🌏 NBA dribbles, China scores

Plus: The Mormon Church hid $$$ in shell companies
Fans of LeBron James use a Chinese national flag to cover the NBA logo while attending a preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.
Fans of LeBron James use a Chinese national flag to cover the NBA logo while attending a preseason game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.
Photo: Zhong Zhi (Getty Images)

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Here’s what you need to know

Ant Group partnered with the NBA. The fintech affiliate of Alibaba will promote the North American basketball league’s content online to China’s massive fanbase.

Russia suspended its participation in the New START arms control treaty. Hours after president Vladimir Putin made the announcement, the foreign ministry said it would still abide by the pact’s cap on nuclear weapons.

Toyota will make EVs in the US. An existing factory in Kentucky, set to be refitted, aims to produce 10,000 units per month by the end of 2025.

US president Joe Biden spoke in Poland. Following a surprise visit to Kyiv, his speech reaffirmed support for Ukraine as the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion nears.

A South Korean court recognized same-sex couples’ rights for the first time. Seoul’s high court ruled same-sex partners are entitled to the same health insurance coverage as heterosexual partners.

The EU’s carbon market hit a record €100 ($106) per metric ton. It’s a milestone for one of the bloc’s key mechanisms to incentivize green investment and meet its net-zero goals.

Chinese provinces are offering 30-day paid leave to boost fertility rates. Provinces including Gansu and Shanxi are seeking to give newlyweds a nudge amid flagging birth rates. 

Amazon’s cloud unit partnered with AI firm Hugging Face. The startup is developing its own competitor to ChatGPT that will be available to Amazon Web Services customers.

What to watch for

US semiconductor manufacturer Nvidia reports earnings today (Feb. 22), and it’s not likely to be good news. Chipmakers all over are still feeling the pain of inflation-cautious consumers, rising interest rates, and China’s erstwhile zero-covid policies.

But honestly—what with ChatGPT being all the rage, and Nvidia being tapped by Microsoft to amplify AI of all sorts—who cares about the chips being down! The more people use ChatGPT, the more computing power OpenAI (ChatGPT’s creator) will require. Even if “robots chatting to you in an uncannily astute way” itself turns out to be more fad and fluff than gamechanger, the fundamentals hold the potential for huge changes in the computing industry.

And that, fellow humble non-computers, is what Wall Street is betting on.

Image for article titled 🌏 NBA dribbles, China scores
Graphic: Ananya Bhattacharya

UK companies are loving the four-day work week

In a recent pilot, 61 UK companies gave their employees a paid day off each week, and the results are in: It’s bloody brilliant.

The experiment is the world’s largest of its kind to date. Running from June to December 2022, it involved firms ranging from small, local restaurants to larger financial and tech firms. The model sought to keep productivity at the same, pre-trial level or higher for the 2,900 employees taking part, and pay was also kept the same. Two big results:

71%: Drop in feelings of burnout
65%: Reduction in sick days taken

But the model didn’t suit all participants. Nearly 10% of companies in the trial decided the five-day grind works, with smaller size being one of the factors that may make fewer work days more of a challenge for firms.

The Mormon Church hid $$$ in shell companies

Failing to disclose billions of dollars in investments isn’t too saintly, but that’s exactly what the US Securities and Exchange Commission said the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did.

The Mormon Church and its investment manager were fined for not disclosing some $32 billion in assets. The Church has said that the money is used to support its extensive missionary and philanthropy work during troubled economic times, but whistleblower allegations have cast doubt on that claim.

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