Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Missing EgyptAir flight, China’s soccer ambitions, new dinosaurs

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What to watch for today

Turkey is on high alert for terror attacks. The US embassy in Ankara is warning American citizens in the country that it is aware of heightened security threats during the “Ataturk Memorial Youth and Sports” holiday.

A Nigerian girl rescued from Boko Haram will meet with Nigeria’s president. Nineteen-year-old Amina Ali Nkeki will meet with Muhammadu Buhari and potentially shed light on the whereabouts of 219 schoolchildren kidnapped by the terrorist group. Nkeki was found wandering in the Sambisa Forest this week. 

Shaky earnings from US retailers. Walmart is expected to post a 2% decline in quarterly sales, as it struggles to compete with Amazon. Meanwhile, Gap’s earnings are expected to be terrible, and its CEO said it would be “delusional” not to consider selling its clothes on Amazon.

While you were sleeping

A flight from Paris to Cairo disappeared with 66 on board. EgyptAir flight MS804 dropped off of radar about three hours after takeoff, over the Mediterranean Sea around 175 miles from the Egyptian coast. On the flight were 30 passengers from Egypt, 15 from France, two from Iraq, and others from the UK, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria, and Canada.

A Chinese magnate is buying the Aston Villa soccer team. Recon Group chairman Xia Jiantong will reportedly pay $88 million to become the first mainland Chinese investor to own an English soccer team outright. China’s global soccer ambitions were bolstered recently by a consortium’s bid for Italian club AC Milan, as well as China Media Capital’s $400 million purchase of a stake in Manchester City last December.

Bayer made a play for Monsanto. Agricultural giant Monsanto said it was considering a takeover offer from the German chemicals group but disclosed no details. Bayer’s move—sure to be rigorously examined by regulators—is one of a series of deals in the agribusiness sector recently, including the $130 billion Dow-DuPont merger announced at the end of last year.  

Chinese jets intercepted a US military plane. The “unsafe” maneuver by two Chinese fighter planes took place during a US patrol in international airspace over the South China Sea on Tuesday, according to the Pentagon. It is the latest incident in an increasingly tense situation in the disputed area.  

Theranos voided two years of test results. The blood-testing company sent out “tens of thousands” of notices (paywall) to doctors and patients revising or invalidating tests, the Wall Street Journal reported. They include all results from Theranos’s Edison machine, which the company once claimed could detect a range of diseases from a single drop of blood.

Quartz obsession interlude

Chase Purdy on why Chinese consumers are ditching junk food for healthier options: “Only 51% of consumers in China said they ate Western fast food in 2015… a drop from the 67% who said they consumed fast food in 2012. They have since shifted to healthier, more environmentally-friendly brands.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

“Plus size” clothing is a meaningless, off-putting distinction. The term is alienating to women who don’t want to shop in a separate category.

We need Paris-style global talks to fix the world food system. Some 20% of food now crosses an international border.

Apple is a victim of rising expectations. It’s why you loved your iPhone at first but hate it now.

Surprising discoveries

A novice fossil collector found a new kind of dinosaur. “Judith,” found in Montana, is a horned dinosaur related to the Triceratops that lived 76 million years ago.

In medieval France, your sex life was everyone’s business. A husband’s inability to perform was considered a larcenous act.

Netflix built a massive operation to interpret Chelsea Handler’s dirty jokes. Her new talk show has 200 linguists to translate Handler’s profanity-laced humor.

Tim Cook wants to sell iPhones in India so badly he prayed to an elephant-headed god. Ganesha is revered as the remover of obstacles.

A 1.1-mile pizza set a new record in Naples. The massively long margherita beat the previous record by more than 800 feet.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dirty jokes, and industrial-strength indigestion medicine to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.