🌎 The Title 42 limbo

Plus: Who wants to be the next chief Twit?
🌎 The Title 42 limbo

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The Supreme Court has blocked the expiration of Title 42. The immigration policy will now remain in place until the justices consider the Republican-led states’ emergency application.

The US House Jan. 6 committee recommended criminal charges be brought against Donald Trump. It’s the first time that lawmakers have taken such actions against a former president.

Epic Games agreed to pay $520 million to settle two lawsuits. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the video maker violated children’s privacy and coerced in-app purchases.

Meta is delaying the completion of its Within Unlimited acquisition. The deal is currently subject to an FTC lawsuit. Meanwhile, the EU hit Meta with antitrust charges over Marketplace’s exclusive links to its Facebook social network.

France fined Apple $1 million over its app store practices. The ruling comes ahead of a new EU law that will require the iPhone maker to allow access to competitors app stores on its devices.

Lucid raised a $1.5 billion equity offering. Nearly $1 billion came from the sale of about 86 million shares of the electric vehicle maker to its largest shareholder, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Honeywell settled corruption cases for about $160 million. US regulators found in separate probes the manufacturer bribed an oil executive at Brazil’s Petrobras and an Algerian government official.

What to watch for

The curtains are about to close on 2022’s IPOs—and it’s all quite anti-climatic.

Alphavest, the blank cheque company (a.k.a. SPAC) that registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 4, is launching what it hopes to be a $60 million IPO on Nasdaq today (Dec. 20). The company, which aims to target businesses in Asia (excluding those with China operations), is one of the last sizable IPOs in a year that hit a three-decade-low for stock market debuts.

Companies hesitated to go public via SPAC, or otherwise this year, as global market instability and interest rate hikes shrank investor appetite. This wait-and-see approach is expected to last through the first half of 2023. But companies that eyed an IPO in 2022 should have enough breathing room to hold off for now on going public—that is, if they managed their funds raised in 2020 and 2021.

Chief Twit no longer?

The tweets have been tweeted, the polls have been polled, and the results are in: The Twitterdees and Twitterdums have voted the chief Twit out. On Dec. 18, Elon Musk asked users on the social media platform, via poll, if he ought to step down. And the internet spoke: 57% of respondents said “yes.”

Musk said he would heed the public’s decision—but it’s not like the CEO (x3) has never gone back on his word. Should he vacate the highest Twitter roost, the question is who will take his place, and from where Musk might perch next.

In the meantime, here’s a roundup of some notable chapters in Musk’s time so far as CEO of the internet’s town square.

✈️ Jetting off “free speech”

🥣 Stirring the Twitter rage pot

🍏 Taking a bite out of Apple

☑️ One check, two check, Twitter Blue check

The world’s biggest carbon market is getting bigger

European Union lawmakers have agreed to reform the bloc’s carbon market to not only speed up the EU’s decarbonization efforts, but also create the necessary conditions for the bloc’s carbon market to reach beyond its own borders.

The world’s various carbon markets—in Europe, Canada, the US, China, and elsewhere—are disconnected, and carbon border tariffs could spark retaliatory trade wars. But in the long term, the global economy is clearly traveling toward universal, inescapable carbon pricing—so the earlier companies can cut their carbon footprints, the more of a competitive edge they’ll have in the future.

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Surprising discoveries

You can now talk to Alexa via toilet. The smart loo experience is yours in all its automated glory for just $11,500.

“Still Life With Bread and Eggs” contains some secret Cézanne-ing. A self-portrait of the French artist has been found beneath the original painting.

Salads got trippy in Australia. Retail chain Woolworths has recalled bags of “hallucinogenic” spinach.

Great Barrier Reef coral was put on ice. Freezing the marine invertebrates’ larvae could help with future rewilding efforts.

Black bears can be brown. Don’t be fooled by the American black bear which can have a cinnamon-colored coat.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, smart toilets, and trippy spinach 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, Diego Lasarte, Tim McDonnell, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.