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🌎 To buy or not to buy

Plus: Where book bans are spiking in the US.

 A "For Sale" sign hangs in front of a house in Oakton, Virginia
Larry Downing
This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, The concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day.
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    Good morning, Quartz readers!


    Here’s what you need to know

    The American housing market is paralyzed. Prices are beginning to fall, but prospective homebuyers have to contend with the US Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes, which have driven mortgage rates to their highest level since 2008.

    Central banks around the world raised interest rates. Following the Fed’s most recent hike, countries including the UK, Norway, Indonesia, and South Africa also bumped rates. Bucking the trend, Turkey cut rates and Japan kept them super low.

    The US lost $45.6 billion to covid unemployment fraud. A federal watchdog identified criminals filing for unemployment benefits in several states or using the Social Security numbers of dead or imprisoned people.

    The UK is investigating Amazon, Microsoft, and Google’s dominance in cloud services. Regulators are seeking to test the strength of competition in the billion-dollar industry.

    Airbus won a $4.8 billion jet deal... The European firm will supply 40 jets to China Southern-owned Xiamen Airlines, beating out Boeing, which has historically been its supplier.

    ...while Boeing agreed to pay a $200 million settlement. The SEC had accused Boeing of making misleading statements about its 737 MAX model in the wake of two crashes of these jets.

    Bermuda and Canada are bracing for Hurricane Fiona. The category 4 storm could trigger floods, power blackouts, and storm surges. Puerto Rico, hit by Fiona days earlier, is dealing with economic damage worth at least $2 billion.


    What to watch for

    A much-anticipated speech from US president Joe Biden, an appearance from Bono, and potentially the world’s largest conference panel may be over at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, but there’s lots still to come before it closes on Tuesday (Sept. 27).

    Upcoming events include a talk from Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari today on measuring poverty, and the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Saturday (nothing says world development conference like Mariah Carey and Metallica).

    Need to catch up on what’s happened so far? It’s never too late to sign up for our Need to Know: UNGA 2022 newsletter. We’ve also put together a reading list of Quartz coverage from the event:

    🌳 From UNGA’s sidelines, a reminder about Europe’s Green Deal

    🌍 “Africa has suffered enough,” says Senegal’s president in UNGA speech

    💰 We already know what would solve most global development challenges

    😎 The most confusing UNGA 2022 event titles—translated from UN-speak into English


    Book bans are spiking in the US

    As Banned Books Week (Sept. 18-24) draws to a close in the US, the pile of forbidden texts is only stacking up. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the number of banned books in US schools and libraries has more than doubled from last year.

    Texas and Florida top the list of states with the most banned titles, with right-wing political groups like Moms for Liberty and No Left Turn in Education spearheading efforts. The top targeted books in 2021 include newer additions like Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, and long-timers like The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Most stricken books are penned by LGBTQ and Black authors, and touch upon topics such as racism and sex.

    For those looking to get around state bans: university libraries, interlibrary loans, and digital libraries are three ways students can gain access to censored narratives.


    Words that aren’t words

    Across the globe, there are grunts, sighs, and other untranslatable remarks that aren’t really words, but still carry a lot of meaning.

    Pop quiz

    In French, what does the exclamation “bof” mean?

    A. Goodbye
    B. I don’t really care
    C. Yum
    D. Not right now

    Find the answer below!

    ✦ “Bof” is just one of the phrases we looked at in our audio project on “non-words” that’ll help you communicate in countries around the world. It’s one of our favorite stories we’re sharing from the past decade—yes, Quartz turned 10 years old this week! 🎉 Celebrate with 50% off a Quartz membership.



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    💬 …and Congress is asking US banks: What if China is the next Russia?

    📢 Meta’s quiet firing is making a lot of noise

    💪 King Charles’ real estate empire is a powerful climate tool


    Surprising discoveries

    Blimp cruises may soon take to the skies. But unless you can cough up $200,000, you’re stuck on the ground, buddy.

    Italy’s leading right-wing politician is a Lord of the Rings devotee. Giorgia Meloni may well one day rule over Italy as prime minister (though not Middle Earth).  

    Americans can’t get enough of Mexican beer. Eight out of 10 imported beers in the US come from its southern neighbor.

    A camel encyclopedia could be in the works. An attendee at “The Role of Camels in Unifying the Kingdom” symposium in Saudi Arabia suggested it be written up.

    One of Saturn’s moons has all six ingredients for life. Pack your bags—Enceladus was previously thought to lack phosphorus, until now!


    Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Mexican lagers, and camel facts to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Clarisa Diaz, Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, and Samanth Subramanian.

    The correct answer to the pop quiz is B., I don’t really care.

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