Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Greece pleads, Halliburton cuts, Coke bleeds, Varoufakis struts

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What to watch for today

A sweet moment for Arvind Kejriwal. Delhi’s newly elected chief minister meets Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, whose party he trounced in the election for the capital’s assembly by borrowing from the very same methods Modi used to win the general election last year. Kejriwal will be sworn in on Saturday.

Another confab about Ukraine. The Ukrainian, Russian, German, and French leaders are gathering in Belarus to discuss the increasingly tense situation in Ukraine’s east. It’s a meeting that will also dictate whether or not Russia will be slapped with fresh sanctions.

Greece gets on its knees. Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis meets his counterparts from the euro zone’s 18 other countries in an attempt to get a $10 billion bridge loan so its economy doesn’t collapse further into debt. German chancellor Angela Merkel is having none of it.

Sweden goes negative. The Swedish central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to zero last October and may drop it into negative territory today in a desperate effort to fend off deflation. Neighboring Denmark has cut rates four times in the past month, and Danes now have to pay banks to keep their money.

Europe’s largest IPO in 12 months. Trading begins in shares of Aena (paywall), the Spanish government’s airport operator, which raised €4 billion ($4.5 billion) when it priced its shares at €58 each on Tuesday, valuing the company at €8.7 billion.

Earnings reports. Companies that are going to open up their books include: ARM, Banco do Brasil, Cisco, Heineken, PepsiCo (paywall preview), Tesla Motors (preview), Whole Foods, and Time Warner.

While you were sleeping

Halliburton announced big job cuts. The oil company, facing up to the reality of crude oil prices, said it’s slashing between 6.5% and 8.5% of its global workforce—between 5,000 and 6,500 people. The cuts are doing little to assuage investors; Halliburton’s stock is down 3% today.

Facebook switched on free internet in India. The social network is working with local wireless operator Reliance to launch in six Indian states. Only 38 websites will be available, but that number is expected to increase. Presumably, so is the number of people who don’t realize Facebook is part of the internet.

Coca-Cola had a solid quarter, but said 2015 will be rough. The beverage company reported both higher profit and revenue (paywall) than what Wall Street expected, but the cost-cutting it detailed at the start of the year (paywall) will take a bite out of 2015, and a strong dollar will take an even bigger one.

Canon branched out. The Japanese camera maker announced its intent (paywall) to buy Swedish video surveillance firm Axis for ¥333.7 billion ($2.8 billion). Canon’s core business is suffering as smartphone cameras get better and better, but guess what—the security-camera industry is growing nicely.

Apple breached $700 billion. The iPhone and iPad maker’s market cap surpassed $700 billion in November during trading, but this is the first time it (or any US company) has closed above the record-breaking figure. Before the bell rang, Apple also announced that it would be investing $850 million in a new solar farm in California that can power 60,000 homes.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he was too busy for orgies. The former IMF head and one-time French presidential hopeful, on trial with 12 others for pimping, testified in court (paywall) that the group’s sex parties were only four times a year and his contacts with their alleged organizer were infrequent because he was occupied with “saving the world.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on how countries react to the love holiday. “Tongue-in-cheek ‘Anti-Valentine’s Day’ parties are de rigueur in cities from Los Angeles to Singapore these days. But in some other parts of the world, opposition toward the holiday runs much deeper and is tangled up in politics, religion, and national identity.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t celebrate the end of the oil price plunge. The recent surge is just a brief respite on the way down.

Debt should not be driving people to suicide. The benefits system in the UK is letting people fall through the cracks.

Stop insulting Islam; start punishing ISIL. Anti-Islamic rhetoric does nothing to combat the real threat.

Binyamin Netanyahu shouldn’t speak to the US congress. He’ll derail the negotiations with Iran (paywall).

New ideas aren’t born in cities anymore. Well, they are, but the age-old assumption that innovation only occurs in densely populated areas no longer holds up.

Surprising discoveries

Parents in California are holding “measles parties.” Because obviously exposing your child deliberately to the disease is better than vaccinating her.

Greece’s finance minister is now a German sex symbol. Angela Merkel has no time for Yanis Varoufakis’s policies but her compatriots have plenty of time for his looks.

You can hide pornography in plain sight. Several dirty videos manage to evade YouTube’s filters because they’d been given Irish-language titles.

You had just one job. The man in charge of keeping San Francisco’s water clean may be suspended after being caught urinating in a city reservoir.

The meaning of “Europe” is being stretched far as it can go. This year’s Eurovision song contest entrants will include Australia.

Neil Armstrong kept secret souvenirs. The late astronaut’s wife found a bag in a closet containing various items from the Apollo missions.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, sexy Yanis pictures, and San Francisco water samples to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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