🌎 I spy with my little eye: sanctions

Plus: Climate lawsuits are getting personal
🌎 I spy with my little eye: sanctions

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The US is mulling sanctions over the Chinese spy balloon. Companies that supplied parts to Beijing’s suspected surveillance program could face repercussions.

Ending the Yeezy deal left Adidas with a billion-dollar problem. The German sportswear giant faces its first loss in more than three decades if the stock is left unsold.

Yahoo is laying off more than 20% of its workforce. A majority of the cuts will target its 1,600-strong ad tech unit, according to Axios.

Trafigura braced for a half-billion dollar loss. The commodity trader launched a lawsuit alleging it was defrauded by a metals trader that, instead of nickel, delivered containers carrying lower-value materials.

General Motors signed a deal to secure a US-based supply of chips. GlobalFoundries will manufacture the semiconductors at its upstate New York facilities, helping the automaker control costs for the critical component.

Nicaragua deported 222 freed political prisoners to the US. The group included opposition leader Juan Sebastian Chamorro and former presidential hopeful Felix Maradiaga.

What to watch for

Rihanna, who is headlining the Super Bowl LVII halftime show this Sunday (Feb. 12), will become its first woman billionaire star. With an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion, largely coming from her business ventures in fashion and cosmetics, she is the world’s wealthiest performer—a more than fitting headliner for the most-watched television event in the US.

Here’s what else is making this year’s game one to watch:

🏈 The match up between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs is the first Super Bowl to feature two Black quarterbacks, Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes.

👬 It is also the first Super Bowl game to feature two brothers going head-to-head, Jason and Travis Kelce.

🍺 Budweiser parent company Anheuser-Busch has given up its exclusive advertising rights to the game, opening up the ad floodgates for beer and spirits brands for the first time in more than three decades.

What’s going on in East Palestine, Ohio?

On Feb. 6, an apocalyptic plume of gas rose over the village of East Palestine, Ohio, blotting out the sky. Norfolk Southern, a multibillion-dollar railway company responsible for the toxic spew of vinyl chloride, has now offered a $25,000 donation to assist the area’s nearly 5,000 residents who were ordered to evacuate their homes, or face death.

It all went off the rails, quite literally, on Feb. 3 when a Norfolk Southern tanker train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed and burst into flames.The derailment was reportedly due to a mechanical problem, but some are blaming the incident on weak safety regulations and the company’s cost-cutting measures.

Residents have now been told it’s safe to return home after air and water tests, but doubts remain. Dead fish and chickens have been found in the area, and if past incidents are any indication, vinyl chloride could harm residents’ health and the environment for years to come.

Climate lawsuits are getting personal

The directors of oil giant Shell found out yesterday that some of its investors are much more into personalized lawsuits than candy hearts.

A group of lawyer investors in the UK directly accused Shell’s 11 board leaders, including CEO Wael Sawan, of mismanaging climate change risk. Suing board directors personally may be a new line of attack from activists who argue that oil companies are causing irreparable harm to the Earth—but it’s also just the latest in an ongoing battle that has become increasingly sophisticated.

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Surprising discoveries

India wants everyone to hug a cow. Forget chocolates and flowers, Valentine’s Day is for smooching moo-ers.

Some workers are loving layoffs. The end of the 9-5 grind is a relief for a small but vocal group of employees hit by job cuts.

Pete Davidson helped Taco Bell sell more breakfast. The fast food chain credited a 9% increase in its morning sales to an ad featuring the comedian.

New Zealand police caught three tons of cocaine floating at sea. Authorities estimated the haul could supply their domestic market for 30 years—while in Australia, it’d last about 365 days.

There’s light in the solar system coming from nowhere. After accounting for all the known sources of light, a glow equivalent to 10 fireflies in a dark room remains unexplained.

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