Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Obama’s oil tax, LinkedIn sinks, Parmesan cheese bonds

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What to watch for today and over the weekend

The UN backs Julian Assange. A panel is expected to conclude that the Wikileaks founder has been “arbitrarily detained” since he fled to the Ecuadorian embassy in London three years ago. If found otherwise, Assange said he would leave the embassy, into certain extradition, possibly to the US.

US jobs Friday… The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to report that the economy added fewer jobs in January than it did in December, when payrolls grew by close to 300,000. An earlier look at jobs this week suggested job growth is slowing.

…and Super Bowl Sunday. The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos face off at the 50th annual pro football championship near San Francisco. Amazon, PayPal, and alternative lender Social Finance shelled out big bucks for their first-ever Super Bowl ads.

While you were sleeping

Barack Obama is preparing a hefty tax on oil. The US president wants to add a $10-per-barrel tax, in order to fund a $300 billion investment in mass transit, self-driving cars, and other green transportation, according to Politico. The measure is expected to be announced in Obama’s budget request, next week.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated one-on-one. The US Democratic presidential hopefuls spent much of the time discussing the meaning of “progressive.” They also battled over their track records on Middle East issues, in light of the rise of ISIL.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp missed expectations. The owner of the Wall Street Journal, the Sun, and the Times said its second-quarter net income fell by more than 50% from a year earlier, to $62 million. A strong dollar and falling advertising revenue led to the decline.

China confirmed it has two more missing Hong Kong booksellers. The men are being investigated for “illegal activities,” according to a statement from Hong Kong police. That brings to three the number of bookstore staff confirmed to be in mainland China.

LinkedIn lost a third of its value. The social network site for professionals predicted lower-than-expected full-year revenue on a slowdown in ad growth and its recruitment services. The 30% drop in its share price might be an overreaction; LinkedIn typically under-promises and over-delivers on earnings.

“Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli faced the US Congress. The former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO smirked and refused to answer questions during a hearing on drug price gouging. But he opined freely on Twitter, calling the lawmakers “imbeciles.”

Barbie and My Little Pony may be shacking up. Toymakers Mattel and Hasbro have been discussing a merger, according to Bloomberg. Barbie owner Mattel lost the Disney Princess licensing rights to Hasbro, which is riding high from its line of “Star Wars” toys.

Quartz obsession interlude

Keith Collins on America’s most common injuries. A series of infographics analyzing US emergency room visits shows that sprains become less common as we age, while fractures become more common. Men visit the ER less frequently as they get older, while the inverse is true for women. See more here.

Markets haiku

In interesting times,

Boring becomes interesting

Buy utilities.

Matters of debate

Zika virus warnings are sexist. Men should be warned to practice safe sex—not just women.

Slack isn’t just for work. It makes for a fantastic way to organize your family life.

Bernie bros are hurting Bernie Sanders. The candidate’s boisterous male supporters are undermining his progressive message.

Surprising discoveries

China stole the color white from chemical company DuPont. The firm’s closely guarded titanium oxide process is used for making cosmetics, plastics, and the chalked lines on tennis courts.

Scientists have discovered a way to slow aging. Removing “retired” cells can prevent vital organs from deteriorating.

You can buy bonds backed by Parmesan cheese. They pay 5% each year until the cheese matures in 2022.

Love is just like a drug. Addiction, intoxication, withdrawal, and relapse are symptoms of both romantic infatuation and drug dependence.

A startup founder sold his shares for a bicycle. His partners each got about $36 million.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, love drugs, and cheesy bonds to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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