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Here’s what you need to know
Walmart cut its profit outlook for the year. The top US retailers said it needs to cut prices of products like apparel to entice customers hit by higher food and fuel costs.
Tesla added $1 billion to its yearly spending plans. The company’s regulatory filings also revealed a new SEC subpoena related to CEO Elon Musk’s 2018 “funding secured” tweet.
The US has become the world’s largest exporter of LNG. Shipments to Europe have even surpassed what president Joe Biden had promised.
The Department of Energy handed GM its first green energy loan in a decade. The government program that benefited Tesla’s development has been resurrected.
President Biden urged Congress to pass a bill boosting the semiconductor industry. The legislation includes $52 billion in subsidies for domestic production.
Verizon Fios dropped One America News. The channel known for propagating false election fraud claims has lost its last major US TV platform.
Ecuador’s former president Lenin Moreno is under investigation. The country’s prosecutors are looking for artifacts that disappeared from the presidential palace.
What to watch for
European Union energy officials will meet today to vote on an emergency response plan to the bloc’s gas crisis, a day after Russia’s Gazprom said it would slash gas deliveries—already low—even further. The plan has two pieces: A recommendation that EU countries curb their gas consumption by 15% for the next nine months, and a provision that officials in Brussels could make those cuts mandatory—and impose fines for non-compliance—if they decide the crisis is escalating dangerously.
Most leaders agree in principle that Europe should use less gas, especially to refill storage tanks ahead of peak gas demand in winter. But many countries oppose mandatory rationing, including Spain, Portugal, and Greece, who either use relatively little gas or source most of their supply from somewhere other than Russia.
Are Starbucks and Chipotle union-busting?
In the last few months, coffee chain Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill have closed stores that have recently unionized or pursued a union election. Starbucks has stated closures were due to crime and safety concerns, while Chipotle has cited chronic understaffing.
Affected workers have filed unfair labor practice charges with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and scholars agree the timing of the closures may signal union-busting. But there’s not a whole lot workers can do. If the NLRB eventually finds Starbucks and Chipotle guilty, they may only owe back wages, a relative slap on the wrist for the big corporations.
That being said, store closures are unlikely to quash union activity altogether. Workers, strapped with crushing student debt, high housing costs, and stagnant wages, have compelling reasons to join and sustain the unionization wave.
Fine dining at a time of record inflation
US inflation has hit levels not seen in 40 years, and pandemic closures and slowdowns are still a sore spot, but despite the odds a record 650 establishments are still taking part in New York City’s Restaurant Week this year.
Quartz reporter Anne Quito spoke with restaurant owners in the city about what steps they’re taking to bring pre-fixe $30 meals to bargain-hunting gourmands, and how they’re pulling it off despite an unprecedented financial squeeze.
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What questions Quartz readers want answered
The mystery of a global uptick in hepatitis affecting children may have been solved. Lack of exposure during covid lockdowns is likely at fault.
The freezing point above the Swiss Alps broke a 27 year record. Weather balloons reached 0°C at 5,184 meters (17,008 feet), well above the highest summits.
A mushroom-shaped ring officially has the most bling. It’s studded with a record-breaking 24,679 diamonds.
The first virtual reality film was made. It explores everything from metaverse sign language classes to virtually-sustained relationships.
A new Homo sapiens population was uncovered. It may be the genetic link between East Asian and early American populations.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, weather balloons, and cottagecore jewelry to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Sofia Lotto Persio, Samanth Subramanian, Morgan Haefner, Julia Malleck, and Tim McDonnell.
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