Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
China changed its tune on the covid mRNA vaccine. Beijing approved the first homegrown vaccine of its kind as it looks to jumpstart its flailing economy.
The Federal Reserve hiked its key interest rate. The quarter-point increase signals that the Fed thinks recent panic in the banking sector will be contained.
Starbucks employees at 100 US stores went on strike. Workers welcomed new CEO Laxman Narasimhan with a walkout ahead of the company’s annual meeting today.
Being gay was criminalized in Uganda. The country’s parliament passed a bill proposing jail time, and in some cases the death penalty, for LGBTQ people.
A glimpse of Russia’s new energy dominance in China
There were a lot of chummy exchanges between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week. If deeds do indeed speak louder than words, then the growing energy trade between China and Russia only underpins the two countries’ evolving—and ever more complicated—relationship.
TikTok’s CEO will testify
TikTok chief Shou Zi Chew appears before the US Congress today. He’ll be grilled on:
🛡️ TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices
🧒 The platform’s impact on kids
🇨🇳 TikTok’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party
Chew has a plan to persuade lawmakers that any proposed bans are unnecessary, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to dissuade their waning trust in the app.
Who are the IMF’s top debtors?
Ukraine just got the International Monetary Fund’s first war-time loan. But the country is far from new to going to the IMF for money—in fact, it’s one of the organization’s top debtors.
✦ Love stories like this? Help keep our content free and accessible to all by becoming a member. Daily Brief readers get 50% off.
Quartz’s most popular
🐄 Milk prices are soaring in India
🕰️ How time became money—and what it should be instead
🐓 Rich countries are all set to hoard bird flu vaccines that don’t even exist yet
🎮 GameStop posted its first profitable quarter in two years
🚀 Is $200 million enough to save Virgin Orbit?
💪 Putin is strengthening the yuan’s role as Russia’s foreign currency of choice
For sale: A vintage Silicon Valley Bank Christmas sweater. It could’ve been yours for $35.
The Writers Guild of America will let AI author screenplays. Writers would still have to get credit, even if they just polished up a generated piece.
Beethoven’s genome was sequenced. A lock of hair showed that liver problems—surely exacerbated by his midday liter of wine—likely contributed to his death.
An endangered turtle became a father at 90 years old. Congrats, Mr. Pickles!
Father of capitalism Adam Smith never mentioned “capitalism” once in his writing. Learn more about the misconceptions surrounding the Scottish economist’s foundational ideas in the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.
🎧 Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher
👀 Or, read the transcript!
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, robots writing movies about robots, and turtle bassinets to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Morgan Haefner.