Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—China’s growth slows, Seoul sues VW, a mirror universe

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

Netflix reports fourth-quarter earnings… The global leader in streaming television—now available nearly everywhere on Earth—finished 2015 as one of the year’s best stocks. In 2016, some are skeptical that it can hit subscriber growth expectations.

…As does Morgan Stanley. The US bank is expected to show that earnings fell compared to the same period a year earlier, on weak trading revenue. That would be despite a record year for deal-making.

The IMF forecasts the health of the global economy. Leading up the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the International Monetary Fund releases its World Economic Outlook. Many expect the organization to paint a pretty bleak picture.

While you were sleeping

China published its slowest GDP growth in 25 years. It sank to 6.9% in 2015, from 7.3% a year earlier, as the economy continues to cool off from a 30-year boom. The low figure was in line with expectations, but reiterates the country’s need to develop a strong service sector.

South Korea announced plans to sue Volkswagen. The environment ministry said it is preparing to file a criminal complaint against Johannes Thammer, managing director of Audi Volkswagen Korea. It says the German automaker’s recall plan failed to satisfy South Korean legal requirements.

Tech companies came under fresh accusations of using child labor. Apple, Samsung, and other gadget makers were criticized for failing to make basic checks on whether children were used to mine cobalt for the batteries used to power devices. The accusations were made by human rights charity Amnesty International.

Reliance Jio announced a $2.2 billion share sale. The wireless carrier led by India’s richest man will sell 15 billion shares at 10 rupees ($0.15) each, to better compete with Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest carrier. It did not reveal how it plans to spend the money.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zheping Huang on how a crackdown on Hong Kong booksellers reflects deep divides in China’s Communist Party. ”That’s because Hong Kong’s ‘banned books’ market serves as a place for the 85 million member strong party, one of the world’s largest and most powerful, to air its dirty laundry. Xi has eliminated some of his most powerful rivals since taking power in 2013, but warring factions inside the party remain, and Hong Kong is serving as their battle ground.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’s time to rethink the Geneva refugee convention. Technology and trafficking have changed how migration works.

France is in an economic state of emergency. The solution is to spend a few billion euros.

It shouldn’t be left to the consumer to shop ethically. Sustainable principles can be built into the supply chain.

Surprising discoveries

The floodlights at one Lagos soccer field are partially foot-powered. A mixture of kinetic and solar energy keeps them on

There’s a mirror universe where time moves backwards. People in that universe would think that time in our universe is moving backwards.

People trust Google News more than actual news. Even though it’s the same news.

Turkmenistan has banned the sale of tobacco. Black market cigarettes now go for $12 per pack.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, banned books, and mirror universes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.