Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—China’s growth slows, Twitter is down, trusting Google News

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What to watch for today

Twitter is suffering an outage. Users in Europe and Africa reported problems accessing the micro-blogging service from around 3am ET. Twitter confirmed that it was aware of an issue, somewhat unhelpfully via a tweet; it is unclear how many users have been affected.

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

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.

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.

GM bought a ride-hailing app. The Detroit auto maker purchased ”the technology and most of the assets” of Sidecar, the company that pioneered using smartphones to hail cars, according to Bloomberg. That follows a $500 million investment in Lyft.

Tech companies came under fresh accusations of using child labor. Apple, Samsung, and other gadget makers were criticized for allegedly 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.

Libya finally agreed a unity government. The 32-member Unity Presidential Council includes representatives from both of the country’s rival parliaments as well as other political factions. It is hoped that the government can end a power vacuum that has existed since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Unilever reported a fall in profits. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company posted a $5.3 billion net profit for 2015 (paywall), down 5% from a year earlier. CEO Paul Polmam added that market volatility will increase throughout the year ahead.

Renault announced a 15,000-car recall. An investigation discovered that the vehicles’ pollution filtering systems failed to work properly in weather that was either “very hot,” or below 17°C (63°F). Renault’s offices were raided last week as part of an emissions investigation.

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, of course, 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.

Chris Christie “doesn’t care” what’s in kids’ school lunches. The US Republican presidential candidate made the bold statement to an 11-year-old in Iowa.

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.

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