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Here’s what you need to know
Microsoft continues talks to buy TikTok. The US tech giant’s CEO Satya Nadella spoke yesterday to president Donald Trump, who has reportedly given China’s ByteDance 45 days to negotiate the sale of its video app, and is taking action on “countless” other Chinese apps.
HSBC profit plunged to almost zero. It fell 96% to just over $190 million in the second quarter of 2020, down from nearly $4.4 billion in the same period last year. The largest bank in Europe is suffering from the global economic downturn, and also low interest rates.
Major League Baseball is making changes to its health protocols. Following baseball’s return last week, several teams reported Covid-19 outbreaks, and the league and players’ union are figuring out (paywall) where they can improve.
Nobel laureate John Hume died at the age of 83. He was one of the architects of peace in Northern Ireland, and shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 with David Trimble.
One of India’s most powerful individuals is in hospital with Covid-19. Doctors in New Delhi are treating Amit Shah, the country’s interior. minister and the government’s chief strategist. The chief ministers of two major states are also in hospital as infections continue to surge across India.
The first commercial spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit returned to Earth. Two NASA astronauts from the International Space Station successfully splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico in a SpaceX capsule, two months after blasting off from Florida.
What to watch for
Monday: Poland’s top court rules on the validity of last month’s presidential election, which was won by incumbent Andrzej Duda.
Tuesday: An album containing two pages of Oscar Wilde’s answers to probing questions is expected to fetch more than £40,000 ($52,300) at a Sotheby’s auction.
Wednesday: The Sri Lankan president hopes to use the parliamentary elections to tighten his grip on power, install his brother as prime minister, and push through changes to the constitution.
Thursday: The Bank of England makes its rate decision and publishes new economic assessments.
Friday: The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon will deliver its verdict on the 2005 murder of former prime minister Rafik Hariri. The US publishes its July jobs report.
Saturday: European Union regulators decide on whether to approve Google’s pledge not to use fitness tracker maker Fitbit’s health data for its advertising.
Sunday: Belarus holds its presidential elections, as hundreds of thousands have rallied in recent weeks to show their support for opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, whose husband was barred from running and then jailed.
Charting US tech jobs
Harvard Business Review had deemed it “The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.” But the demand for data scientists is rapidly cooling. In the past week, the number of ads in the US for the role was down 43% from last year, according to Indeed. That’s more than double the rate of decline this past week for job postings overall.
The disappearance of data-scientist jobs has been especially drastic outside of the US tech hubs, with postings 51% down from a year ago. In tech hubs, there were 37% fewer jobs. According to Indeed, this pattern can be found across all tech jobs, and may be evidence that big tech companies can ride out the crisis.
✦ For members: Cannabis at a crossroads
In April 2019, the North American cannabis industry was riding high. Over the next year, the bubble would burst. Of the 40 publicly listed cannabis companies in North America worth at least $40 million, only seven saw their stock market valuation grow from April 2019 to July 2020. Twenty four lost more than half their value, and 13 were nearly wiped out. Most of this decline happened before the coronavirus sent the global economy into a tailspin.
In the early years of regulated cannabis, cowboys with ample cash and minimal expertise built a house of cards with questionable business models. Last year they came crashing down. Now, as the companies left standing struggle to recover, it’s time for them to start building sustainable enterprises that can withstand the economic and social demands of 2020 and beyond.
What might a great modern cannabis industry look like? And how might it be prevented from exacerbating the inequality and exploitation already rampant in American capitalism? Find out in our field guide to cannabis at a crossroads.
✦ Access all of our articles, presentations, field guides, and workshops by signing up for a Quartz membership.
Greece opened an underwater museum. Visitors can scuba dive to examine an ancient shipwreck, which sank in the 5th century BC.
Spanish police recovered a haul of ancient treasure. An alleged looter had posted images of the archaeological items online, including a Phoenician earring that could be some 3,200-years-old.
Business executives are bonding over video games. Tired of conference calls, some are turning to the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Animal Crossing.
Amazon is making more money from coronavirus than Christmas. The retail giant’s last quarter surpassed the $87.4 billion in sales(✦ Quartz membership exclusive) it recorded last year during the holidays.
The male anglerfish is the ocean’s equivalent of a boyfriend that won’t leave. To enable its hookups, the male can fuse permanently with a female host.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, gaming meetings, and sunken museums to email@example.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Michelle Cheng, Jackie Bischof, Jenni Avins, and Max Lockie.