Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Iowa results, Alphabet earnings, social media insomnia

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What to watch for today

Dilma Rousseff faces the music. The Brazilian president gives her annual speech to lawmakers, many of whom want her impeached for her involvement in a corruption scandal. Opposition to Rousseff lost some steam during a six-week recess, but if the economy continues its downward spiral, she may find herself in hot water again.

Yet another turnaround at Yahoo. CEO Marissa Mayer is expected to cut up to 15% of the workforce during a quarterly results call. Mayer is still mulling what to do with the internet giant, after it failed to spin off its stake in Alibaba.

A massive, runaway cargo ship could crash into France. French authorities are attempting a dangerous rescue operation to stop the unmanned, listing ship from careering into a scenic resort in country’s southwest. If they can’t save it, it will run aground by this evening.

While you were sleeping

Ted Cruz trounced Trump in Iowa. The Texas senator took 28% of the votes, putting billionaire Donald Trump second at 24%, with 99% of the ballot counted. Florida senator Marco Rubio did better than expected, claiming 23%. Cruz probably won thanks to Iowa’s strong Christian demographic.

Alphabet reported earnings. Google’s parent reported a fourth-quarter net income of $4.9 billion, up from $4.7 billion a year earlier, and overtook Apple as the world’s most valuable company.

The Zika virus was declared a global health emergency. The World Health Organization raised its highest alarm—for only the fourth time ever—over the mosquito-borne virus, which has been linked to severe neurological birth defects in Brazil. The WHO cannot enforce any trade or travel restrictions, but it will help coordinate measures to limit Zika’s spread.

Singapore seized bank accounts over Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal. The city-state’s Monetary Authority said it is actively investigating potential money laundering cases dating back to mid-2015 and has frozen a “large number” of bank accounts. Its investigation focuses on “several” financial institutions, a statement said.

Syria peace talks got under way. The UN announced the start of discussions in Geneva, even as the Syrian government and its Russian allies launched a major offensive north of Aleppo. Rebel groups won’t talk directly with the Syrian government, but will instead communicate via UN negotiators.

WhatsApp reached 1 billion users. The Facebook-owned messaging service now needs to decide how to make money, as per Mark Zuckerberg’s original promise. The app recently dropped its $0.99-per-year fee, and introduced a plan to bring more brands onto the platform.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on a new twist in the global rum war. “As the US and Cuba press ahead with their plans to normalize relations, a global intellectual-property dispute between the booze conglomerates Pernod Ricard and Bacardi—a conflict that has its origins in the Cuban revolution—is breaking out once again. At issue are the rights to the Havana Club rum brand, which have been carved up for close to 20 years.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

For a healthier diet, eat like your great-great-grandmother. What worked for your ancestors—whether rice or potatoes—will likely be best for you.

Imposter syndrome is a predictor of success. If you feel like a fraud, you’re probably on the right track.

The global economy is paying the price for America’s big bet on oil. And it may mean that some petroleum stays in the ground forever.

Surprising discoveries

Social media may cause insomnia. People who spend more hours on Facebook and other networks report fewer hours of shut-eye.

Sparkling water isn’t great for your teeth. Even unflavored varieties contain carbonic acid, which slowly erodes tooth enamel.

Amsterdam has a “night mayor”… If a city doesn’t sleep at night, why should its public officials?

…and Dutch police are training eagles to attack drones. It’s a low-tech solution that may be dangerous for the eagles.

Uber is arming drivers with confusing kid toys. The idea is to distract drunk passengers.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tooth-friendly bubbly water, and anti-drone eagles to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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