🌏 TikTok on the clock

Plus: India has a hard time getting online
Indonesian TikTok star Sandy Saputra records a video.
Indonesian TikTok star Sandy Saputra records a video.
Photo: Willy Kurniawan (Reuters)

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

TikTok is developing a parental control tool. A feature will impose a one-hour limit on the app for users under 18 (but users can easily change the new default setting).

Xi Jinping and Alexander Lukashenko spoke in Beijing. The Chinese leader met with his Belarusian counterpart, an ally of Russia, with Ukraine as a central point of discussion.

Adani Group reportedly secured a $3 billion loan. The embattled conglomerate has received the credit line from an undisclosed sovereign wealth fund, Reuters reports.

Pakistan’s inflation hit a 50-year high. Consumer prices rose 31.5% in February year on year after prices were hiked to comply with IMF loan conditions.

London’s most expensive home to-date is up for sale. A four-acre property in Regent’s Park is reportedly asking for as much as £250 million ($300 million).

What to watch for

Costco is expected to report its weakest sales growth in three years today (Mar. 2). The US big-box store chain would be joining a growing list of retailers with lackluster sales, as customers remind merchants that everything’s really expensive right now and something has to give.

Costco’s membership growth, however, may be its saving grace. The company is expected to add another 480,000 paid subscribers to its 67 million households. Increasing membership fees could be a way to compensate for slower sales, and would probably spark less outrage than raising hot dog prices.

Chief financial officer Richard Galanti has said that an increase in the membership fee was “a question of when, not if,” but that the company is in no rush to do so, opting for a wait-and-see approach. So we’ll wait and see as we slurp our pricier 20-ounce sodas.

India leads the world in internet instability

It doesn’t seem to matter that internet access is a fundamental right in India. For the fifth year in a row, the country saw its access to the World Wide Web go dark more than any other in 2022, accounting for nearly half of the world’s total shutdowns.

Image for article titled 🌏 TikTok on the clock
Graphic: Mimansa Verma

For India, shutdowns have largely centered in regions of political instability and violence, like Jammu and Kashmir. But a sudden shift to war explains why one country that didn’t even make the list in 2021 is now coming in second.

Identifying global virus strains is getting much easier

On Feb. 23, avian flu—or H5N1—killed a young girl in Cambodia. The World Health Organization (WHO) described the viral outbreak as “worrying.”

When the global health community rushed to sequence the new strain, it did so in less than a day. There’s one big reason why.

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