Draghi takes charge, 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

Mario Draghi takes charge in Italy. The former head of the European central bank should easily win a second confidence vote today. Now all the new prime minister has to do is get Italy out of a recession.

The UK’s Brexit negotiator is the point person for EU relations. David Frost joined the UK cabinet as a direct line between prime minister Boris Johnson and Europe.

The US Chamber of Commerce tallied the cost of a full decoupling from China. Aimed at Biden administration policy, the worst-case scenarios point to tens of billions of dollars of lost sales for US companies.

Amazon worked around laws meant to help India’s small retailers. A lobby for small businesses is saying “told you so” after Reuters published internal company documents showing the extent to which the tech giant’s policies allowed large sellers to dominate.

Facebook blocked 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.

A Chinese Covid-19 vaccine is coming to Hong Kong… The first doses could arrive tomorrow, after the city waived a requirement for Sinovac to publish final trial data in a peer-reviewed journal.

…while 130 countries haven’t received a single vaccine dose. And just 10 countries have used 75% of doses administered so far.

The Perseverance is landing. NASA’s Mars rover aims to touch down in the red planet’s Jezero Crater later tonight (afternoon US time).

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 from future of finance reporter John Detrixhe.

🤑  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 some boats are sinking: Even before the pandemic, China’s homegrown film industry was depending less and less on Hollywood to put moviegoers in theater seats. Now it may not need Hollywood at all, Adam Epstein, on the streaming beat, explains.

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, Aisle, built an ad around the “Indian way of dating” with a nod to a thrifty trick families have long used at restaurants. The ad portrays the “one by two” soup sharing order as one way to warm up a new romance.

India reporter Manavi Kapur explains how these dating apps are helping people couple up 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 to make space more accessible.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, mammoth teeth, and deep breathing tips to hi@qz.com. Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Tripti Lahiri, Mary Hui, Susan Howson, and Liz Webber.