Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Comcast’s shaky merger, Rolls-Royce’s new boss, Tesco’s historic loss, the Eiffel Tower’s secret

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What to watch for today

Comcast and Time Warner try to save their merger. The cable behemoths will meet with Justice Department antitrust officials, who are reportedly planning to block the $42.5-billion deal combining the two largest US cable and internet service providers. If the deal is thwarted, there are likely to be more twists and turns ahead.

Petrobras comes clean. Brazil’s state-owned oil company will publish audited financial results for 2014 and disclose write-downs from its massive corruption scandal, which has already toppled senior management and sent shockwaves through Brazil.

Two al-Jazeera journalists are back in Egyptian court. Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed stand accused of spreading lies to aid the Muslim Brotherhood. Yesterday, the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, who served briefly as Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, was jailed for 20 years.

A big day of earnings. AT&T, Coca-Cola, eBay, Facebook, McDonald’s, and Qualcomm are among the companies reporting quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Sony’s year got much better. The Japanese electronics firm expects an operating profit of 68 billion yen ($569 million) in the year to March, from 20 billion yen previously, due to higher sales of videogames and camera sensors. But the company still expects to post an annual net loss.

Rolls-Royce ousted its CEO. The UK engineering company announced board member Warren East will replace John Rishton as chief executive (paywall) in July, following several profit warnings, investor feuds, and a sinking share price. East led chipmaker ARM between 2001 and 2013.

Yum Brands’ China troubles began to ease. The owner of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut projected a strong rise in full-year earnings after its first-quarter like-for-like China sales showed evidence of bottoming out. Sales fell by a less-than-expected 12% from a year earlier.

Tesco posted a historic loss. Britain’s biggest retailer posted a £6.4-billion ($9.6-billion) full-year loss, the worst in its 96-year history and one of the biggest UK corporate losses of all time. The supermarket chain has been damaged by an accounting scandal and customers who opted for cheaper alternatives during a punishing price war.

Japan posted its first trade surplus in three years. Imports fell by 14.5% and exports increased 8.5%, as a recovery in the US and the low price of oil helped boost foreign sales of Japanese cars and machinery.

Australia reported healthy inflation. Consumer prices in the first quarter increased by 1.3% (paywall) compared with a year earlier, and 0.2% on a quarterly basis, which was slightly higher than expected.

Quartz obsession interlude

Grace Dobush on a ceremony that celebrates Germany’s fear of snooping. “Germans by and large are wary of surveillance in all its forms, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Big Brother Awards, which awards ‘prizes’ to organizations and individuals around the world making especially egregious use of Germans’ private personal data.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Is John Deere an innovator in the sharing economy? The company claims customers only have an “implied license” to operate its tractors.

Elon Musk should see if Google still wants to buy Tesla. The electric car company may not reach profitability without Google’s help.

Syriza, not Greece, should head for the exit. A snap election should be offered to allow Greeks the chance to place a more sensible party in power.

Pornography can be consumed ethically. But only if you pay for it.

Get rid of one-way streets. They lead to more traffic accidents, higher crime, and lower property values.

Surprising discoveries

There is a secret apartment in the Eiffel Tower. Architect Gustave Eiffel hosted friends including Thomas Edison in the sky above Paris.

Singapore’s prime minister coded a Sudoku puzzle solver. He did it in the language of C++.

Mecca will soon have a halal sex shop. Sensual oils and other items are designed to improve marital relations according to Islamic law.

Champagne used to be sweeter. Bottles from a 170-year-old shipwreck had three times as much sugar as today’s bubbly.

A Russian startup lets you broadcast a message on a woman’s cleavage. The client list includes Burger King and it’s doing very well.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, super-vintage champagne, and a link to the secret Eiffel Tower apartment on Airbnb to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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