What to watch for today
Greece, meet Europe. Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis will meet Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, which is resisting (paywall) his proposal to swap out the country’s debt for new bonds linked to its economic growth.
The US gets a new defense chief. Ashton Carter is expected to easily win the Senate’s approval to replace defense secretary Chuck Hagel. Carter will be the country’s fourth Pentagon chief in six years under the Obama White House.
Jeb Bush starts kissing babies. The former Florida governor will give a talk in Michigan, which will be a pivotal state if he decides to run for president in 2016.
Numbers, numbers, and more numbers. Companies reporting: General Motors, Merck, Twenty-First Century Fox, Yum! Brands, and GlaxoSmithKline. As for economic data: European and UK services PMI figures, Mexican investment data, and private payroll firm ADP report US job growth.
While you were sleeping
A plane crashed in Taipei. A TransAsia turboprop plane carrying 58 people crash-landed into a shallow river near the Taiwanese capital, after narrowly missing a highway. Local media say at least 10 passengers have been rescued, but the story is still developing.
A big food company bet on pets. JM Smuckers, a US maker of jam, peanut butter, and instant coffee, agreed to pay $3.2 billion for Big Heart Pet Brands, the maker of several pet foods including Meow Mix. The move is Smuckers’ first pet foods acquisition, and comes amid rising pet ownership in the United States.
Chipotle sales are cooling off. Higher food prices are taking a bite out of the fast-casual pioneer, whose stock fell after it warned that 2015 sales would grow more slowly. Its fourth-quarter same-store sales grew by 16.1%, and revenue rose 27% to $1.07 billion from a year earlier.
“Frozen” kept firing for Disney. The media company reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues as all five of its divisions—from theme parks to consumer goods—posted higher operating incomes, due in part to the popular animated movie’s impact on home entertainment and toy sales.
China’s services sector slowed. The HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index for the service industry plummeted to 51.8 in January, from 53.4 in December, in a blow to the country’s attempts to transition away from its reliance on manufacturing.
ISIL hit a new peak of brutality. A video from the Islamic State group showed captured Jordanian air force pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive. Jordan confirmed the killing, but said it happened a month ago, and scheduled executions for five convicted terrorists.
Quartz obsession interlude
Kabir Chibber on why Greece will lose its fight with Europe. ”Since Greece’s Syriza party came to power, things have been tense in the euro zone. The party’s anti-austerity, anti-bail-out platform has put it on a collision course with its benefactors, especially Germany, which has footed a big chunk of the bill to keep the single currency together. Greece is currently playing a game of chicken with Germany, the EU, the European Central Bank, and others. Many think that its creditors will cave. But there is another way of looking at it.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Does Uber really reduce drunk driving? That’s what the tech firm claims, but the evidence is thin.
Testosterone is the drug of the future. It can help middle-aged men feel young again.
The new Harper Lee novel is not happy news. Its provenance is murky as the elderly author is in poor health.
Don’t tell your children how much you make. It might encourage them to think that money is everything.
Improving women’s rights will slow global warming. Better-off women will have fewer children.
Mayonnaise fans are upset with Hellman’s. Many believe the company changed its recipe on the sly.
Too much jogging is bad for you. Running more than four hours is the same as not running at all.
Bureaucracy is coming to the moon. The US government is already working out how to license lunar businesses.
Paganism is back. A temple dedicated to Norse gods—the first in a millennium—is being built in Iceland.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, jogging avoidance strategies, and unsatisfactory mayonnaise to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.