Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Lufthansa’s strike, Sharp’s job cuts, Target’s payout, shadowless buildings

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What to watch for today

Lee Kuan Yew’s health. The 91-year-old father of modern Singapore remains critically ill in the hospital.

More sanctions for Russia? Members of the European Union begin a two-day summit that could tighten the economic squeeze on Moscow—unless Russian-backed rebels in Ukraine’s east stop violating the current ceasefire agreement.

Nike reports earnings. Strong sales of the sports apparel company’s Flyknit and Jordan shoes are likely to produce good fiscal third-quarter results. But a strong dollar and slowing growth in orders from Western Europe be a drag on profit.

Apple joins the Dow. Apple replaces AT&T in the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average today. The inclusion could give the index a boost (paywall), thanks to Apple’s strong stock price.

While you were sleeping

Sharp plans 6,000 job cuts. The loss-making Japanese electronics manufacturer will cut more than 10% of its workforce and spend 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion) restructuring the company, Reuters reports. Weak sales in China led Sharp to forecast a 30 billion yen loss for the fiscal year ending March.

China Mobile’s profit fell 10.2%. The mobile network operator’s full-year 2014 profit dropped to 109.3 billion yuan ($16.8 billion), even though the company added 40 million mobile subscribers last year. The drop was largely due to investment in a new 4G network, and the company’s profit still beat expectations.

Lufthansa’s pilot strike entered its second day. The German airline cancelled 84 of its 153 long-haul passenger flights, affecting around 18,000 passengers, as pilots protest cuts to bring costs in line with budget rivals Easyjet and Ryanair. The strike will run through Friday.

Rakuten expanded its US acquisition spree. The Japanese e-commerce giant paid $410 million in cash for OverDrive, a US supplier of ebooks, giving it over 5 million titles. Just last week, Rakuten invested $300 million in the ride-hailing service Lyft.

Target agreed to pay for a data breach. The US retailer will pay $10 million to settle a class action lawsuit over a 2013 hack involving 40 million customer cards. Target also said it would appoint a chief information security officer; the proposal still requires federal court approval.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on China’s twisted road ahead. “China’s leaders face a challenge: they must allow economic growth to slow steadily enough that they don’t trigger a financial shock. Yet the best bet for achieving this feat—i.e. bank lending—also happens to be their biggest threat. At 125% of GDP, China’s corporate debt is perilously huge.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Album release dates are dead. Surprise releases generate more hype and reduce piracy.

America’s biggest enemy is itself. The US needs to adapt its psyche to a world in which it is still a leader, but no longer a dominant power.

Netanyahu will not be elected again. The Israeli prime minister’s election campaign was a disaster and Israelis are in need of a fresh face.

Don’t applaud Muslims for opposing terrorism. Pointing out “good” Muslims only further propagates the prejudice that the others are extremists.

San Francisco now has the bus system it deserves. Startup kids willing to pay $6 a ride can enjoy luxury public transport.

India’s banks are its biggest problem. Selling off government stakes in them is the only way to achieve double-digit economic growth.

Surprising discoveries

The first ever spacewalk nearly ended in disaster. Russian astronaut Alexey Leonov’s spacesuit expanded so much he wasn’t able to re-enter through the air lock.

Google patented a cancer-zapping wristband. It could potentially also treat other diseases such as Parkinson’s.

New York City has more Uber cars than yellow cabs. That’s 14,088 Ubers compared to 13,587 traditional cabs.

Breastfed children earn more as adults. A three-decade study involving almost 6,000 babies found that the longer a child is breastfed, the more he or she will achieve in life.

An architecture firm is designing a shadowless building. It will be made of two towers that reflect light off each other.

Puerto Rico may legislate against parents of fat children. It has proposed a law that would label them ”child abusers.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, architectural breakthroughs, and spacewalk stories to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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