🌍 Chip controls

Plus: Your dog and cat can finally help pay rent
US President Joe Biden listens to members of the press shout questions as he meets with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands in the Oval Office of the White House on January 17, 2023.
US President Joe Biden listens to members of the press shout questions as he meets with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands in the Oval Office of the White House on January 17, 2023.
Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The US imposed chip curbs on Macau. The Biden administration expanded controls as it seeks to prevent the export of technology from the region to other parts of China.

Microsoft is planning to cut thousands of jobs. The tech giant could lay off as much as 5% of its staff, reports Sky News, amid a global economic downturn.

China recorded its first drop in population since 1961. Adding to its economic concerns, the country also reported zero GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Top military officers from the US and Ukraine met face-to-face. The first in-person meeting between the two generals comes as Russia’s invasion nears the one-year mark.

NetEase refused to extend its tie-up with Activision Blizzard. The Chinese tech company cited “non-reciprocity” as a reason to end its licensing agreement with the US game developer.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company Ineos wants to buy Manchester United. The British billionaire previously failed in a bid to buy football club Chelsea last year.

What to watch for

Elon Musk’s tweeting choices are about to face the judgment of a jury of his peers. In 2018, the Tesla CEO tweeted he intended to take the company private, causing wild swings in its share price that ultimately cost shareholders millions when it became clear the deal wasn’t happening.

Now, Musk could pay millions of dollars in damages if he loses in a trial that started yesterday (Jan. 17) in San Francisco.

Here are some figures about the case.

$420 per share: Price at which Musk claimed he was taking Tesla private—almost a 20% premium on its trading price at the time

$40 million: Total fines Musk and Tesla agreed to pay in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which found the tweets lacked “an adequate basis in fact”

82%: Share of the 200 jury candidates who said they had an unfavorable opinion of Musk in a pre-trial questionnaire

Your dog and cat can finally help pay rent

Gif: Giphy

PetSmart is on the prowl for a pooch and a cat that have “an immense dedication to play, rigorous toy reviewing abilities, and a willingness to sample the newest of culinary treats.”

A pet with such traits perfectly matches the job description for the American pet store chain’s first-ever chief toy tester, which, at its core, is a glorified advertising gig for pet owners.

One dog and one cat will be selected to hold the title for one year, each with a take-home pay of $10,000 and a plethora of toys and treats. In exchange, owners of the chosen chief toy testers will be required to create and upload product content and videos. Think unboxing Instagram reels, just with a lot more fur.

“It’s a ruff job, but someone has to do it,” the retailer said.

Davos dispatch: The Mooch vs. SBF

At the World Economic Forum’s blockchain hub, a pavilion on Davos’s promenade, a fireside chat had barely begun when Anthony Scaramucci brought the fire.

“Are we gonna talk about FTX?” asked Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital and, for 10 days in 2017, the Trump White House’s spokesperson. “Someone was calling it FUX.”

Last September, FTX Ventures, run by Sam Bankman-Fried, bought a 30% stake in SkyBridge for $50 million. Scaramucci, who considered Bankman-Fried a friend, said the downfall of FTX underlined the need for more regulation of the industry, but did not spell the downfall of blockchain or crypto.

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Surprising discoveries

Age reversal may require a cellular reboot. Two studies have found Yamanaka factors can roll back signs of aging in mice.

Dancing in Swedish establishments requires a permit. But the current government is looking to scrap that rule for certain venues.

Echidnas blow bubbles for one cool reason. The Australian monotremes use evaporation from their beaks to release heat.

ChatGPT got shortlisted for a job. Its essay on good writing got the AI into the top 20% of applicants.

Canned tuna is all the rage. Strike one square off the Quartz 2023 bingo card.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, illegal dance moves, and canned fish on crackers to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Heather Landy, Ananya Bhattacharya, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.

Correction: In Monday’s Daily Brief, we erroneously referred to Uganda as a West African nation. It is indeed in the east, and we’re going back to geography 101.