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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Oregon militia shootout, Facebook reports earnings, Israeli spying vultures

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

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 island-building in the South China Sea.

The Federal Reserve regroups. 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).

How will Apple shareholders react to its sales forecast? Investors get their first chance to move the stock after Apple’s announcement yesterday evening that it expects revenue for the current quarter to decline annually for the first time in 13 years.

Facebook looks for new growth. During its earnings call today, 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.

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 fears over Britain leaving the European Union and recent worries about whether Beijing may be undermining Hong Kong’s legal autonomy.

While you were sleeping

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.

European banks posted a profit wipeout. Spain’s Santander, Europe’s largest lender by market value, published a fourth-quarter net income of just €25 million ($27.2 million), down by 98% from a year earlier, after booking €1.7 billion in charges. Meanwhile, the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland—mostly state-owned since the 2008 financial crisis—said it would make its eighth consecutive year of  losses after more writedowns.

France’s justice minister resigned over new constitutional powers. Christiane Taubira disagreed with a key proposal—to strip dual-nationals convicted of terror offenses of their French citizenship. The new measures will also give more permanent powers to the police.

Donald Trump threatened to boycott the final debate. The US Republican presidential candidate said he would not attend tomorrow night’s contest in Iowa, after taking offense with a press release published by the television channel.

Lyft agreed a $12.3-million settlement with its drivers. The US ride-hailing app will also end a policy that allows it to terminate drivers at will, after some drivers demanded to be treated as employees. The settlement may offer a clue to how Uber, the industry leader, deals with a similar court case this summer.

Ericsson reported a better-than-expected profit. The Swedish telecom equipment maker posted a fourth-quarter operating profit of 11 billion krona ($1.3 billion), up from 6.3 billion krona a year earlier. A rebound in 4G spending in China helped, as did a one-off settlement from Apple.

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).

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

The world’s new tax haven is the US. ”Some are calling it the new Switzerland.”

The Zika virus is a warning from our dystopian climate future. Nothing illustrates the effects of climate change more than the spread of dangerous mosquitoes.

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

Surprising discoveries

Not following your calling comes with a health risk. People who put off their sense of mission report greater physical and psychological issues.

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

Lebanon captured an Israeli vulture for spying. “In the 21st century, we expect people to understand that wild animals are not harmful,” its sanctuary said.

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

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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