🌎 Ajay Banga tapped for World Bank

Plus: Microsoft’s big Bing theory
Ajay Banga speaks during a press conference at the National Press Club on Dec. 17, 2018
Ajay Banga speaks during a press conference at the National Press Club on Dec. 17, 2018
Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The US nominated Ajay Banga as new World Bank chief. President Joe Biden believes the former Mastercard CEO has the right skill set to tackle challenges like climate change and poverty.

Ozy founder Carlos Watson was arrested and charged with fraud. The media entrepreneur is accused of impersonating media executives to secure millions in funding from investors.

Tennessee is restricting drag performers. A new law seeks to ban “male or female impersonators” from performing in public places and around children.

A judge approved a plan to kill nearly 150 wild cows grazing on public land. New Mexico park rangers may begin their controversial operation, which involves shooting the animals from a helicopter, as soon as this week.

Netflix slashed subscription prices around the globe. The streaming platform made subscriptions cheaper in over 30 countries in a bid to beat out competitors.

Three Pemex facilities in the US and Mexico reported fires on the same day. The Mexico City-based state-owned oil company said five people were missing and eight injured in the accidents.

What to watch for

Africa’s most populous country heads to the polls on Saturday, Feb. 25, to pick its next president. It is Nigeria’s most unpredictable election since the country gained independence in 1960. Here are the frontrunners:

  • Former Lagos governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressive Congress;
  • Former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, who’s making his sixth presidential bid; and
  • Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate and the race’s dark horse, who has won support among digitally savvy voters collectively known as the “Obidients.”

Missing from the ballot are Nigerian women, who struggle for representation in their home country despite reaching top jobs in international organizations. Add gender equality, then, to the next Nigerian leader’s priorities, along with corruption, poverty, and security. And the killing of a Labour Party senatorial candidate on Wednesday shows the threat of violence during this election season cannot be underestimated.

Microsoft’s big Bing theory

If you’re only dimly aware of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, that’s because by the time it launched in 2009, Google had long since become synonymous with search. But the new Bing, launched earlier this month, hopes to turn some heads with powerful AI capabilities that go beyond providing links.

In 2019, Microsoft partnered with OpenAI, the research company behind ChatGPT and DALL-E, in a deal that would boost the tech and reach of both companies’ efforts in artificial intelligence.

If the new Bing is successful, it could reshape Microsoft’s other offerings, such as the company’s support desks or its Outlook email platform. Can Microsoft unseat Google as the queen of search, or are the two giants competing over the next frontier of technology?

Further reading:
🔬 How 10 industries are experimenting with ChatGPT

💱 ChatGPT could be used for economics research in all sorts of ways

Get your headphones ready

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Now we’re gearing up for season 4, and you won’t want to miss out on our deep dives into topics like fusion power, space surveillance, and mushroom leather.

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🛡️ Europe has spent more than $800 billion shielding citizens from the energy crisis

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Surprising discoveries

You can now walk on dry land to an island in Italy… San Biagio has reconnected with the shore of Lake Garda, thanks to a historic drought.

… while the City of Water is drying up. Venetian canals have been reduced to puddles due to lack of rain.

LA’s trendiest art spot is super dead. Grave Gallery rests on a burial plot in Hollywood Forever cemetery.

A wrestling competition was held on a moving streetcar. Students in Japan’s Aichi prefecture wanted to add some punch to their graduation festivities.

Just an hour of walking daily could help you live longer. One Japanese study finds 5,000 to 7,000 steps per day can give a vital boost.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, recommended walking routes, and undesired streetcars to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Zach Seward, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Susan Howson.