Weinstein jury, antibiotics shortage, bomb-sniffing bugs

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Walmart reports. The corporate behemoth, considered a bellwether of US retail, is expected to post a rise in fourth quarter earnings, while analysts wonder whether a shorter holiday shopping season hurt till receipts.

The jury in Harvey Weinstein’s trial begins deliberations in New York. The movie mogul could face life in prison if he is found guilty of two of the five counts against him of “predatory sexual assault.”

The 40th Brit Awards take place. Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi is expected to take top prizes at the prestigious British music industry bash, while Billie Eilish performs the new Bond theme.

While you were sleeping

HSBC profits tanked, and layoffs are coming. Europe’s largest bank reported a 33% decline in earnings last year, mostly due to $7.3 billion in write-offs. It also announced radical cost cutting measures that include 35,000 job losses.

A European business group warned of a global antibiotics shortage. The president of the EU’s chamber of commerce said the coronavirus outbreak was hampering supplies in China, which is a major manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Meanwhile, China waived tariffs on certain US medical imports. Patient monitors and blood transfusion equipment will be among new goods able to enter China duty free as the country struggles with shortages amid the coronavirus crisis.

Apple’s coronavirus warning weighed down global stocks. Shares dropped across Asia and Europe after the tech giant said it would not meet its quarterly revenue forecast, because the virus has restricted iPhone supply and weakened Chinese demand.

SoftBank has reportedly sunk $2.5 billion into Vision Fund 2. According to Reuters, the Japanese conglomerate is looking to build up a portfolio that investors feel comfortable enough to participate in, following mounting losses in technology companies like Uber and WeWork.

Quartz membership

B Corps are meant to exemplify one idea: that we need to transform the way capitalism works in order to save the world. A growing number of corporations are signing on, from Patagonia to Danone. Quartz’s Cassie Werber reports on why B Corps are gaining momentum—and on the limitations that make them imperfect vehicles for social change.

Quartz special projects

India’s job market has an uncertain future, with half of its population under 25 and the unemployment rate at a four-decade high. What kinds of jobs can young people expect to have? Quartz asked leaders across India’s biggest industries about that one role in their company or field that will be the most crucial in the coming decades.

Matters of debate

Can Bloomberg News cover Mike Bloomberg? His rising poll numbers for the US presidency have exacerbated concerns about how to report on the boss.

The financial health of Americans is improving. Though not everyone is feeling the good vibes, a majority say they’re better off these days.

We should emulate Amish tech habits. They practice “humane technology” by choosing to embrace new devices only if they benefit the community.

Surprising discoveries

Another batch of abandoned snakes was found in pillowcases. The 16 reptiles were discovered in a trash can outside a fire station in Sunderland, UK.

North Korea spent $75,509 last year on purebred horses. Since 2010, the country has imported at least 138 horses from its Russian neighbor.

Grasshoppers are being engineered to sniff out bombs. Researchers implanted electrodes into the insects’ antennal lobes to help them detect explosives.

Whale earwax is a historical record of the ocean. Scientists have used the sticky substance to see how human activity has an impact on—and often pollutes—the seas.

Some predatory jellyfish lob tiny grenades. The upside-down species secretes a floating mucus that had perplexed snorkelers in the Florida Keys.  

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Amish-approved tech, and abandoned pythons to hi@qz.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android, and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Adam Rasmi and Hasit Shah.