Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
Wall Street banks paid a $1.8 billion fine over improper WhatsApp use. Regulators cracked down on bankers using private chats to discuss deals and trades.
Hurricane Ian caused a blackout in Cuba. Florida is now bracing for the category 4 storm, the first major hurricane to hit areas such as Tampa in a century.
The IMF has castigated the UK government’s planned tax cuts. The world’s lender of last resort warned that the move would increase inequality. (see more below)
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines are both leaking. Detection of underwater explosions near the Russian natural gas network has raised suspicions of sabotage.
Harley-Davidson spun off its electric motorcycle unit in a $1.8 billion SPAC deal. LiveWire became the first publicly traded e-motorbike company in the US.
Apple suspended plans to increase iPhone 14 production. The tech giant’s expectations of a surge in demand for its latest handset did not materialize, according to Bloomberg.
Fast Company shut down its website after reporting a cyber breach. The publisher said a hacker infiltrated its system and posted racist and obscene alerts from its Apple News account.
A new Alzheimer’s drug delivered strong results in late-stage clinical trials. Pharma companies Biogen and Eisai said lecanemab slowed down the rate of patients’ cognitive decline.
What to watch for
The first US-Pacific Island Summit kicks off today in Washington, D.C. as US president Joe Biden seeks to strengthen ties with Pacific nations and counter China’s growing influence in the region. The two-day summit comes amid a global pivot towards the Pacific, from Australia’s “Pacific step-up” to the UK’s “Indo-Pacific tilt.”
This year has seen a marked US push in the region, starting with an Oceania tour, the launching of the Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative, and US vice president Kamala Harris’s attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum. The Biden administration has now committed to reopening an embassy in the Solomon Islands, and creating embassies in Kiribati and Tonga.
But a lot of this is the US playing catch-up. It was just in 2019 that Biden made his “Pacific pledge.” China established a dialogue in 2006, and has more recently signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands. It remains to be seen if the US can build credibility and partnerships in a region it has long overlooked.
When was the last time the pound crashed?
The British pound hit a historic low against the US dollar this week after huge tax cuts were announced by Liz Truss’s new government. It’s been a bit since the pound has flirted so closely with dollar parity—in fact, the last time was when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.
In this situation, central banks often buy their home currency on foreign-exchange (FX) markets to boost it. But you need hefty reserves to do that. Building those up just hasn’t been a priority for the UK, which is the world’s fifth largest economy but only ranks 18th-largest in reserves of foreign currencies and gold.
There aren’t a lot of solutions. The Bank of England has made it clear, at least for now, that it’s not going to prop the pound. And the IMF has warned the UK that its recent fiscal package would likely threaten its monetary policy and increase inequality.
Reassessing the 9-to-5
Perhaps like many of us, you’ve started to question aspects of work that we once took for granted. Like: Why do I work five days a week when I could get just as much done in four? Could offices be designed better? Why is good feedback so hard to get, and to give?
These questions didn’t spring to our minds unbidden, but the pandemic sure gave them a push. And now, widespread change seems possible. We’re thrilled to present our new podcast, Work Reconsidered, available Oct. 6, that’ll document this moment of change. Check out the trailer and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
🎧 Listen on: Google | Spotify | Megaphone | Stitcher
✦ Our 10th birthday is the perfect time for a new podcast, but we’ve got another gift for you, too. How about six months of an annual membership, free?
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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, teen-era playlists, and James Earl Jones recordings 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, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.
Correction: Yesterday’s email incorrectly said Shinzo Abe was killed in Tokyo. The assassination took place in Nara.