Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Obama on gun control, Kuwait recalls Iranian ambassador, 19th-century Tinder

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What to watch for today

Barack Obama talks about new gun-control measures… After meeting his attorney general on Monday, the US president will set out plans to require all gun sellers to be licensed, as well as increase spending on gun safety research and mental health care, according to proposals published online. Republicans have already vowed to undo the executive order.

…while a potential successor seeks to reform Wall Street. Bernie Sanders, the main Democratic challenger to Hillary Clinton, will give a “major address” on financial policy. The Clinton camp has already launched an attack on Sanders’s proposals.

In Britain, to toe the party line or not? Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will reshuffle his shadow cabinet today; reports suggest he has backed down on plans to make a purge of MPs that opposed his policies. Separately, to prevent splits in his own party, prime minister David Cameron will say his ministers can campaign to stay or leave the EU during the upcoming referendum.

US auto sales may break a record. Sales in 2015 are expected to beat the previous record of 17.4 million cars and trucks, set in 2000, once the December figures come in. Sales have been boosted by lower gas prices, more credit, and a stronger job market.

While you were sleeping

Global stock markets calmed down. The Shanghai Composite Index ended the day down by just 0.3%, a much calmer result than was seen on Monday, thanks in part to an emergency cash injection from the central bank (paywall). European and US markets are looking up, too.

Kuwait recalled its ambassador from Iran. The announcement is the latest in an unfolding regional row that escalated with Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shiite cleric over the weekend. Separately, Turkey and the UN have appealed for calm between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Euro-zone inflation disappointed. Preliminary results showed consumer prices rose by 0.2% in December last year, below expectations of a 0.4% rise and unchanged from November’s rate. That means yet more pressure on the European Central Bank despite announcing more easing last month.

A Chinese property company bought a major US movie company. Dalian Wanda has agreed to buy Legendary Entertainment, the production company behind The Dark Knight and other US blockbusters, according to Reuters. Wanda, which has been snapping up sports and entertainment assets, valued Legendary at up to $4 billion.

Activision Blizzard bought into e-gaming. The computer game maker behind Guitar Hero agreed to pay an undisclosed sum for Major League Gaming, a pioneer in online gaming tournaments. The deal is part of an industry rush to invest in the rising popularity of streaming online games.

Manhattan property prices topped their 2008 peak. The median value of a condominium sold in the borough in the fourth quarter last year was $1.2 million, up from $1 million in 2008. The increase was due largely to a rush of sales on luxury apartments.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why everything is terrible in 2016. ”A key gauge of Chinese manufacturing continued to show the industrial sector contracting, the 10th straight month of shrinkage. But perhaps more troubling, in the US, an important measure of manufacturing activity stayed in negative territory for the second straight month, adding evidence to the idea that the US industrial sector is weakening.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

NASA has a secret mission on Mars. The search for aliens could reveal surprising clues to our own existence.

Nigeria’s government is winning the battle against Boko Haram. But its misconceptions over the group’s goals means it’s losing the war.

Vacations with toddlers are incredibly boring. Parents, unlike their childless friends, dread weekends, vacations, and days off.

Surprising discoveries

Facebook repeatedly crashed its Android app on purpose. It wanted to test the loyalty of its users.

The 19th century had an ink-and-paper version of Tinder. Americans used cheeky joke cards to flirt.

Meet the man with the world record for most valid credit cards. Perhaps not coincidentally, he’s also the owner of the world’s longest wallet.

A Nigerian comics startup is creating African superheroes. Characters include Guardian Prime, a fashion designer with extraordinary strength.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, wallet extensions, and Facebook crash stories to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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