Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Will Jacob Zuma finally go? The South African president defied the African National Congress’s demand to resign within 48 hours yesterday, reportedly demanding a three-month “notice period.” The ANC decided Tuesday morning to sack the scandal-plagued Zuma, so watch this space.
Has Blue Apron found a recipe for success? It’s unlikely—analysts expect the meal kit company’s quarterly report to reveal a drop in revenue from the same period a year ago. Its stock is down around 65% since its IPO in June.
Big Soda earnings season kicks off. PepsiCo’s fourth-quarter earnings will give Wall Street an indication of how the industry is doing as it pivots from sugary drinks (paywall) and towards LaCroix-loving millennials. Coca-Cola reports later this week.
While you were sleeping
General Motors announced a plant closure in South Korea. The auto giant will shut down its factory in Gunsan, one of four in the country. It’s the latest step in the company’s global downsizing (paywall) under CEO Mary Barra. In terms of global vehicle sales, GM is now in fourth place behind VW, Toyota, and Nissan.
Gucci out-glammed Hermès. The Italian fashion brand delivered some runway-ready results for its owner Kering, with sales up 45% in the fourth quarter. Gucci’s revenue last year hit $7.6 billion—versus $6.7 billion at Hermès. Kering’s millennial-focused reboot is paying off, with under-35s accounting for 85% of its growth last year.
By 2019, the US could be world’s largest oil producer. The International Energy Agency said that US crude output will soon overtake Saudi Arabia (paywall) and Russia. The oil crash forced US oil firms to tighten their belts, but the IEA said that producers are now “enjoying a second wave of growth.”
UK inflation held steady at 3%. A fall in gasoline prices offset the rise in the cost of recreational cultural goods and services—like entry prices to zoos and gardens—which kept the cost of living up.
The worst storm in 60 years devastated Tonga. Cyclone Gita hit the archipelago nation in the South Pacific with 145-mph winds. The storm flattened parts of the parliament building, knocked over power lines, and caused widespread injuries. It’s set to strike Fiji next.
Quartz obsession interlude
Sriram Iyer on the rise and fall of India’s Singh brothers. “Ranbaxy in some ways embodied the success of India’s generic drugs industry. Valued at $4.6 billion at the time of its sale in 2008, the company was not just a Singh family jewel, it was India’s moment of reckoning on the global pharma stage.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
China is cramping innovation for its tech giants. If Beijing keeps overruling the desires of customers and shareholders, its companies will struggle.
The Jesus we’ve inherited from Christian art is a lie. His appearance would have had much to do with what he was wearing—and accounts suggest that he was “shamefully” shabby.
Our climate-change targets are dangerous. Not only is limiting warming to near pre-industrial levels unattainable, it also gets in the way of better solutions (paywall).
Goats will work as golf caddies in Oregon. Tee-toting goats may be a fun idea, but critics say the wilful animals may leave golfers with bruises.
The US busted a fishing mogul known as “the Codfather.” Carlos Rafael misclassified fish like cod (paywall), which are subject to strict overfishing quotas.
Chinese prisoners will be granted temporary freedom for Lunar New Year. Some 1,300 will be fitted with tracking devices and allowed to go home for a few days.
Iceland will use more electricity mining cryptocurrencies than powering homes this year. The country’s cheap, abundant renewable energy is a boon for bitcoin miners.
Swedes are literally skating on thin ice. “Wild ice” skaters seek out precarious black ice, which is only a few dozen millimeters thick and emits laser-like sounds as weight passes over it.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ice skates, and goat caddies to email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Jill Petzinger and edited by Lianna Brinded.