🌍 Seoul’s once-in-a-lifetime storm

Plus: Serena Williams is trading tennis for VC
A man walks past a damaged pavement in Seoul on August 9, 2022, after record-breaking rains caused severe flooding. 
A man walks past a damaged pavement in Seoul on August 9, 2022, after record-breaking rains caused severe flooding. 
Photo: Anthony Wallace / AFP (Getty Images)

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Seoul suffered its heaviest rainstorm in 80 years. The torrential downpour flooded South Korea’s capital and killed at least nine people, with another six missing.

China removed 12,000 crypto social media accounts. The purge is the latest episode in a broader regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies, which were banned last year.

Turkey restarted offshore gas explorations. After a two-year pause, a drillship set off for the eastern Mediterranean, raising regional tensions as it will operate near waters currently disputed with Cyprus.

Three Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank. An Israeli military operation, which took out a senior resistance commander, also wounded about 40 Palestinians. Meanwhile, a fragile ceasefire in Gaza still holds.

French cosmetics firm Laboratoires Vivacy is back on the market. The dermal filler company, which private equity firm TA Associates is preparing (again) to sell, could be valued at $1 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Hong Kong’s third-ever SPAC completed a $127 million IPO. HK Acquisition Corp, founded by former HKMA chief executive Norman Chan, will focus on buying up fintech companies.

What to watch for

July’s US consumer price index—due at 8:30am US eastern time today—is following indicators of falling commodity prices, but consumers won’t feel those declines just yet.

The delay is caused by extra steps in the food production chain. As Bespoke Investment Group analyst George Pearkes explained to Quartz, a loaf of bread has to go through a manufacturing process and so will be slowed in its descent by processors that have to pay utility bills. Something like meat, however, will move more quickly from the wholesale market to the supermarket, so a price decline will move faster too.

Gasoline futures will take about six weeks to turn into lower gasoline prices, Pearkes added. But any downward trend will be a reprieve for drivers, as crude oil prices remain high compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Image for article titled 🌍 Seoul’s once-in-a-lifetime storm
Graphic: US Energy Information Administration, FRED

Serena Williams is ready to ace VC

“Someone who looks like me needs to start writing the big checks.”

Serena Williams, whose essay in Vogue magazine’s September issue is quoted above, is saying goodbye to tennis after dominating the sport for 25 years. What’s next? A deeper focus on family life and her role as founder and managing partner of Serena Ventures, the investment firm she launched in 2014 to focus on growing early-stage startups.

Some impressive digits from both of Williams’s careers:

23: Grand Slam titles to her name

73: Singles titles

12: Times she said the word “crazy” in a 90-second Nike ad during the 2019 Academy Awards, reminding the world that when women are labeled thusly, history’s usually being made

$94,588,910: Total winnings

$111 million: Amount raised for Serena Ventures’s inaugural fund

3: Household names that were served up cash in their startup stage by Serena Ventures—Masterclass, Impossible Foods, and nutritional app Noom

Air travel is back (for tourists), baby!

Business travelers though, will have to content themselves with more virtual meetings. Business travel is lagging, with several big airlines—Delta, American, United, and Southwest—reporting corporate sales that are still 20% below 2019 levels. This tracks with a survey conducted by Morgan Stanley in 2021, in which corporate travel managers in the US, Europe, and Asia suggested their companies would replace about a quarter of typical business travel with virtual meetings in 2022.

Leisure travel, however, is only 10% below 2019 levels. It could mean companies are making good on their promise to trim the fat from their travel budgets. But airlines have their fingers crossed that companies will still rely on face-to-face meetings.

✦ If stories like these are part of the reason you love Quartz, consider grabbing a membership today at 40% off. You’ll be supporting our journalism and unlocking more great email newsletters.

Quartz’s most popular

📉 Deflation alert: Prices for digital products declined last month in the US

💉 The US insulin copay cap was a bad idea anyway

⌛️ ​​Kenya’s next president must act fast to fix the economy

📈 This is the metric Elon Musk and Twitter are focusing on in court

🏠 Pre-selling homes in China isn’t working the way developers hoped

📺 HBO’s Industry is Wall Street meets Gen Z existential office angst

Surprising discoveries

Conservationists are trying to save a stranded whale in France. The beluga will receive medical treatment before it’s released into the sea.

Spiders might be dreamers, too. One species was observed to make REM-like twitches while snoozing. 

Domino’s Pizza quit Italy... To the surprise of no one, the US chain just couldn’t beat the pies from local shops.

…and Italy sued a country over balsamic vinegar. Slovenia was allegedly diluting the vinegar’s authenticity with lax standards.

A devilish meme of US president Joe Biden has gone viral. “Dark Brandon,” created to mock both Biden and a popular conservative meme, has now been embraced by White House aides.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, co-opted memes, and whatever you think spiders have nightmares about to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Nicolás Rivero, Nate DiCamillo, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, and Susan Howson.