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🌍 China reacts to Pelosi

US house speaker Nancy Pelosi is visiting Taiwan in what is seen as a provocative move towards Beijing.

In the foreground, blurry, is a man sitting. We can see the back of his head and his blue shirt. He appears to be in a restaurant, the table in front of him has an empty plate and a container of chopsticks. Further in the background is a TV with a news broadcast in Chinese showing a photo of US House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Annabelle Chih
Television broadcasts news about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) at a local restaurant on August 02, 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan. 
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Here’s what you need to know

Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan... The US house speaker is the first to visit the island since 1997 in what is seen as a provocative move towards Beijing. Meanwhile, an overseas cyberattack reportedly crashed a Taiwanese government website.

…and China vowed to launch “targeted military operations.” Joint air and sea drills will take place in response to Pelosi’s visit. An export ban on 100 Taiwanese brands has also gone into effect.

BP reported big profits. The oil company raked in $8.5 billion in its latest quarter and increased its dividend amid pinched supply and high prices. Vitol also reported a record $4.2 billion in earnings.

Uber had positive cash flow for the first time. It still reported a net loss of $2.6 billion in the second quarter, but is picking up business from an increase in post-pandemic rides.

Reliance Jio was the highest bidder in India’s 5G auction. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s telecom company will pay $11 billion to claim nearly half of the auctioned airwaves over the next 20 years.

A Toyota affiliate submitted fake emissions data for years. A company probe found that false information on engines dates back to at least 2003.

London and Amsterdam limited more air traffic. Schiphol airport is extending its capacity cap through October, while British Airways has paused the sale of short-haul flights from Heathrow.

Australia is short on eggs. With wintry weather and other factors leading to low production, some supermarkets are implementing a two-carton limit.



What to watch for

Monkeypox deaths in Brazil, India, and Spain, the first outside of Africa, have raised global concerns to new heights. Like covid, this is bad news for everyone—except pharmaceutical companies, who have already seen a boost from pandemic fears and preparation as rich countries like the UK and US buy up vaccines.

💉 Bavarian Nordic, the Danish maker of the smallpox vaccine used for monkeypox, has already revised its earning estimates several times, and its stock has gained 105% in the past six months.

💊 SIGA technologies’ stock, an American maker of antiviral treatments for smallpox, has gained 178% since March.

🌡️ Japan’s Precision Systems, Roche, and several Chinese makers of monkeypox diagnostics haven’t seen such dramatic increases in stock prices, but are likely to see significant growth in revenue as testing (especially rapid) becomes more widespread.


BeReal is the app for people who hate social media

If someone were to take a photo of you right now, would you want it posted on social media? Chances are absolutely not, but that’s the premise behind BeReal, a French app which has taken American college campuses by storm and is currently the most popular app in Apple’s US App Store.

The basic premise of BeReal, which launched in 2020, is that at a different time each day, users receive a notification nudging them to post a photo of whatever they’re up to at that particular moment. There are no ads, no filters, no likes, no followers, just your friends sending pictures of themselves looking into a freezer or sitting on the couch with pets.

The experience of documenting the mundane on BeReal may be a small way to resist the idea that our lives have to be remarkable to have value. Its 20 million downloads suggest this approach is resonating with users, especially at a time when giants like Meta are struggling to stay relevant and profitable.


An awareness breakthrough in leaded fuel

Six weeks ago, we brought you news of our investigation into the maddening persistence of leaded aviation gasoline, which is poisoning millions of children who live in close proximity to lead-emitting general aviation airports.

While a solution remains elusive, US lawmakers held hearings in late July to talk about the problem and probed the slow pace of progress in developing unleaded alternatives. It’s not a panacea, but it’s a step toward getting federal agencies to phase out leaded airplane fuel altogether.

✦ Quartz’s latest Forecast email contextualized this update for readers and explained what could come next. Become a member to get the Forecast in your inbox, and get 40% off when you sign up today!



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Surprising discoveries

Rulers of the Mayan people may have been made into pelota balls. An archeologist believes their bodies were incinerated and their ashes mixed with rubber to create props for the popular game.

Stephen King was called as a witness for the prosecution. The bestselling author was due to testify in an antitrust case against book publisher Penguin Random House.

An online candy retailer is hiring for a work-from-home product tester. The job sounds like a real treat.

South Korean researchers made a tattoo health monitor. They’ve developed an ink that can show a patient’s vital stats when applied on their skin.

Teeth held in a Bulgarian museum revealed the existence of Europe’s last panda. The previously unknown species roamed the continent 6 million years ago.


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