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🌍 Truss is coming for energy bills

The new UK prime minister is set to cap bills at £2,500.

A symmetrically framed photo depicts Liz Truss standing at a podium outside the black facade of 10 Downing street, captured mid-speech. She is dressed in a dark navy dress. The pavement is wet from a rain shower.
Adrian Dennis/AFP
Britain's newly appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street, central London, on September 6, 2022.
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Here’s what you need to know

UK prime minister Liz Truss will freeze energy bills. Invoices will reportedly be capped at £2,500 ($2,879) in anticipation of soaring costs this winter. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia lowered oil prices for Asia and Europe following a drop in demand.

Gazprom stated Nord Stream 1 is shut pending Siemens Energy repairs. Siemens Energy has responded that it “cannot comprehend” Gazprom’s statement, Reuters reports.

The UN called for a security zone around Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant. It cited fears of a nuclear disaster at the Russian-occupied site as shelling continues. The last operating reactor was shut after a fire.

A record-breaking typhoon hit South Korea. Typhoon Hinnamnoor killed at least six people. In India, IT hub Bengaluru is under water following its heaviest rainfall in 42 years. Chad has seen devastating floods after 30-year record rainfall. Pakistan’s Lake Manchar may soon overflow.

Shanghai announced a $72 billion plan to invest in autonomous driving cars. The plan aims for 70% of cars to have self-driving features by 2025.

Tencent will double its stake in Ubisoft. The Chinese tech giant will invest $297.3 million in the French video game maker known for developing Assassin’s Creed.

India and China approved needle-free covid vaccines. The former gave the green light to Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine, and the latter to CanSino Biologics’ inhaled vaccine.

What to watch for

Apple will stage its annual September product launch event today, which is expected to announce four new iPhones, three new Apple Watches, and a new Airpods Pro model. Even as inflation begins to slow down consumer spending, Apple is expected to discontinue the iPhone mini, its cheapest smartphone model, and raise the price of the high-end iPhone Pro, which will get a big camera upgrade and may feature an “always on” display. Breathless rumors are also swirling that Apple will finally replace the iPhone’s maligned “notch,” which houses its front-facing camera, with…an almost identical pill-shaped screen cut-out.

Apple will also tout a software update that will apply to anyone who has bought an iPhone since 2017. With the arrival of iOS 16, users will be able to edit or unsend iMessages and customize a set of widgets that appear on their lock screen. Apple is also wading into the ”buy now pay later” business model with a new short-term loan scheme dubbed Apple Pay Later.

National Cinema Day buzzed the tower

The US’s first National Cinema Day wasn’t just a success for the movie theater business, it also helped Top Gun: Maverick soar higher, pushing it past Black Panther as the fifth-highest grossing domestic movie of all time, at $701 million.

Image copyright: Adario Strange

National Cinema Day allowed moviegoers to pay just $3 per ticket for any movie on over 30,000 screens at over 3,000 movie theater locations on Sept. 3. The promotion was launched by the Cinema Foundation, a non-profit created by the National Association of Theatre Owners to foster the growth of the movie theater business. And it worked. The association’s publication, Box Office Pro, claims that the promotion helped to generate $24.3 million in box office revenue, roughly 9% higher than the previous Saturday.

It’s further proof that fan-focused fake holidays are Hollywood’s best new marketing tool, especially for an industry still struggling to find its footing after the pandemic threw it for a loop.

This one trick to getting past Chinese censors

Let’s say you want to post something in China that’s critical of the government. Sure, you could get past Beijing’s sprawling internet censorship apparatus by using Martian, emojis, and even braille. Or, you could simply switch to Cantonese, the language spoken by close to a hundred million people. Officially, Beijing designates Cantonese as a dialect, and while many have long argued it’s a language in its own right, its very unofficialness is helping it citizens (relatively) freely express discontent.

Mary Hui looks into why posts cursing the mothers of some local officials—and other spicy examples—got past the censors.

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Covid lockdowns had an impact on primates other than humans, too. Enclosed gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and baboons behaved differently when zoos were shut.

Aquatic salamanders are key to understanding cell regeneration. Axolotls’ self-regenerating brain cells share similarities with those found in humans.

Chinese motorcyclists gave “hell’s angels” a new meaning. The riders volunteered to help firefighters battling the Chongqing wildfire.

Spare a thought for the woman who claimed the Twitter handle @LizTruss. The user, active since 2009, is not the new UK Prime minister—but few bother to check before tweeting.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, other Lizzes, and pandemic-traumatized primates to Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Nicolás Rivero, Adario Strange, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Susan Howson.

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