Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Oil output frozen, Taylor bashes Kanye, Seasonal Affective Disorder debunked

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What to watch for today

David Cameron is back in Brussels. The British prime minister will meet with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, to discuss his proposed demands for EU reform. That’s ahead of Thursday’s key summit of EU leaders.

Burger King opens its books. Restaurant Brands International, the owner of the fast-food chain, is expected to show lower fourth-quarter revenue, due in part to the recent success of McDonald’s. But lower costs should keep profits in line.

A tough call for Express Scripts. The US pharmaceutical giant is expected to report a healthy increase in fourth-quarter profit. But investors will want to know how it plans on dealing with a major customer’s demands for lower costs in the year ahead.

While you were sleeping

Russia rejected accusations of Syrian war crimes. The country ”categorically rejects” any such accusation, after yesterday’s attack on two schools and two hospitals, in which up to 50 people were killed. France and Turkey blamed Syrian and Russian forces and accused them of war crimes.

Four major oil producers agreed an output freeze. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela will cap production of crude oil at January levels, they said after a meeting in Doha. That could soak up some of the global excess, leading to higher prices. Oil rose slightly on the news.

Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar won big at the Grammys. Lamar performed a “controversial” set, and the US rapper went home with five awards—the most of anyone else yesterday evening. Swift’s 1989 won Best Album and she blasted Kanye West in her acceptance speech.

The Bank of Japan’s negative interest rates went into effect. Other institutions will now be charged 0.1% for keeping cash with the central bank, to encourage them to lend the money instead. Stock markets rose briefly on the news, but quickly reversed.

Vodafone announced a joint venture with Liberty. The UK network operator and the US cable company will combine their Dutch businesses to create an all-in-one cellphone and cable company. Vodafone will pay Liberty €1 billion ($1.2 billion); the company will be owned 50-50 between the businesses.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jenni Avins on the small-business practices of fashion designer Mona Kowalska. “In a culture where the pressure to produce bigger! faster! more! is relentless, Kowalska purposefully keeps her business at a size that’s manageable for her—and her management style is one many of us could learn from.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Young US black voters are turning their back on politics. They prefer protest and other ways to bring about change.

It’s time to talk about period pain. It’s painfully under-researched—and a culture of silence is making it worse.

Dear Brits, please don’t leave the EU. You’re difficult partners, but Europe loves and admires you all the same.

Surprising discoveries

There’s no such thing as SAD. New research suggests Seasonal Affective Disorder is simply a “well­-entrenched folk theory.”

Kanye West is $53 million in debt. Or so he tweets. The musician also asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for a $1 billion investment.

Scientists have printed bone, muscle, and ear tissue. They used a 3D printer to lay down water-based solutions that contain human cells.

McDonald’s in South Korea will soon serve draft beer. The first branch in Asia to do so will open this month.

Australian police seized liquid meth worth almost $1 billion. Much of it was smuggled in bra padding.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, 3D-printed bones, and Kanye-inspired business plans to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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