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Here’s what you need to know
US president Joe Biden extended Republicans a hand while drawing his battle lines. His first State of the Union speech to a divided Congress mentioned the areas where the parties could come together or fight over in the next two years.
Texas sued the Biden administration over pharmacies’ obligation to fill prescriptions for abortifacient drugs. The state took aim at medicines that can be used to end a pregnancy. One of these drugs, mifepristone, is the subject of a separate Texas case that seeks a nationwide ban on its sale.
Zoom announced layoffs and executive pay cuts. The software company is eliminating 1,300 roles as CEO Eric Yuan slashed his salary by 98%.
Microsoft launched an AI update to Bing. The search engine has been integrated with the technology behind ChatGPT as the tech giant takes on Google’s market dominance.
Glacier lake floods threaten Asian and South American countries. A new study warned up to 15 million people could be affected by catastrophic floods if lakes formed by melting glaciers burst their dams.
LeBron James became the NBA’s highest-scoring player. Having scored 38,390 points in his career so far, the Lakers star beat the record held by another Lakers legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, since 1984.
What to watch for
Investors are getting ready to complete Bob Iger’s first scorecard since he returned to the helm of Disney, which posts its fourth-quarter earnings today (Feb. 8).
Iger, who was CEO from 2005 to 2020, made a surprise comeback in the aftermath of a bleak earnings report last quarter, when the company’s stock price took a dive and subscriber growth for the Disney+ streaming service stalled. If one were feeling poetic, one could style the returning leader as the prince to the company’s Sleeping Beauty—since Iger’s return, Disney has since upped subscription prices and launched a cheaper ad-supported tier. He’s also been much more open to licensing Disney content to competitors, a reversal of his predecessor’s streaming strategy.
Iger will also likely ride the wave of Avatar: The Way of Water. The James Cameron sequel didn’t exactly flood the Oscar nominations to the extent of the original, but, seeing as it’s the highest-grossing box office hit of 2022 and the fourth-highest grossing film of all time, does anyone holding the purse strings actually care?
Adani’s man in London
Since Adani Group was accused of pervasive fraud two weeks ago, the Indian billionaire’s sprawling business empire has been under intense scrutiny. One piece of the puzzle lies in London, where a man sits at the center of all UK operations: Sanjay Newatia.
The ex-Credit Suisse banker is the director of no less than 56 active subsidiaries of Adani Energy Holdings. He also runs a “bespoke consultancy” called SKN Advisors—a firm that showed up in a cache of documents leaked out of offshore service providers in 2021 called the Pandora Papers.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To dive deeper, we’ve got the reading list for you:
😨 Adani has been accused of pulling “the largest con in corporate history”
🤔 Who is behind Hindenburg, the research firm targeting the Adani group?
😰 Adani has turned to nationalism to shield itself from fraud allegations
😬 After canceling its share sale, Adani will have to rein in its spending
The rain in Spain falls mainly on the… pigs?
Spain dominates pork production in Europe. Taking off in the 1980s, the industry is mostly concentrated in Catalonia, Aragon, and Castile and Leon, and has transformed the regions.
The country’s also third in the world for pork production, and global demand has only been increasing: in 2021, pig slaughtering was up 40% for Spain from a decade earlier. But not all Spaniards are thrilled about the uptick in porcine production. Quartz’s Michelle Cheng explains why.
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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, whisky night cream, and the will of a woodpecker 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, Sofia Lotto Persio, Michelle Cheng, Samanth Subramanian, Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, and Susan Howson.