Amazon’s loophole, GameStop hearing, Pokémon jeans

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a company event in India in January 2020.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at a company event in India in January 2020.
Image: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis

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Here’s what you need to know

Amazon worked around laws meant to help India’s small retailers. Reuters obtained company documents containing plans to skirt regulators.

The US charged three North Korean government hackers. The men were allegedly behind the 2014 Sony hack, the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attacks, and bank heists totaling more than $1.2 billion.

A US Chamber of Commerce report laid out the consequences of aggravating China. The worst-case scenarios could result in billions of dollars of lost sales and hundreds of thousands of job cuts for US companies.

A female Indian journalist won a high-profile #MeToo case. Priya Ramani, who was among several women accusing ex-government minister MJ Akbar of sexual harassment, was cleared of defaming him.

Brazil said China’s Sinovac vaccine is effective against the UK and South Africa variants. Officials didn’t offer specific details on just how effective.

India is ready to try again on a US trade package. The country’s trade minister failed to reach an agreement with the previous administration.

Facebook will ban the sharing of news content in Australia. It’s a response to a proposed law requiring tech companies to pay publishers. Meanwhile, Google made a deal with News Corp to do just that.

What to watch for

The US Congress is holding a hearing to discuss the GameStop saga, in which an army of retail investors conspired on Reddit’s WallStreetBets channel to take on hedge funds that were betting against the video game retailer.

We canvassed experts and armchair traders to come up with key questions for the crew in the hot seats. Read the full list.

🤑  To Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev: Why was Robinhood unable to come up with the funds when other brokerages apparently had the cash to allow trading to continue?

😳  To Reddit CEO Steve Huffman: What steps has your site taken to prevent users from taking advantage of it to manipulate stocks and other assets?

🙀  To social-media influencer Steve Gill (a.k.a. “Roaring Kitty”): Did you suspect that retail traders would be able to force a squeeze? Also, what’s your next deep-value trade?

Charting China’s need for Hollywood

China first accepted Hollywood movies into its country to boost its own film ambitions, hoping the rising tide created by the US film industry’s funding and expertise could lift all boats. It worked—China became Hollywood’s second biggest source of revenue.

But those boats are floating: Even before the pandemic, China’s homegrown film industry was depending less and less on Hollywood to put moviegoers into theater seats. Now it may not need Hollywood at all.

A chart showing the decreasing share of Chinese box office revenue going to Hollywood.

Watch this!

India’s dating apps are trying to grow by appealing to users’ Indianness. The apps ask questions that would be of particular interest to Indian users, such as about horoscopes or families, and appeal to changing cultural norms by empowering daters to find matches on their own terms. One app, called Aisle, even created an ad campaign as a nod to the “Indian way of dating.”

The “one by two” soup share, for instance, is an old thrifty Indian trick large families would use at restaurants to pay less for a meal. Aisle sees it as one way to kick off a new romance.

Read more about how India’s dating apps are helping people date in small towns.

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Surprising discoveries

Levi’s made a Pokémon-printed jacket/jeans combo. Celebrate the franchise’s 25th anniversary in style.

Scientists sequenced the oldest DNA ever found. It belongs to a mammoth that’s at least a million years old.

Opera singers are teaching Covid sufferers how to breathe. The exercises are designed to help those with lingering symptoms.

CT scans revealed the cause of death of a 3,600-year-old pharaoh. Seqenenre Tao II was likely killed in an “execution ceremony” after being captured in battle.

Wanted: Astronauts with physical disabilities. The European Space Agency is recruiting candidates for a project that could make space more accessible.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mammoth teeth, and questionably cool jackets to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by John Detrixhe, Adam Epstein, Manavi Kapur, Susan Howson, and Liz Webber.