Here’s what you need to know
The US criticized Tesla’s move into Xinjiang. Lawmakers called it “misguided.” Meanwhile, the French parliament condemned China’s “genocide” against Uyghurs, and the International Olympic Committee said its Beijing uniforms definitely weren’t products of forced labor.
The US and Europe doubled down on support for Ukraine. After a meeting in Berlin, US secretary of state Antony Blinken warned of a “swift, severe” response if Russian troops enter Ukraine. Blinken will meet with his Russian counterpart in Geneva today.
The UN made a deal for a low-cost version of Merck’s covid pill. Dozens of drugmakers in 11 countries will make the drug for 105 developing nations. Meanwhile, Austria passed Europe’s first vaccine mandate for adults.
China and the US issued more rebukes of big tech. Beijing said it would root out undue influence from interest groups, including tech companies, while an antitrust bill aimed at preventing platforms from giving preference to their own products and services moved forward in the US Senate.
Intel is investing $20 billion to make semiconductor chips in Ohio. The new factories, to be built near Columbus, are part of an attempt to reduce US reliance on chip manufacturers in Taiwan.
What to watch for
Reliance Industries, India’s massive oil-to-telecom conglomerate, will most likely report to investors on Friday that earnings were way up in the last three months of 2021. Retail sales and fossil fuel refining helped, but chairman Mukesh Ambani’s bet on a future of clean energy for India also seems to be paying off.
Asia’s richest man had a busy year:
👑 Mukesh Ambani joined the 12-figure club (which only has 10 members across the globe)…
👀 …But the Adani brothers are catching up.
🏫 He announced he was opening a university called the Jio Institute in Mumbai…
⛓ …While also throwing his weight behind blockchain technology.
⚖️ Ambani lost to Amazon in a court case over a Reliance deal with Future Group…
🏃♂️ …But 2022 started off with a bang as Reliance Retail invested $200 million in delivery startup Dunzo.
Markets haiku: In Soviet Russia, Bitcoin mines you
Russia’s central bank
Says “nyet” to crypto mining.
Bitcoin says, who cares?
On Thursday, Russia’s central bank proposed a ban on crypto mining and trading. Although 10% of global bitcoin mining activities take place in that country, the cryptocurrency’s value increased following the news.
Olympians: you have every reason to worry about cybersecurity
“There’s no need to worry about cybersecurity…China has always been against and will crack down upon any kinds of cyber attacks and cyber stalking.” —A spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Canada, responding to concerns about the Winter Games
Along with their skis, winter wear, and N95 masks, athletes and support staff heading to the Beijing Winter Olympics, which kicks off in two weeks, should pack burner phones as experts warn about the potential of cybersecurity risks during their stay in China.
Several countries have advised their representatives against using their personal devices, as concerns about China’s on-the-ground My2022 Olympics app grow. The great firewall that keeps China’s internet ringfenced will be somewhat diluted, though users can still expect some censorship to foil their web-surfing plans. The International Olympic Committee has joined China in brushing off cybersecurity concerns.
How a16z rose to fame
Andreessen Horowitz (better known as a16z) has grown large enough to amass billion-dollar funds, hire a policy team that’s lobbying Washington for more favorable crypto regulation, jumpstart a separate media arm, and inspire numerous copycats across the industry. Here’s how it transformed VC in just 12 years. ✦ Try a seven-day free trial of Quartz membership for access to all of our member-exclusive emails.
The Missouri Highway Patrol accidentally sent an alert intended for Batman. A message about a search for the Joker’s car in Gotham City was supposed to be an internal test.
Snow fell in the Sahara. It does happen from time to time, and it’s very pretty.
Tencent told kids it’s serious about gaming limits during Lunar New Year. The company said it would use facial recognition if minors tried to play using an older family member’s log in.
Scientists figured out why whales don’t choke while feeding. A movable structure termed an “oral plug” prevents fish and water from being ingested.
A lot of people use Tumblr in *checks notes* 2022. The site’s irrelevance is part of its appeal.
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