🌍 A Halloween tragedy

Plus: China wants to drink FedEx's milkshake
🌍 A Halloween tragedy

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

At least 153 people died in a Seoul Halloween celebration. In the city’s neighborhood of Itaewon, a crowd stampede near a subway station turned deadly on the night of Oct. 29.

China imposed fresh covid curbs. Workers fled the world’s largest iPhone plant in Zhengzhou to escape strict new measures, while Macau ordered three days of testing and placed a resort in lockdown.

Russia suspended a deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain. Since August, grain ships have left Ukraine through the Black Sea, but Russia refuses to allow further exports, allegedly in retaliation for drone strikes upon its naval vessels.

European natural gas prices fell 40% in October. Unusually warm weather is delaying the impending energy crunch of winter. But in Europe as well as the US, a cold snap could send prices skyrocketing again.

Elon Musk is preparing to lay employees off at Twitter. Barely a day after Musk acquired the platform, rumors swirled that he would cut the workforce by 50%. Meanwhile, Kanye West’s Twitter account was reinstated.

Brazilians voted in a run-off election to choose their next president. If Jair Bolsanaro stays in office, the world’s fight against climate change will be severely handicapped (see more below).

What to watch for

As Brazilians went to the polls for the second round of the presidential election on Sunday (Oct. 30), they weren’t only choosing a new leader—they were making a decision that will influence the global fight against climate change.

Jair Bolsonaro’s past four years in power saw an increase in the rate of deforestation of the Amazon, a crucial natural sink for carbon emissions. Experts fear that another four years of Bolsonaro’s rule could irreparably damage the Amazon.

In contrast, his rival Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva presented stronger environmental credentials. His last term in power saw a decrease in Amazon deforestation, and he’s committed to policies such as carbon pricing and new financial incentives for sustainable farming.

Will Brazil’s new leader strengthen the country’s climate pledges at the UN climate summit in Egypt next month? Get updates from the event sent directly to your inbox with our Need to Know: COP27 pop up newsletter. Sign up today.

Google’s in a world of trouble

Nine out of every 10 queries on the internet go through Google, the world’s most popular search engine. With that level of market dominance, it’s no wonder Google is now getting reverse searched. Governments on every continent (minus Antarctica), have charged its parent company, Alphabet, with antitrust or privacy law violations—and in some cases levied fines in the billions of dollars.

Here’s a global overview of the ongoing legal trouble the tech giant has gotten into.

🇪🇺 EU: Officials are looking into whether Google’s anti-competitive practices have harmed app developers.

🇮🇳 India: Antitrust authorities have penalized Google for monopolizing its Play Store payment system, and for abusing its dominance in the Android ecosystem.

🇯🇵 Japan: An investigation is determining whether Google has unfairly leveraged its dominance over the markets for phones, smartwatches, and other wearables.

🇿🇦 South Africa: A competition commission has made provisional recommendations for how Google can make its paid advertising search results more transparent.

🇬🇧 UK: Alphabet faces lawsuits over anti-competitive digital advertising practices and over-pricing app store purchases.

🇺🇸 US: A lawsuit alleges the company has monopolized the ad-tech market and beat down competition by abusing its access to data.

China is taking on FedEx

Earlier this month, TikTok began advertising jobs for its foray into building a logistics and warehousing network in the US. But TikTok, China’s first truly global app, is only one part of the story. Beijing is now pushing to transform China into a “logistics superpower” (link in Chinese).

That effort is well underway. Chinese fast-fashion retailer Shein, Alibaba’s logistics firm Cainiao, and JD’s delivery arm JD logistics are muscling into the distribution and delivery space. Last year, China also launched a massive state-owned logistics conglomerate, laying the groundwork of what could be a sea change in the global logistics industry.

China’s strategy, which it has successfully applied to the electric vehicle market, is to disrupt existing industries and leapfrog legacy players. Global logistics seems ripe for the picking.

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Surprising discoveries

A Mondrian painting has been displayed upside down for 75 years. But museum authorities don’t want to hang it the right way up now, lest it fall apart.

A Pittsburgh company can put motors in your shoes. The Moonwalkers, a pair of battery-powered sneakers, can get you walking 250% faster.

A Minnesota gardener produced a jacked-up Jack-o’-Lantern. Having grown the largest pumpkin in US history, at 1,160 kg (2,250 lb), Travis Gienger carved a glowing, leering eagle out of it.

An eight-year-old boy scaled El Capitan. Sam Baker—middle name “Adventure”—went up the mountain’s sheer vertical face, but since he helped himself up with ropes, some experts say it doesn’t really count.

Swedish engineers have finally developed a “female” crash test dummy. For half a century, car safety researchers have been using a smaller version of the standard dummy based on average male height and weight.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, novelty pumpkins, and superfast shoes to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Ananya Bhattacharya, Sofia Lotto Persio, Mary Hui, Julia Malleck, Mimansa Verma, and Samanth Subramanian.