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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Sudan peace talks, Netanyahu’s possible shift, Indigo Montoya problems

By Steve LeVine
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

How many new Lumias did Nokia sell? The struggling mobile-phone maker’s fourth-quarter earnings are expected to show something of a comeback with strong holiday sales of Lumia smartphones, but it’s not yet clear how many of those were its recent, much-vaunted Windows 8 model—the key to any possible recovery against its rivals Apple and Samsung.

Confirmation hearings for US secretary of state. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will question John Kerry, Barack Obama’s nominee, who is expected to be easily confirmed.

Sudan and South Sudan try to get the oil flowing. Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir failed on Jan. 21 to bridge their differences and get 350,000 barrels a day of oil flowing to the market. They are to meet again in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

David Headley to be sentenced for Mumbai massacre. A US judge will sentence the Pakistani-American found guilty of the 2008 terrorist attack, in which more than 160 people died. Prosecutors are seeking a 35-year sentence.

While you were sleeping

Apple reports a record hoard of cash. The company’s earnings and sales for the fourth quarter were roughly in line with expectations, but just below the median of all forecasts, so Apple’s stock dove 6% in after-market trading. However, the company reported cash of $137 billion, almost a third of its stock market capitalization. The one blot: Sales of desktop and laptop computers are down 21% year-on-year.

Binyamin Netanyahu may be pushed to the center. A nearly complete vote count confirms the backlash that Israeli’s prime minister has received from centrist voters. With his party’s parliamentary position weakened, Netanyahu will have to find a compromise between right and left to form a coalition.

Cameron rattled the EU. British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the UK will hold a referendum on whether to stay in the already-embattled EU, and if so under what terms. But European leaders know the threat of leaving is a bluff.

The US avoided another fiscal showdown—for now. The Republicans controlled House of Representatives passed a bill to delay the debt ceiling to May and keep the government running through late March. But getting a further fiscal agreement still won’t be easy.

Three people were charged with distributing a computer virus. The US Justice Department charged a Russian, a Latvian and a Romanian for their roles in distributing the Gozi virus, which infected more than 1 million computers.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on how Apple is being creamed by an upstart competitor in China. “Where Coolpad seems to succeed is making phones that are good enough for China’s newly affluent who are still not all that wealthy. Average disposable income in 2012 was 24, 565 yuan a year (about $4,000) for urban Chinese residents, the bulk of smartphone buyers. The Coolpad starts at 658 yuan while Apple’s iPhones start at 3,088 yuan.”

Matters of debate

How will the global economy do this year? The IMF updates its outlook.

Commodity-driven expansion may not a BRIC make. At least in Brazil’s case (and let’s not forget Russia).

Israel’s election is the “whitest” ever… And six other takeaways from the recent ballot.

…but it wasn’t actually a vote for moderation. The right is still dominant.

In praise of the language police. Why in the world of the internet, we need editors more than ever.

Surprising discoveries

Your garden is a potential war zone. British allotment gardeners are increasingly sabotaging each others’ patches and burning down greenhouses.

Don’t time your workers’ bathroom breaks. If you do it in China, you may have a revolt on your hands.

How long will 27 tonnes of goat cheese burn? Long enough to close a Norwegian tunnel for six days.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and ideas for where to safely wear an Indigo Montoya t-shirt to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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