What to watch for today
Intense rescue and rebuilding efforts in the wake of the major earthquake that hit Nepal. The death toll from Saturday’s disaster now exceeds 2,500, and hundreds of thousands of people slept outdoors amid fears of further aftershocks and widespread destruction of homes. Estimates have hundreds of people still stranded on the slopes of Mount Everest.
An Apple profit jump on strong iPhone sales in China. Among the questions facing the US tech company when it reports quarterly earnings: When are more share buybacks coming? How much did bigger-screen iPhones boost China sales? Will iPad purchases stop shrinking?
Abe in America. Prime minister Shinzo Abe visits Washington as the US and Japan sign an expanded defense accord and work to finalize a major trade pact. Abe on Wednesday becomes the first Japanese leader since World War II to address a joint session of congress—and critics are alert for any sign he’s downplaying Japanese wartime atrocities.
CEOs, politicians, and financiers headline “Davos with palm trees.” Sessions at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg interviewing three former US treasury secretaries.
Snow and hail in the United Kingdom. Scotland, Northern Ireland, and parts of England are forecast to see snow, as an arctic air mass brings unseasonably cold weather.
Over the weekend
Volkswagen’s chairman stepped down suddenly. The German auto giant announced that Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of its supervisory board, had resigned suddenly following public criticism of management and clashes with fellow board members.
Nigeria and South Africa engaged in a diplomatic row. Nigeria recalled its ambassador following attacks on foreigners in South Africa that have resulted in at least seven deaths. South Africa in response asserted that ”relative calm and order has been restored” and said it hasn’t blamed Nigeria for the deaths of its citizens at the hands of Boko Haram.
Obama entertained the White House press corps and its many guests. The US president poked fun at himself and politicians including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the annual correspondents dinner. You can read his best jokes here.
Discussions over a Greek bailout remained fraught. European officials are now seeking to bypass Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis in negotiations over Greece’s dire financial straits, according to the Financial Times.
Kenyan men took the three top spots in the London marathon. Eliud Kipchoge pulled off an upset win over two elite countrymen, winning by a five-second margin. Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa won the women’s race.
Quartz obsession interlude
Marc Bain on how history and science support the fashion industry’s recent embrace of gender-neutral clothes. “The rules that govern what men and women should wear are actually fairly arbitrary. We know that because they keep changing. In fact, men and women in Europe and other cultures wore more or less the same garments for centuries.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Drones are the safest form of war in history. Bombing and shelling are far worse in terms of civilian casualties.
The Apple Watch may be the most annoying gadget ever. It’s cutting-edge conspicuous consumption, and user distraction.
Weird workers are an asset. Fostering quirkiness among staff increases creativity and collegiality.
A 65-million-year-old dinosaur skull is for sale in Hong Kong. The triceratops fossil, originally discovered in Montana, is expected to fetch at least $1.8 million.
US spies have produced a “fun book” for kids. Characters in the National Security Agency’s Cryptokids coloring and puzzle book include Crypto Cat and Decipher Dog.