Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
Pakistan is at risk of defaulting on its debt. The country’s central bank doesn’t have enough foreign currency to cover even one month’s worth of imports after last autumn’s floods wiped out harvests.
Adani stocks are down 68%. The Indian conglomerate’s response to the Hindenburg allegations didn’t inspire the investor confidence it hoped for.
A major Chinese province will lift restrictions on unmarried parents. Sichuan’s health commissioner explained the move was part of an effort to increase the country’s birth rate.
America’s top diplomat visited Jerusalem. US State Department chief Anthony Blinken met with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and urged deescalation of recent violence on both sides.
Turkey is considering rejecting Sweden’s NATO bid. The two countries are mired in a diplomatic spat involving burned Qu’rans and accusations of harboring terrorists.
NATO’s secretary-general urged South Korea to give military aid to Ukraine. The nation—a major arms exporter—has made multibillion-dollar deals with Poland and the US since the Russian offensive began.
What to watch for
This week is a big one for Western central banks, as those in the US, the UK, and the euro zone are widely expected to raise benchmark interest rates to their highest levels since just before the financial crisis 15 years ago.
The Federal Reserve is forecasted to hike rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday (Feb. 1), followed by 50 basis point increases by the Bank of England and the European Central Bank on Thursday (Feb. 2). This pace marks a slowdown from last year’s aggressive hikes, as inflation cools and unemployment levels remain low.
Officials at the Fed predicted in December that they would lift rates above 5% in 2023, and then keep them elevated through the year. The anticipated hike in February would bring the federal funds to a target range of 4.5 to 4.75%.
Is your car too much of a steal?
US insurers are shying away from writing policies for car models that are easy to steal—specifically, some older Hyundai and Kia models, which are twice as likely to be stolen as other models of similar age.
What makes a car attractive to thieves?
🔐 It’s a sitting duck. Some Hyundais and Kias built between 2015 and 2019 don’t have electronic immobilizers, which means easy hotwiring.
📲 It’s trending. The TikTok account “Kia Boys” popularized breaking into Kias, taking a joyride, and abandoning the car, inspiring a hashtag that has racked up about 33 million views to date.
Both Kira and Hyundai have started giving out steering wheel locks to owners of some of these models, and Hyundai’s gone a step farther with a $170 anti-theft security kit. But with losses from theft 30 times higher since the hashtag went viral in 2021, many insurance companies just aren’t willing to chance it.
YouTube has become the world’s nanny
If you’ve got young kids and an internet connection, chances are you are all too aware of CoComelon. But the brightly colored toddlers-and-rainbows hellscape isn’t the only title keeping little eyeballs on the site. Children’s content is the biggest earner on YouTube globally.
Quartz’s Cassie Werber looks into the multibillion-dollar business of keeping the world’s youngest people glued to screens in the most effective way possible—a mostly-free childcare service, with consequences that have yet to be measured.
✦ Love stories like this? Help keep our content free and accessible to all by getting a Quartz membership. We’re offering 50% off for Daily Brief readers!
Quartz’s most popular
⏰ This one-hour exercise helps build high-performing remote teams
✈️ How powerful is your country’s passport in 2023?
🛒 Why Amazon’s grocery shoppers have to spend more for free delivery
🌍 Africans are less safe than they were a decade ago
🇮🇳 Adani has turned to nationalism to shield itself from fraud allegations
💬 How to respond when a job interviewer says “Tell me about yourself”
A food blogger illegally bought, cooked, and ate a great white shark. The Chinese government fined her more than $18,000 after she posted a video of herself in the act.
The Outback is glowing. Keep an eye out—a mining company lost a radioactive capsule somewhere in the Western Australian desert.
Apple is reportedly planning to release a foldable iPad next year. It’ll be the first time Apple has deigned to dip its toe in the handheld foldable device waters.
There’s an “Ozempic face.” Doctors are noticing a telltale lewk of sagging skin and hollow cheeks on those using the popular weight loss drug.
There’s also a “Mars bear face.” Stay alert, Man in the Moon.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, lost nonradioactive coins, and pics of a cat face on Saturn to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Diego Lasarte, Scott Nover, Ashley Webster, and Susan Howson.