Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—iPhone slowdown, Oregon militia arrest, antimicrobial beards

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What to watch for today

John Kerry meets Xi Jinping. The US secretary of state will meet with China’s president in Beijing to argue that China is not doing enough to rein in North Korea, after Pyongyang tested a nuclear weapon earlier this month. Kerry is also expected to discuss controversies over the South China Sea.

HSBC mulls moving its HQ to Hong Kong. The bank’s board will hold a two-day meeting about switching its corporate base from London. The proposal has been overshadowed by recent worries about whether Beijing may be undermining Hong Kong’s legal autonomy.

Fed policymakers regroup. Analysts will be watching for the US central bank’s reaction to recent financial market volatility, at the conclusion of a two-day meeting. But don’t expect any signals on when it might raise rates again (paywall).

Facebook looks for new growth. Investors will want updates on the company’s fast-growing app businesses. The Facebook-owned WhatsApp, for example, recently became free to use and positioned itself as a tool for businesses.

While you were sleeping

Apple forecast its first sales dip in over 10 years. The company said it expects revenue for the current quarter to be no more than $53 billion, down from $58 billion a year earlier, its first year-on-year drop in 13 years. Apple also sold fewer iPhones than analysts expected in its fiscal first quarter, but set a record for quarterly net income.

Coach squeezed a sales bump out of China. The US luxury handbag maker reported a 4.5% year-on-year increase in fiscal second-quarter sales to $1.3 billion. That was helped by a double-digit increase in sales in mainland China, something few luxury retailers have been able to pull off of late.

Oregon police arrested the leader of an armed occupation. Ammon Bundy, the head of a self-styled militia that occupied a wildlife refuge earlier this month, has been detained following a shootout that left one protestor dead. Six others were arrested, but several other activists remain in the refuge.

Instagram hired a recently departed Twitter chief. Kevin Weil, former head of product at the micro-blogging service, has accepted a similar position at the Facebook-owned photo sharing app, according to Bloomberg. Weil was one of four executives to quit Twitter suddenly on Sunday (Jan. 24).

Toyota denied it is planning a Suzuki tie-up. The Japanese automaker refuted a report in the Nikkei that it was discussing joining forces with its peer. The newspaper claimed the companies plan to share knowledge to capitalize on emerging markets.

Quartz obsession interlude

Corinne Purtill on why powerful people are terrible at cooperating. “The very traits that compel people toward leadership roles can be obstacles when it comes to collaboration. The result, according to a new study, is that high-powered individuals working in a group can be less creative and effective than a lower-wattage team.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Cash transfers to the poor have one big downside. They make the neighbors miserable.

Calories are broken. Despite the advice of experts, measuring them doesn’t work for dieters.

Millennial women are abandoning the formal economy. That makes companies less diverse, and robs women of leadership skills.

Surprising discoveries

Weight Watchers stock moves in the opposite direction of Oprah’s weight. After the billionaire spokeswoman lost 26 lbs (12 kg), shares surged 22%.

A UK celebrity photographer sold a portrait of a potato for $1 million. The deal was sealed over dinner.

Beards may help fight disease. Microbes found in facial hair kill bacteria, in a fashion similar to penicillin.

Today’s Disney princesses talk less than before. Female dialogue has dropped drastically from Cinderella to Frozen.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, weight-loss tips, and photogenic potatoes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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