Beyond Meat, coronavirus, sensitive billionaires

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The UK publishes its negotiating mandate for EU trade talks. The bloc asked Britain to accept some EU competition rules, but its former member is expected to reiterate today that it wants complete independence.

Beyond Meat reports earnings. The food company is expected to announce around $80 million in quarterly sales, up almost 160% from 2018, and around $280 million in full-year sales. Look out for big swings from its stock, considering its past volatility—up 360% since its IPO in early 2019, down 50% from its all-time high.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund publishes its annual report. The $1.2 trillion fund, the largest in the world, is looking for a successor to Yngve Slyngstad, who resigned in October. The job is considered to be the most important in the country (paywall), as the fund is worth three times its economy.

While coronavirus took over

The US registered its first coronavirus case without a clear link to an existing outbreak. Doctors couldn’t find a connection between a patient in California and outbreaks in places like Italy or China. It could be the country’s first case of “community spread.”

Saudi Arabia suspended pilgrimages by foreigners to Mecca and Medina… The decision came as the Middle East counted more than 220 coronavirus cases, and five months before the main Hajj pilgrimage, when millions visit the holy site, adding billions to the Saudi economy.

…while Iran refused to put a major city under lockdown. President Hassan Rouhani said the country would continue to quarantine only individuals, not places. The government only advised against travel to Qom, which is the epicenter of its outbreak.

A Japanese woman tested positive for coronavirus… for a second time. The first repeated case in Japan reinforced concerns about the spread of the virus, and whether patients who think they’re ok are actually still sick and contagious.

More businesses sounded the alarm. Standard Chartered, Microsoft, and AB InBev said earnings would be hit. The UK bank’s main markets are in Asia, Microsoft gets parts from the region, and the world’s largest beer maker said people are drinking less in China. It doesn’t help that one of its most popular products is called Corona.

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Matters of debate

Fighting food waste is a waste of time. It doesn’t tackle the problems of a deeply flawed food system.

Billionaires should stop being so sensitive. Being called names is a small price to pay for extreme wealth, says one brave billionaire.

Some novels are way too long. Even award-winning authors need sharp editors.

Surprising discoveries

Instagram-worthy bread? Thank coronavirus. A Vietnam bakery found a new use for excess dragon fruit that couldn’t be exported to China.

It’s a new moon—literally. A new mini satellite has landed in Earth’s orbit.

Scientists discovered the first animal that doesn’t need oxygen to live. It’s changing the definition of what an animal can be.

Movie villains use Android. Apple reportedly won’t let bad guys have iPhones.

Perfumiers created the scent of terror. It’s a protest against the opening of a perfume store in a historic Moscow building with a violent history.

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