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Here’s what you need to know

Lebanon’s government resigned. Prime minister Hassan Diab announced the mass resignation in a national TV address following last week’s explosion of unsafely stored ammonium nitrate in Beirut that killed more than 200 people.

The Hong Kong crackdown continues… Following the arrest of independent newspaper owner Jimmy Lai, pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow was also arrested for “inciting secession” under the new National Security Law. In Beijing, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee wraps up today after passing new censorship rules.

…while Macau opens back up. For the first time since January, tourist visas will be issued for the global gambling hotspot. Morgan Stanley estimated the travel ban cost local operators $15 million a day. US casino stocks received a bump on the news.

TikTok’s Trump lawsuit could arrive today. Sources told NPR that the ByteDance subsidiary plans to challenge the US president’s executive order banning the video-sharing app with a lawsuit that may be filed as soon as today. TikTok also announced the first recipients of its $1 billion fund for US-based creators on Monday.

Charting peak tie dye

Lots of tie-dyed clothes combined together by the fashion label Alex Mill
Image copyright: Courtesy, Alex Mill
The more the merrier.

Twisting fabric and dunking it in dye has been in and out of fashion for thousands of years. We don’t have data on Indian bandhani output from 3000 BC or shibori sales in 8th-century Japan, but we can pull Google searches for “tie dye” for the past few years.

People without a lot to do have turned to both churning out the patterns themselves—an Etsy representative says searches for DIY tie-dye kits have nearly tripled in volume compared to the same time last year—and buying clothing pre-dyed.

The coronavirus living briefing

Let the coronavirus living briefing get you up to speed on Covid-19 and how it’s affecting the global economy. Here’s just some of what’s new today:

How do workers feel about returning to the office?

Surveys say

Halvsies. A poll by Adecco Group of 1,000 office workers in eight countries found that most people wanted to spend 51% of their time in the office, and 49% remote.

Getting stuff done. Deutsche Bank found in a July poll that 70% of people surveyed said they were more productive working from home.

Newbie nostalgia. An April 2020 survey conducted by software company Smartsheet found that the youngest workers were struggling the most with working from home, despite being the most tech-savvy.

Not all bad. Around 37% of people surveyed in July by Qualtrics and Quartz thought culture at their workplace had improved since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read more about how Covid-19 is forcing companies across the world to discover what “the office” means to them in our latest field guide.

Already a member? Enjoy all our field guides with our thanks. Ready to support quality journalism and go about your day paywall-free? Become a Quartz member, now at 40% off your first year.

Join us for a free workshop

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Whether its in-person or virtual, how can your workplace become more inclusive? The journey may not always be easy, but we are here to point you in the direction of change, no matter where you are in the company org chart.

Register to join us on August 13th from 11-12pm EDT for our second workshop on how to build an antiracist company. In this free virtual event, our panel will take more of your questions and offer advice.

Five stories from Quartz Africa we especially liked

Migrants from Congo and Angola wait at a bus station in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. June 11, 2019.
Image copyright: Reuters/Callaghan O'Hare
Migrants from Congo and Angola wait at a bus station in San Antonio, Texas, US. June 11, 2019.

Despite closed borders, the US is still deporting Africans during the pandemic. One of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the near total shutdown of international travel globally. But that is not stopping the United States’ immigration agency which is still deporting Africans amid uncertainty of the health risks of long-haul flights, Joe Penney reports.

Kenya and Nigeria are leading Africa’s push to start taxing Silicon Valley’s global tech giants. African governments are increasingly looking to generate tax revenue from global digital services that operate within their territories. As Yomi Kazeem explains, the drive is being led by two of Africa’s leading tech economies which are reforming local tax laws to catch up the pace and might of global tech giants.

Africa’s largest retailer is pulling out of the continent’s largest economy. Shoprite, the South Africa-owned retail giant, is discontinuing operations in Nigeria as it considers selling part or all its stake in the local division. While the move represents a major shake-up in Nigeria’s retail sector, it also fosters uncertainty given lingering questions over the company’s exit strategy.

The problem with Zimbabwe using a $3.5 billion sovereign bond to compensate white farmers. Zimbabwe’s recent agreement to pay 4,500 white farmers $3.5 billion over the controversial land reform program of the late 1990s brings closure to a questionable episode of the country’s history. But with the government cash-strapped and sorely lacking in local and international goodwill, the compensation represents a good move at a bad time.

Nigeria has missed an opportunity to make its #MeToo moment stick. A trio of high profile harassment and assault cases against a federal lawmaker, a prominent startup CEO and pop star all fizzled out over the past month. As Shayera Dark reports, the lack of redress—in courts and in public, despite increasing advocacy, shows Nigeria faces an uphill fight in reversing local harassment culture.

Surprising discoveries

Mauritians are shaving their heads to keep an oil spill at bay. Determined residents have woven floating barriers from their own hair to contain the catastrophic spill.

Cedar is good for shoes and, now, shooing bugs. Nootkatone, a chemical found in cedar trees and grapefruit, has been approved to safely repel disease-carrying insects.

Pet parental leave as a perk. $300 stipends, dog Zoom meetings, and even time off to welcome new puppies are some of corporate America’s latest employee benefits.

Facial recognition wasn’t Apple’s timeliest idea. New York’s transit authority formally asked Apple to release a way to unlock phones that didn’t require riders to remove masks.

Time is a flat circle. A new theory of an endless “cyclic universe” sets itself up against the Big Bang theory of creation.

You know what else is (pretty much) endless? The number of Quartz articles you can read.

An animated gif of a galaxy moving in a continuous spiral motion.
Image copyright: Giphy