Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
China shuts down for the Lunar New Year holiday. Officials warn of dangerous air pollution levels due to fireworks and weather conditions during the celebrations. Investors are also pulling funds out of the stock market before they close on Thursday; they remain shut until next Wednesday.
Rex Tillerson’s tough Turkey talks. The secretary of state can expect a tense meeting after president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan upped his anti-US rhetoric, promising to deliver a “Turkish slap” to those fighting against him. Turkish forces are currently fighting US-backed Kurds in Syria.
Mitt Romney could announce his Senate run. The former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate plans to run for office in Utah. Conservatives hope that Romney—likely to be elected in the Mormon-heavy state—could be a powerful Republican voice in countering Trump.
While you were sleeping
At least three victims of the Florida high school shooting are still in critical condition. A total of 15 are reportedly still in hospital after a 19-year-old former student opened fire at a high school in Parkland Florida on Wednesday, killing 17 students and teachers. It is the 18th school shooting in the US already this year.
Uber is eyeing buses and bikes. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that Uber could become a marketplace for other transport providers (paywall) in the same way that bookseller Amazon became a hub for third-parties. He said he’s not concerned that Uber’s losing money (about $4.5 billion last year) noting that it could be profitable, but that would mean sacrificing growth and innovation.
The A400M continued to drag Airbus down. The European aerospace company is delivering planes at a record rate and earnings rose in 2017. This is despite being hit by a $1.6 billion charge over its troublesome A400M military transporter, engine problems with the latest A320neo jet, and around $146 million in anti-corruption fines.
The Australian prime minister banned sex between ministers and staff. Malcolm Turnbull accused deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce of a “shocking error of judgement” after it was revealed that married Joyce had an affair with a press secretary, who’s now pregnant with his child. However, he didn’t sack Joyce.
Healthier consumers weighed on Nestlé’s profit. Weak demand in North America and Brazil dented profit for the Swiss consumer goods giant in 2017. Activist investor Third Point has been pushing Nestlé to hurry up and transform into a health food company; it’s currently in the process of selling its US candy arm to Italy’s Ferrero for $2.8 billion.
Quartz obsession interlude
Eshe Nelson on investing in companies that promote gender equality. “A demand for tangible action to make gender equality a reality is sweeping across many industries. In finance, one of the steps in this direction has been the recent creation of gender equality exchange-traded funds. These give investors the chance to actively invest in companies that champion equality.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Knee-jerk cynicism is a failure of critical reasoning. Science and humanism have solved the world’s problems before, and they can again solve the problems we face today.
Fear is good for stock markets. A healthy dose of volatility is the only thing that can shake up the US market’s longtime complacency (paywall).
PhD students need to be trained as thinkers. Doctoral programs are churning out able specialists, but are failing to produce the creative problem-solvers society needs.
Beijing’s elite prison is running out of cells. Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive means Qincheng prison can’t accomodate family visits over the Lunar New Year.
Strands of George Washington’s hair were found in a book. The locks—a common keepsake in Washington’s era—were hiding in a 1793 almanac.
Tech giants are battling over diversity “trade secrets.” IBM is suing an executive, formerly in charge of creating a more diverse workforce, who left to work for Microsoft.
There’s a dating site for gorillas. It uses complex algorithms and is now a key to survival (paywall) for the critically endangered animals.
A New York developer has to pay $6.7 million for erasing graffiti. 5Pointz, a space in Queens known as the “United Nations of graffiti,” was whitewashed, bulldozed, and turned into luxury condos.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, spray cans, and split ends of the famous 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.