Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address. The US president said he plans to unveil more details on his immigration policy. Multiple Democratic members of Congress have indicated that they do not plan to attend the event.
Pfizer kicks off big-pharma earnings reports. It’s expected to notch a strong fourth quarter (pdf), but markets await info on the upcoming sale of its consumer health business. With brands like Advil, Centrum, and Chapstick, it’s expected to fetch at least $20 billion. Meanwhile, Eli Lilly reports tomorrow and Merck on Friday.
McDonald’s reports on its turnaround. The fast-food giant has been seeing increased traffic to its outlets in recent weeks thanks to its Dollar Menu. But with visitors foregoing more expensive burgers, some owners are concerned about profit and cash flow.
While you were sleeping
France registered its strongest annual growth since 2011. Euro-zone figures released today showed the country’s economy expanded by 1.9% last year. France ended the year strong (paywall) with a solid showing in exports, production, and investment.
Ryanair agreed to recognize a pilots union for the first time. Previously the budget airline had been hostile to unions, but today it recognized the British Airline Pilots’ Association, which will represent its pilots based in the UK. Last year a pilot shortage forced Ryanair to cancel thousands of flights.
SAP bought Callidus for $2.4 billion. The German tech giant will get the startup’s sales performance management software, which should help it better compete against Salesforce and Oracle. The deal came as SAP announced 2017 results on the lower end of expectations.
Blackstone plans to buy a huge chunk of Thomson Reuters. The private-equity group is in talks to acquire a majority stake in the media company’s financial and risk business for $17 billion. The unit supplies financial data and news to banks and financial firms around the world.
Quartz obsession interlude
Echo Huang on China’s love for Bollywood actor Aamir Khan. “Deng Junyi, a sophomore from Hainan Normal Unversity in southern China, said she became a fan of Khan in high school, when she watched Three Idiots, which depicted academic pressure at an Indian engineering school and screened in China in 2011. Deng said the movie touched her because she felt China’s education system also needed to be challenged, yet she found few domestic movies touching the same topic.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Apologists for colonialism are on the rise. They argue that Western countries brought economic development, the rule of law, and liberties to their colonies.
Awards shows are worsening America’s political divide. Many viewers don’t like it when liberal-minded celebrities use awards galas as soapboxes (paywall) to air their political messages.
Paternity leave doesn’t mitigate the motherhood penalty. Mothers’ wages are still dramatically lower than those of women without children, while fathers’ pay is unaffected.
France’s Nutella riots were no joke. After customers literally fought to buy heavily discounted Nutella last week, the government is now investigating whether the promotion was an instance of product dumping.
YouTube has been hosting ads that secretly mine cryptocurrency. They used malicious code that hijacked viewers’ CPUs.
The Middle Ages weren’t really that puritanical when it came to sex. Having too little sex was also seen as a medical problem, as excessive semen retention could affect the heart and other organs.
Elon Musk is in the flamethrower business. His Boring Company has allegedly pre-sold 7,000 dangerous devices at $500 a pop.
Japanese farmers created a banana with an edible peel. The “freeze thaw awakening” technique creates a thin, soft, peel that can be eaten along with the rest of the fruit.
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