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TikTok plans to sue the US government. The app, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said on Saturday that it will file a lawsuit this week challenging Donald Trump’s executive order, which would effectively ban TikTok if it doesn’t sell its US operations to an American company.
China has been testing Covid-19 vaccines on high-risk groups. Workers in industries like healthcare and transportation have received doses of experimental vaccines in a bid to boost the immunity of those most likely to catch and spread the virus. Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea banned Chinese miners from entering the country over concerns about the vaccine trials.
India’s Supreme Court sparked a free-speech controversy. In a case widely seen as a test of India’s free-speech protections, the court found prominent civil-rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for posting tweets critical of the country’s top judges. India currently has the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in the world.
China and South Korea came to the table… High-level officials met in Busan to discuss trade, stalled denuclearization talks with North Korea, and the pandemic for the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak late last year.
…As Covid-19 cases in South Korea surged. On Sunday, the country reported its highest daily rise in Covid-19 cases since March and said it would toughen social distancing guidelines. A major outbreak was linked to a church in Seoul that plans to sue city officials for enforcing contact-tracing in ways it says violated its right to free worship.
What to watch for
Monday: China’s ChiNext exchange debuts a new IPO-style system with increased trading limits, Singapore’s new parliament opens, and the Republican National Convention in the US kicks off.
Tuesday: China’s top political advisory body meets to come up with a five-year national development plan, Virgin Atlantic’s bailout package faces a crunch vote at London’s High Court, and Best Buy, Salesforce, and Nordstrom report earnings.
Wednesday: Taiwanese government officials and the US jointly host a forum on protecting 5G wireless communication while Box, Tiffany, and Williams-Sonoma release earnings.
Thursday: Central bankers gather for the first virtual Jackson Hole conference, including a keynote speech from Fed chair Jerome Powell, and Donald Trump accepts the Republican presidential nomination at the White House; economic ministers from 15 mostly Southeast-Asian nations meet to finalize the details of a regional free trade deal.
Friday: Chinese banks report half-yearly earnings while Chinese airlines report earnings, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis releases US personal income and spending data.
Obsession Interlude: Fixing capitalism
What does it mean to be obsessed with fixing capitalism? We asked deputy finance and economics editor Ana Campoy to explain it to us like we’re five…a very worldly five:
Capitalism has proven to be the most effective way to generate wealth—though far from evenly. Just ask the low-wage workers for whom going to work is now a life hazard, or no longer an option. While the pandemic has underscored the shortfalls of the world’s current iteration of capitalism (see just-in-time supply chain debacles and unequal access to healthcare, green spaces, the internet), there were plenty of signs the system was askew before Covid-19 hit. We saw it in the election of populist politicians who appealed to the economically dissatisfied. We also saw it when failures in the financial sector sunk the world into the Great Recession. We see it in the pervasive inequality between the rich and the poor among and within countries, and in our inability to put a meaningful dent on greenhouse gas emissions.
All this doesn’t mean capitalism has to be scrapped—some of its toughest critics are free marketeers. But there’s increasingly a sense, even among its biggest beneficiaries, that the current system has to be rejiggered if it is to survive.
Our Fixing Capitalism obsession is about pinpointing the rough spots, analyzing the forces behind them, and looking at potential solutions.
Here’s how to read more:
- Who’s winning the battle for stakeholder capitalism?
- India has officially “unlocked” but its economy is still in shackles
Charting US liquor imports during Covid-19
US liquor imports have fallen off the table.
In the second quarter of 2020, the US brought in about $1.8 billion in liquor from abroad, down from $2.5 billion in 2019, a fall of nearly 30%. This is due to three main factors, according to spirits industry veteran Adam Levy. One, bars and restaurants across the US are either closed or seeing fewer customers due to Covid-19, impacting demand. Two, the Trump administration slapped a 25% tariff on European-made liquors in October 2019, which made importing these liquors more expensive. And three, Levy believes the rising quality and variety of US-made liquors have made Americans less likely to look to foreign brands.
Is studying at a US university still worth it?
Around 1 million students from around the world—led by students from China and India—poured onto US campuses last year to get a dose of American culture and education. The country has consistently ranked as the most popular destination for international students due to the quality of its teaching, cultural appeal, revered and historic universities, and job prospects after graduating, especially in the tech sector. Some international students who go there want to build a life abroad, because they believe the standard of living is higher in the west. Some are mid-career professionals, who want to give their career and salaries a boost.
The country benefits enormously from this exchange, says Rebecca Morgan, senior director of media relations and advocacy at NAFSA. “International students and scholars create jobs, drive innovation, enrich our classrooms, strengthen national security, and become America’s greatest foreign policy assets,” she said. “They also bring countless cultural and academic benefits to US campuses and communities.”
But foreign students currently considering whether to study in the US face a cocktail of concerns, from racism, to uncertainty around visa and job prospects after graduation, to the country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more in our field guide to higher ed going remote.
✦ Even if your student days are behind you, reading Quartz’s global news coverage ensures you’ll keep learning every day. Get 50% off your first year as a member by using code “SUMMERSALE.”
Gamers are using Flight Simulator to visit Jeffrey Epstein’s lair. Players are using the Microsoft game to fly to the digital version of the convicted sex offender’s private island in Little St. James.
Japan is running out of credit card numbers. Issuing companies say 16-digit combinations are in short supply as people stay in and shop online due to the pandemic.
Ikea Taiwan gets an Animal Crossing makeover. The furniture behemoth took to Facebook to reveal a version of its 2021 catalog that features the game’s iconic characters.
UK scientists “digitally unwrapped” mummified animals. New 3D scanners allowed the researchers to see how a 2,000-year-old snake, bird, and cat lived and died.
A Japanese museum is curating the pandemic. The Historical Museum of Urahoro is collecting everyday items to tell future generations about what it was like to live through Covid-19.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, imported whiskies, and mummified birds to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Annabelle Timsit, Sarah Todd, Jackie Bischof, and Dan Kopf.