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Quartz Daily Brief—SpaceX’s relaunch, Toyota’s Mexico plans, Greek default looms, Android airstrikes

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Iraq’s prime minister meets Barack Obama. Haidar al-Abadi will meet the US president in Washington, DC, and will probably ask for more weapons to fight the Islamic State. Last weekend the militant group took control of Iraq’s largest oil refinery.

SpaceX tries again. On Monday the commercial rocket company canceled the test flight and landing of a reusable rocket that could make space launches much cheaper. It will try again at 4:10pm ET (9:10pm BST).

Great expectations for JPMorgan Chase. Analysts expect an annual earnings-per-share increase of 9.5% when America’s biggest bank posts its first-quarter results. Revenue is expected to have risen 6.3%.

Intel’s first quarter figures. The PC chip maker has already lowered its first-quarter revenue forecast, but analysts expect earnings to be slightly up from last year. Investors will be looking for insight into a bigger question: what is the future of the PC?

More numbers. UK inflation data is due, and the International Monetary Fund publishes its latest global outlook.

While you were sleeping

Greece dropped the D-word. Sources told the Financial Times that the country plans to default (paywall) on debt payments it owes the IMF in May and June unless it can reach a deal with creditors to release more bailout funds. Greece has been warning it’s about to run out of cash for a while; this looks like an attempt to increase the pressure on creditors.

British retail sales enjoyed a boost. British Retail Consortium and KPMG figures showed like-for-like retail sales rose 3.2% in March from a year earlier, and total sales increased by 4.7%. An early Easter may have played a role in the strong numbers, which might mean April sales figures take a dip.

Nokia discussed buying some Alcatel-Lucent assets. The Finnish handset maker is in advanced talks to purchase some of the French telecom company’s wireless assets, according to Bloomberg. A deal, which could be announced as early as this week, would boost Nokia’s telecom equipment strength, and allow it to better compete with its rival Ericsson.

Toyota planned a $1 billion Mexico plant. The Japanese auto maker plans to produce 200,000 cars per year and hire 2,400 staff in the state of Guanajuato, according to Reuters. That would end a self-imposed three-year ban on new investments, as the auto industry fights oversupply.

Marco Rubio announced his candidacy for the US presidential race. The Republican senator from Florida is the fourth person to officially declare, following fellow Republicans Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Rubio, the youngest candidate at 43, told potential donors he is “uniquely qualified” for the job and promised a “New American Century.”

IBM, Apple, and health giants teamed up. The tech firms and various drug and medical device companies will join forces to provide data from wearers of the Apple Watch to insurers and doctors, which will be used to tailor treatments or contribute to medical trials. Dozens of apps already exist for Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit platforms.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on the recent buzz in Hong Kong’s stock market. “Last November, when China allowed mainland residents to trade shares in Hong Kong and Hong Kong investors to access previously closed off Chinese companies, there was widespread speculation that tidal waves of money would start to flow between mainland China and Hong Kong. Those expectations fell flat—until now.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

There’s no such thing as a humane execution. One US state is thinking of using nitrogen gas on its prisoners, but death is death.

The ATM still has a future. Even in a world of digital finance, there will still be a place for cash.

To stop the Houthis, stop Iran. Yemen’s president, currently in exile, argues that the crisis in his country, and the rest of the Middle East, is being fueled by Iran’s thirst for power (paywall).

The Fed needs to raise borrowing costs quickly. Investors are starting to take on bigger risks because the borrowing costs are so low, says the man who predicted the 2007 financial crisis.

Don’t ask to meet for coffee. Businesspeople don’t have the kind of free time you think they do, so unless you’re a large client, stick to email.

Surprising discoveries

Over-the-counter painkillers could dull your emotions. The active ingredient in Tylenol was found to reduce people’s emotional sensitivity in one study.

Beijing wants residents to tattle on people smoking indoors. The government is encouraging residents to upload videos of people violating no-smoking rules.

The presence of attractive men makes other men bigger risk-takers. A study found the presence of more attractive competitors spurs compensating behavior.

The US army can call in airstrikes on their tablets. KILSWITCH is an Android device that lets soldiers request an airstrike on a tablet in as little as four minutes, instead of using radio and paper maps.

Pulling your hair out could cure baldness. In a study done on mice, plucking 200 hairs led to over 1,000 growing back in their place.

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