Trump’s Russia scandal, Yellen’s boost, microscopic face mites

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Netease gets a report card. The Chinese online gaming company is expected to deliver a 37% increase in quarterly revenue,  to $1.57 billion for the fourth quarter. Investors will be looking for any hints about a deal with Google that might help the US company’s Play store regain access to mainland China.

Jim Mattis talks with NATO. The US defense secretary is expected to discuss higher military spending among European allies when he visits Brussels. US president Donald Trump has called the alliance “obsolete.”

Beijing bans high-emission vehicles. The smog-choked city will no longer allow light-duty vehicles that failed to pass emission standards to drive inside the Fifth Ring Road on weekdays. Violators will be fined 100 yuan ($14.50) for every four hours that they drive on the road.

Editor’s note: Yesterday’s Daily Brief referenced an Indian satellite launch taking place on Feb. 14. In fact, the launch will take place at 9:38 am India time on Feb. 15.

While you were sleeping

The White House knew about Flynn’s Russia lies. Spokesman Sean Spicer said that Trump’s team knew that Michael Flynn had not told the truth about his interactions with Russia’s ambassador, but needed more than two weeks to conclude he could not be trusted. Lawmakers are calling for an investigation of the scandal.

Janet Yellen’s testimony gave the US stock market a boost. The Federal Reserve chairwoman said that it would be unwise to wait too long to raise interest rates, sending US stocks to record highs. She also expressed some uncertainty about Trump’s economic policy.

Two enormous US health insurance mergers were called off. Aetna and Humana abandoned a $34 billion deal, and Cigna sued Anthem after cancelling their $48 billion tie-up. Both deals were opposed by antitrust regulators and blocked by federal judges.

GM may sell its European auto business to Peugeot. General Motors lost $257 million on its  European operations last year—capping 16 years of consecutive losses and a cumulative loss of more than $20 billion. Acquiring GM’s Opel and Vauxhall brands would make Peugeot parent PSA Group the second-largest European automaker after Volkswagen.

Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother was murdered in Malaysia. Kim Jong-nam, 46, fell ill in the departure lounge of the Kuala Lumpur airport and died on the way to the hospital. US government sources told Reuters he was poisoned by two North Korean operatives, who are still at large.

Quartz obsession interlude

Elaine Ramirez on a new sharing economy in Seoul that leaves Uber and Airbnb in the cold: “Seoul mayor Park Won-soon defends his city as a free-market economy that wouldn’t survive if it weren’t open to foreign companies. But the mayor draws the line between ‘innovation’ and ‘disruption,’ insisting that these startups should be welcomed—as long as they follow the rules.” Read more here.

Quartz markets haiku

On Valentine’s Day
Investors heard sweet nothings
From Fed chair Yellen.

Matters of debate

Billionaires want to end disease, but nature says otherwise. The vast scale of evolutionary time is lost on technologists who only think about data and money.

Trump is dividing Mexicans, too. Anti-Trump protests are seen as an attempt to cover up domestic problems with patriotic unity.

Politicizing science could return us to the Dark Ages. Environmental pioneer Rachel Carson’s warning went viral more than 60 years ago.

Surprising discoveries

There are microscopic creatures that live on our faces. Demodex mites have been harvesting oil from our hair follicles for at least 200,000 years.

IBM physicists have created a unique triangular molecule. “Triangulene” may eventually power quantum computers.

Iceland is busting people for driving under the influence of the northern lights. Erratic lane changes were blamed on the distractingly beautiful aurora borealis.

A surprisingly high number of animals kill each other after sex. The line between “flirty” and “hungry” is a blurry one.

Apple’s new reality show is called “Planet of the Apps.” Contestants make an “escalator pitch” to a panel of celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, face mites, and northern lights fender benders to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.