Skip to navigationSkip to content
STAR WARS

Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Apple Watch details, Obama in Selma, Tesla China cutbacks, Mercedes blows minds

What to watch for today

Apple unveils its watch plans. CEO Tim Cook will reveal highly anticipated details about Apple’s new wearable device at 1am Hong Kong time, 1pm Eastern time, and 5pm London time. Here’s what to expect, and how to watch the live event.

ECB OKs QE. The European Central Bank begins buying sovereign bonds in an attempt to lift the euro zone’s moribund economy. The ECB will buy €60 billion ($65 billion) of debt a month until at least 2016, fueling a big bond rally that shows no signs of slowing.

GM settles with an activist investor. Harry Wilson is prepared to give up his request for a seat on the automaker’s board, in exchange for the company agreeing to buy back billions of dollars worth of shares.

Over the weekend

The world’s biggest ad firm is riding high. WPP’s pre-tax profit rose 12% in 2014 to £1.5 billion ($2.2 billion), its highest ever, on increased revenue, healthier profit margins, and higher euro-zone confidence. The company said it plans to pursue acquisitions and boost operating margins in 2015.

Obama told a Selma crowd: “Our march is not yet finished.”The US president marked the 50th anniversary of the Alabama city’s “Bloody Sunday” protests with a speech discussing the “long shadow” that racism casts over the United States.

MH370’s black box may have been faulty. A battery powering the locator beacon for the Malaysia Airlines plane’s data recorder expired in late 2012, according to a new report. Investigators also found that a Malaysian air traffic supervisor was asleep when MH370 disappeared.

Tesla cut back in China. Elon Musk’s electric-car maker will let go 180 of its 600 China-based staff after suffering lackluster sales. In unrelated news, a child tried to drive off in a Tesla that was on display at a Beijing mall, injuring a pregnant woman.

Greece wants tax spies. The debt-ridden country proposed a series of reforms to euro-zone finance ministers, including an unorthodox plan to enlist students and tourists to root out tax evasion. The country’s creditors were not impressed.

Japan grew more slowly than expected. Fourth-quarter annualized GDP growth was revised down to 1.5% from 2.2%. And business investment fell for the third consecutive quarter, which could hamper the government’s plan to spur inflation by raising wages.

China’s exports got a boost. February exports jumped by 48% versus the previous year, but combined January-and-February exports, adjusted to take account for Chinese New Year, rose by only 15%. China’s export growth target this year is just 6%, as it tries to tilt its economy toward domestic consumption.

Two men were charged with the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Police say they identified the suspects through cell phone records and DNA evidence from the suspected getaway car. But almost no one in Russia or beyond expects whoever ordered the killing to be named.

Quartz obsession interlude

Kabir Chibber on the leadership lessons you can learn from managing in the English Premier League. “Last year, 12 managers were fired by the end of the season—and there are only 20 teams in the league … So it was nice when Brendan Rodgers, the manager of Liverpool, talked so candidly of what it takes to manage at the top of the English game earlier this week.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Boko Haram’s ISIL allegiance is a sign of weakness. The Islamist group is losing ground to allied West African forces.

Let China devalue its currency. The world needs its second-largest economy to achieve a soft landing.

The world’s time zones are a mess… Crossing from China to Afghanistan can gain you three and a half hours.

…And Daylight Saving Time needs to go. It doesn’t save energy, so what’s the point?

“Magic” elevators are a farce. Lifts that can go up, down, and sideways will do nothing to improve our cities.

Surprising discoveries

China flunked International Women’s Day. It blocked feminist rallies and held races with men wearing high heels instead.

A driverless Mercedes-Benz is cruising around San Francisco. The sleek prototype is blowing everyone’s minds.

Vincent van Gogh’s red paints are turning white. The culprit is a rare mineral he used as a pigment.

Florida banned the term “climate change.” Some blame climate-change deniers in state government.

Tokyo may legalize noisy playgrounds. Japan’s many seniors may object.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, driverless Mercedes, and gold Apple Watches to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.