguing Brazil in months ahead, as the government mulls tax hikes and fuel and electricity price hikes to raise public cash.
While you were sleeping
Charlie Hebdo put up a brave face. The French satirical magazine promised to publish one million copies of a new issue next week, in spite of attacks at its Paris office that left 10 of its writers and two police officers dead. Google donated $378,000 (link in French) to the magazine to support the cause.
The US announced plans to close more than a dozen bases in Europe. The shuttering of 15 bases will save the Pentagon roughly $500 million a year, according to US defense secretary Chuck Hagel. America has approximately 74,000 troops stationed in Europe. With today’s announcement, 2,000 will be relocated out of the UK as three major bases there shutter.
Coca-Cola lost its edge, and slashed jobs to prove it. Between 1,600 and 1,800 employees of the beverage maker will be eliminated globally as a part of a $3-billion cost-cutting measure the company announced in Oct. 2014, responding to falling profits. The push to cut down sugar and curb obesity in US cities and some countries hasn’t helped.
Dunkin’ Donuts coated China in powdered sugar. With just 16 outlets in the country (paywall), the American coffee and donut giant announced it will add more than 1,400 beginning in the fourth quarter of this year, in the company’s largest development agreement ever. The stores will be franchised in a joint venture between Jollibee Foods and Jasmine Asset Holdings.
The US fines Honda steeply for not reporting fatal crashes. The Japanese carmaker is being fined a record $70 million by US regulators for not reporting (paywall) some 1,700 deaths and injuries to the government over the past 11 years, the largest US civil penalty to ever hit a carmaker. Among its other misgivings: failing to respond to customers’ warranty claims.
Quartz obsession interlude
Heather Timmons on China’s bailout of global oil producers. “Oil-exporting nations are facing budget crises, political instability and social upheaval thanks to the cratering of crude oil prices in recent weeks. Enter China. Despite an economic slowdown of its own—which has been a factor in plunging oil prices—Beijing is stumping up billions of dollars in loans to many of these countries, in exchange for what some analysts warn are tough terms that could cripple future economic recoveries.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The West needs infrastructure lessons from the East. Session 1: How to build an airport and a highway attached to it in no time flat.
Europe needs to stop the insanity. If the misguided reforms and government austerity don’t stop, the people will revolt.
Cartoons aren’t the problem. If Charlie Hebdo didn’t exist, the divide between modern society and medieval extremism would still exist—and would still need fixing.
Without Islam, Europe wouldn’t be what it is today. Just look at food, fashion, music, and science. Much of what Europe claims as its pillars of modernity is thanks to Islam.
Air pollution is doing serious harm to the body. When your kids walk to and from school every day, they’re inflicting permanent damage that limits their growth potential.
Homeless people are homeless. The Malaysian government hosted an event for the country’s homeless where it handed out housewares including coffee machines and stoves.
The future of space looks a lot like the 1930s. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has drawn up posters that visualize exoplanets as vintage travel prints with classic typefaces.
Solar panels are headed for Russian greatness. Researchers have discovered a material known as perovskites—named after 19th century Russian count—that may be cheaper and more efficient than silicon at converting the sun’s rays into electricity.
The planet needs you to stop everything now. Over 80% of the world’s coal, 30% of oil, and 50% of natural gas shouldn’t be used if we want to meet our current climate goals.
Correction: Yesterday’s Daily Brief stated incorrectly that Xiaomi’s court hearing in India over patents would take place on Jan. 8. The correct date is Feb. 5.