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🌎 Housing headache

Home sales in the US plunged to a 15-year low.

In an aerial view, single family homes are shown in a residential neighborhood on May 10, 2022 in Miami, Florida. New published data has hinted at improvement in the supply of homes for sale as April's numbers show inventory down 12 percent from the same month last year, the smallests yearly decline since the end of 2019.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
This story was published on our Quartz Daily Brief newsletter, the concise, conversational rundown you need to start your day
  • Sofia Lotto Persio
By Sofia Lotto Persio

Newsletter writer and editor

Published

GOOD MORNING, QUARTZ READERS!*


Here’s what you need to know

Home sales in the US plunged to a 15-year low. The housing market conditions are terrible for both sellers and buyers.

Twitter faces massive job cuts under Elon Musk. As much as 75% of the workforce faces layoffs if the deal goes through. The Biden administration is also reportedly considering security reviews of some of the SpaceX founders’ ventures, including the Twitter takeover.

Chess grandmaster Hans Niemann sued Magnus Carlsen for $100 million. The chess cheating allegations drama is now headed to court.

Google was hit with a $162 million fine in India. The tech giant, which was found to engage in anti-competitive practices, is also facing a lawsuit in Texas over improper user data collection.

Snap launched a $500 million share repurchase program. The company reported its slowest-ever quarterly revenue growth, hit by a digital advertising slump that’s dragging down major tech companies

The White House’s student debt relief plan survived two legal challenges. The Supreme Court refused to block the program, while a federal court tossed out a Republican states-led lawsuit.

Coca plant cultivation in Colombia grew by 43% in 2021. It’s the highest growth rate the UN has recorded in two decades, reversing three years of reduction.


What to watch for

The year is 2022 and Taylor Swift is banking on potentially record-setting vinyl sales.

Taylor Swift is releasing four different vinyl editions of her new album Midnights for $29.99 each. Each edition features art that, if combined together, forms a clock—and Swift is selling a $49 kit for super-fans who want to spend close to $200 assembling the clock-as-wall art.

Vinyl is undoubtedly having a moment. Streaming subscription services such as Spotify rake in about 68% of industry revenue, but vinyl is the most popular format for people purchasing music. In 2021, vinyl outsold CDs for the first time in three decades. CDs sales also increased last year, and Swift took notice. She’s releasing four editions of her album on CD, too.

Taylor Swift’s new album, Midnights, is likely not just another blockbuster for Miss Americana herself, but also a bellwether for a music industry where everything old is new again.


Loss in Truss

The UK is about to undergo its second prime minister switch in less than four months. There’re a lot of questions that remain unanswered, with the big one being who’ll succeed Liz Truss. Ex-chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak is a favorite, but a Boris Johnson boomerang isn’t impossible.

We’ve compiled a reading list to get you ready for next week’s leadership contest:

📅 Recap: A six-week timeline of turmoil under Truss

🗳 Why the UK can’t easily call a general election

📉 In freaking out, the UK markets did their job

🧐 What the UK should do instead of tax cuts

🥬 Will the next PM outlive a head of lettuce? 

✦ That’s not all—Quartz members will get an exclusive deep dive into the aftermath of Truss’s rise and fall in our next Weekend Brief. Sign up for a membership today to get the email this Saturday, along with a 50% discount, on us.


“Make in India” has a long way to go

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has pushed his “Make in India” initiative for the past eight years, trying to wean the country off its dependence on China-made goods. But even after billions of rupees in investments, Modi’s hard sought self-reliance has failed to materialize as China’s trade surplus with India has now exceeded $1 trillion.

India is still a long way off from its target, which seems to only be moving farther away.

30%: Increase in India’s imports from China in the past five years

$125.6 billion: Bilateral trade in 2021, which crossed the $100 billion threshold for the first time

$97.5 billion: Portion of 2021 bilateral trade that constituted India’s imports from China



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Surprising discoveries

2,700-year-old rock carvings were found in Iraq. They were unearthed by the city gates to the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.

McDonald’s toys have $300,000 price tags on eBay. Collectors are really lovin’ the new adult Happy Meal items.

Students in the Philippines made some A+ anti-cheating headgear. Egg carton caps are the hottest thing this fall/winter exam season.

A Victorian railway tunnel has become a motorsports hotspot. It’s the perfect place to test out aerodynamics.

Bionic noses are nothing to sneeze at. The neuroprosthetic could help people recover their sense of smell.


Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Grimace dolls, and Victorian tunnel maps to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Sofia Lotto Persio, Scott Nover, Julia Malleck, Niharika Sharma, and Morgan Haefner.

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