🌎 Big Tech slows down

Plus: Elon Musk will probably certainly buy Twitter this week.
🌎 Big Tech slows down

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

YouTube recorded its first decline in digital ad revenue. Overall growth at the Alphabet mothership has also slowed down.

A strong dollar and lower PC sales held back Microsoft’s growth. The Seattle giant reported an 11% revenue increase, the smallest quarterly rise in five years.

General Motors reduced its electric vehicles sales target. A delay in the automaker’s battery manufacturing plans is slowing down its race to catch up with rival Tesla.

Businesses demanded mandatory disclosures of biodiversity risk. A coalition of 330 firms wrote an open letter in support of more regulation. Meanwhile, Apple set a 2030 deadline for suppliers to hit carbon neutrality.

India fined Google $113 million. Antitrust authorities hit the Android-maker with its second penalty this month for allegedly forcing third-party developers to use its in-app payment system. 

Rishi Sunak delivered his first speech as prime minister. The UK’s first non-white prime minister, and its richest, set the country’s economic crisis as top priority, and has selected a cabinet with several familiar faces.

What to watch for

Elon Musk might finally buy Twitter this week, capping a six-month saga that ruffled just a few feathers. But even as the Oct. 28 deadline to complete the $44 billion takeover looms, nothing’s over until the last Tweeter tweets.

Firstly, there is a chance Musk refuses to close the deal, and the whole thing goes to trial—a case Twitter is confident it would win. Then there’s the question of financing. The richest man in the world is getting about $13 billion through debt financing from banks and $7 billion from equity investors—should the money fall through, again, the case would head to trial.

Finally there’s the prospect of a national security review. But as these reviews usually affect deals involving foreign buyers and key US strategic interests, Musk’s Twitter takeover isn’t an obvious candidate. If a review occurred, however, it could force some backers to pull out and keep this wild ride alive.


Healthcare as a weapon of war

As peace talks to end a two-year war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region finally start in South Africa, the situation remains extreme. At least 600,000 people have been killed since the civil war broke out between local forces and the Ethiopian government, along with its allies in Eritrea.

Healthcare has been a casualty of the war, with services so disrupted in the region that there is hardly any access to treatment for common conditions. Illnesses like diabetes and hypertension “are now a death sentence in Tigray,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization and Tigray native, said on Oct. 19.

As Quartz senior reporter Annalisa Merelli explains, destruction of Ethiopia’s healthcare infrastructure is being used as a weapon of war against some 6 million people in the region.


A dead serious celebration

On Nov. 1 and 2, Mexicans will celebrate their version of All Souls and All Saints days, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Like any holiday, Day of the Dead is more complicated than it appears. Its prehispanic origins are not as clear-cut as some make them out to be. And almost from the start, the holiday has been as much an occasion to sell goods and services like masses, sweets, and more recently, Doritos, as one to commemorate deceased relatives.

Quartz’s next Weekly Obsession email will cross over into the underworld to explore the origins of the Day of the Dead, why there’s no one right way to mark it, and how it even inspired James Bond.

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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Bono ballads, and rat packs 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, Annalisa Merelli, Ana Campoy, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.