Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today and this weekend
The US and Canada release job numbers. With the US unemployment rate at a 50-year-low, economists are predicting that 164,000 jobs were added in January, slower than the average monthly pace of the last two years. Canada watchers will be looking for any nudges toward a central bank rate cut in today’s job numbers.
Ireland heads to the polls. Issues like housing, pensions, health care, and the future of Brexit will be on voters’ minds when they choose a new president tomorrow. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland authorities revealed a foiled “Brexit day” bombing plot planned along the island’s internal border.
Switzerland holds a referendum on sexual orientation discrimination. The new law, passed by the Swiss parliament in 2018, would ban publicly discriminating or inciting hatred against someone on the basis of sexual orientation. A public vote on Sunday was forced by parties who were against the legislation.
The Solar Orbiter prepares for blast off. The next sun-observing spacecraft, a $1.5 billion joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency, will launch sometime during a two-hour window on Sunday.
While you were sleeping
China mourned a doctor who warned of the coronavirus outbreak. Li Wenliang, who was reprimanded by authorities for telling colleagues about a cluster of severe pneumonia cases in December, has himself died of the virus. Separately, the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship with over 3,700 people under quarantine off Japan, reported 61 confirmed cases—more than any country outside of China.
Pete Buttigieg kept a narrow lead in the Iowa caucuses. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, looks to have edged out Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in the first contest for the Democratic party nomination. However, the Associated Press said it was unable to declare a winner amid irregularities. New Hampshire will host a Democratic debate tonight, ahead of its primary next week.
The US said it has killed al-Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi in Yemen. The founder of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which claimed responsibility last year’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, was eliminated in a counter-terrorism operation, according to a White House statement.
WhatsApp Pay won approval to operate in India. The digital payment platform of the messaging app will do a phased rollout, starting with 10 million users. It could eventually dominate the country’s digital payments arena, given that WhatsApp already boasts 400 million users there.
Brazil dismissed cybercrime charges against Glenn Greenwald. The American journalist had been accused of working with hackers to release embarrassing messages from Brazilian authorities’ cellphones.
Venture capital has transformed since its early days in the 1960s, and the 2020s are sure to bring more change. From staggering industry growth to shifting relationships with founders, Quartz contributors Dave Edwards and Helen Edwards walk you through the eight trends that will reshape VC in the 2020s.
Quartz daily obsession
Stop calling species “living fossils.” A passing reference in Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species gave rise to an overly simplistic term that has way too many definitions to be scientifically meaningful. Some scientists also argue the concept deepens common misunderstandings about the way evolution works. The Quartz Daily Obsession digs up the dirt.
Matters of debate
Don’t deride people’s fears about the coronavirus. There’s still a lot we don’t know, and “no reason for alarm” is bad risk communication.
The Oscars still matter. But the winners do not.
Taxpayer-funded research should be made public. If it is in the public interest, it should be in the public domain.
Bumblebees face mass extinction. Dramatic declines of their populations in areas with rising temperatures suggest they could vanish forever in a few decades.
Astronomers photographed two stars at war. They captured an image of a dwarf star being swallowed by its swelling companion.
Alcohol gushed out of taps at an apartment building in India. About 6,000 liters (1,585 gallons) of confiscated booze had been buried nearby, seeping into the drinking water well.
A snake bit a reporter’s microphone on camera. She had a python draped around her neck for a story on snake safety when the reptile struck.
Apps could take up less space on your phone. Researchers came up with a solution to “stream” apps, so they only use space when active.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, stellar wars, and alcohol on tap to firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Mary Hui and edited by Tripti Lahiri.