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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—American immigration, Egypt emergency, Japan’s taxes, Blankfein’s beard

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

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Is Yahoo turning the corner? The internet company reports its second set of quarterly earnings since Marissa Mayer became CEO, marking the beginning of the end of the former Google exec’s honeymoon period. Analysts are looking for signs that Mayer is starting to drive revenue growth and answer the question “What is Yahoo actually for?

America takes a first step towards immigration reform. A group of senators proposes a blueprint for immigration reform that would clear a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal migrants as well as tighten US borders. President Obama  announces his own plans on immigration on Jan. 29.

Caterpillar shrugs off the Siwei fiasco. The heavy-machinery maker’s earnings will take a knock from its discovery that managers at Siwei, part of a Chinese firm it bought last year, had cooked the books. Caterpillar’s damage should be limited to a $580 million charge. Still, here are three questions we think Caterpillar should answer today.

Over the weekend

A nightclub fire killed at least 233 people in Brazil. A flare used during a band’s performance set the nightclub in Santa Maria ablaze, causing a stampede for the exits; most died of smoke inhalation.

Huawei now sells more smartphones than Nokia and RIM. The Chinese firm, a relative latecomer to the consumer market, is now behind only Samsung and Apple in the market.

Malian and French forces take Timbuktu airport. Troops met with no resistance as they marched to Timbuktu airport two days after regaining Gao, another key city in the north of the country. Islamist militants took control of Mali’s desert regions in a coup last year.

Toyota is back on top. The Japanese carmaker sold 9.75 million units in 2012, reclaiming its no. 1 rank from General Motors, by nearly half a million vehicles.

Egypt declared a state of emergency. President Mohammed Morsi has declared a state of emergency in three Egyptian cities. A total of 49 people have been killed since Jan. 25, the two-year anniversary of the start of a revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on the UK’s paradoxical economy. “Which is more trustworthy: the UK’s GDP data … or its employment numbers? On the one hand we have GDP, which fell 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2012, leading to fears of a triple-dip recession. But the UK also added an impressive 513,000 jobs in 2012, and unemployment has been falling steadily for over a year. So either the economy is atrophying and jobs growth is merely an outlier—or people are getting jobs, collecting wages and then doing something with their money that the macro data aren’t capturing.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t assume the US Congress will do the right thing. The US budgetary “sequester,” 1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, might actually go into effect.

What’s the point of India’s fast-track courts? They may expedite politically sensitive cases like the Delhi gang-rape trial, but they don’t fix the creaking justice system.

Marxism is relevant again. A generation disillusioned with capitalism is increasingly turning to it for answers.

What climate change, epilepsy and financial crises have in common. Some basic mathematical principles can give early warning of drastic changes.

Surprising discoveries

Chinese graduates are getting picky. They don’t want factory jobs any more.

Russian doctors are becoming rich. Thousands of them have become millionaires—well, ruble millionaires, anyway—thanks to government grants enticing them to move to rural areas.

Silvio Berlusconi says things he shouldn’t (not all that surprising). The former Italian prime minister suggested—at a Holocaust event, no less—that Mussolini was a pretty good ruler except for the whole “racial laws” thing.

Don’t come to Britain, it’s rainy and the jobs are bad. British ministers are considering running negative ads about their country in Bulgaria and Romania, to deter immigrant job-seekers.

What it means that Lloyd Blankfein has grown a beard. And some other beards the Goldman Sachs chairman could consider growing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, economic paradoxes, and beard ideas to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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