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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—BP cries poor, Amazon goes Hollywood, Chinese breakfasts, very short job posts

By Quartz Staff

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Tata Motors debuts the Bolt hatchback. The Indian company already is taking online orders for the car, which features a 1.2-litre turbocharged Revotron MPFi petrol engine. It promises strict quality control of parts and production.

US markets reopen. They were closed Jan. 19 for the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

A busy earnings day. Baker Hughes, Coach, Delta Air Lines, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Morgan Stanley, Netflix, SAP, and Unilever are among the companies scheduled to report results.

BP tries to use low oil prices to its advantage. Lawyers for the energy company will tell a US federal court that the collapse in prices has hurt the BP subsidiary responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and that this argues for leniency in determining the fines for Clean Water Act violations stemming from the 2010 accident.

Americans hear about the state of their union. President Barack Obama’s annual address (at 9pm eastern time) is expected to focus on middle-class households and measures to help them feel they’re participating in the US economic recovery. Expect at least one applause line directed at Larry Merlo, the CEO of CVS Health, the US drugstore chain that rid its stores of tobacco products last year; he’ll be among first lady Michelle Obama’s guests for the evening.

While you were sleeping

China denied it stole US stealth jet plans. A foreign ministry spokesman said the allegation, published in a German magazine from documents released by Edward Snowden, was “groundless.” The documents suggest Beijing stole vast amounts of data relating to the F-35, made by Lockheed Martin.

Amazon got into the movie-producing business. Emboldened by its success producing original television shows, the online retail giant said it would make as many as 12 movies a year for theatrical release—and it promised to make the films available on its Prime video-subscription service much sooner than is customary. Rival Netflix has somewhat similar aspirations.

A new Gucci was on show in its fall 2015 menswear show. The fashion label’s head accessories designer reportedly led a quick redesign of the collection after creative director Frida Giannini abruptly left the company last week, instead of at the end of February, as originally announced. The Milan show was a romantic assortment, including bow blouses, lace, and crop-sleeved coats.

The EU promised better coordination on terror. Foreign ministers meeting in Brussels announced member states would do better at sharing information, especially about radicalized Muslim Europeans returning from Syria and Iraq. They also agreed to appeal a European Union court ruling that would remove the Islamist group Hamas from a list of terrorist organizations.

The prosecutor who accused Argentina’s president of corruption was found dead. Alberto Nisman was due to present evidence yesterday in parliament that Cristina Kirchner covered up, in exchange for oil deals, Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people. A gun and bullet casing was found at his side, but the cause of death has not yet been revealed.

Quartz obsession interlude

Cassie Weber on the growing concentration of wealth at the very top of the 1%. ”Gather together the wealth of the world’s richest people, and you now only need 80 of them before there’s enough in the pot to equal everything owned by the poorest 50% of the rest of the world combined. Back in 2010, you’d have needed 388 of the world’s richest to balance those scales.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

James Taylor’s serenade to the French shouldn’t be ridiculed. His rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend” was the perfect gesture.

QE in Europe will create some trouble for euro zone banks. There are benefits, too, but also the prospect of even narrower net interest margins (paywall).

China’s first meal of the day should remain Chinese. There’s nothing more authentic (paywall) than a steamed bun for breakfast.

France’s Marine Le Pen is free to share her far-right views. But does the New York Times have to do her bidding?

The US should go after Sri Lanka’s former defense secretary for war crimes. It would go a long way (paywall) toward assisting Sri Lanka’s “transition to democracy.”

Surprising discoveries

We recall things better when we close our eyes. The scientists who concluded this hope their studies will help police witnesses provide more accurate details.

There are nine boundaries keeping us from planetary destruction. We’ve crossed four of them.

Without Stevie Wonder, there might never have been a Martin Luther King Day. The musician crusaded for 15 years to establish the US holiday.

François Hollande is a popular fellow. A shaken French electorate is rallying around its president.

You can advertise a job in fewer than 50 characters. Here’s how it’s done.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, jet plans, James Taylor ditties, and 50-character job posts to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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