What to watch for today
Reaction to Iowa. Last night, in the Republican race, Ted Cruz trounced Donald Trump, taking 28% of the votes and putting the billionaire New Yorker in second at 24%. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are tied on 50% of the vote each with one district left to report. Martin O’Malley suspended his campaign.
The first draft of a new EU agreement with Britain is published. The European Council will set out its response to changes demanded by the UK, as a prerequisite to remaining part of the bloc. Demands include allowing countries to block laws and restricting some access to welfare benefits for migrants.
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.
Pfizer updates investors on a massive buyout. The US drug maker is expected to report strong fourth-quarter profits and sales, but investors might be more interested to hear about how the company’s planned $160-billion purchase of Allergan, which produces Botox, is coming along.
While you were sleeping
BP cut another chunk of its workforce. The oil major reported a fourth-quarter net income of just $196 million, contributing to the worst annual loss in 20 years. Costs from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as well as low oil prices, dented BP’s performance; it cut 7,000 jobs.
China threw its property market a bone. The central bank announced that first-time buyers will now only need put down a 20% deposit on a new home, compared with 25% earlier. The property market is a major driver in China; renewed activity there might breathe life into the country’s slowing economy.
WhatsApp reached a 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.
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. Salleh Said Keruak, Malaysia’s communications minister, lashed out against a recent Swiss report that alleged billions of dollars were misappropriated.
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.
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.