Boeing blues, TikTok’s grip on music, a royal dog

FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines Boeing 777-200ER plane is towed as an American Airlines Boeing 737 plane departs from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois,…
FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines Boeing 777-200ER plane is towed as an American Airlines Boeing 737 plane departs from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois,…
Image: Reuters/Kamil Krzaczynski

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Here’s what you need to know

The UK presents a lockdown roadmap… Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to take a cautious approach to easing restrictions, alongside a plan to have all adults receive their first vaccine dose by the end of July.

…and challenges China over Xinjiang. It will call on Beijing to give the United Nations full access to investigate reports of human rights abuses in the region.

Airlines grounded some Boeing 777s. United Airlines and Japan’s aviation regulator temporarily removed the aircraft from service after one of the planes suffered an engine failure and was made an emergency landing.

Myanmar authorities threatened to use more lethal force. Businesses shut in a general strike to protest the coup after two demonstrators were shot dead over the weekend.

India and China completed a troop pullback. Soldiers on both sides fully disengaged from the disputed Himalayan border after months of tensions following a violent clash that left numerous soldiers dead.

The Pfizer-BioNTech shot appears to stop Covid-19 transmission. An Israeli study, which hasn’t been peer reviewed, found that the vaccine is 89.4% effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Iran will allow limited access for international nuclear inspectors. The temporary deal with the UN’s nuclear watchdog comes as Tehran weighs whether to resume diplomatic contact with the US over sanctions imposed by the former administration.

What to watch for

Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland, stands with President Barack Obama as he is introduced as Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court during an announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
Merrick Garland with former US president Barack Obama.
Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Finally, Merrick Garland gets his confirmation hearing.

To many liberal Americans, Garland came to symbolize Republican obstructionism and hypocrisy after they wouldn’t allow his Supreme Court confirmation to proceed in 2016 on the grounds that the next president—though the election was eight months away—should get to fill the vacancy. Notably, last year former president Donald Trump added a third judge, Amy Barrett, to the court eight days before the presidential election.

Today Garland faces the Senate Judiciary Committee as president Joe Biden’s pick to lead the justice department at a time when domestic extremism is under a spotlight in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

That makes his most relevant experience not his protracted non-confirmation five years ago, but his past experience prosecuting domestic terrorism cases. During a previous stint at the department in the 1990s, he helped prosecute the 1995 Oklahom City bombing, the deadliest domestic terror attack ever in the US, a task he has described as “the central thing, the most significant thing I worked on.”

Charting Chile’s Covid vaccinations

If you look at vaccine rollout data focused on Latin America, Chile jumps out. With 12% of its population vaccinated, it lags just behind the US, and is well ahead of the rest of its region.

A chart shows Chile's vaccination rate shooting up to 12 doses per 100 people over the course of the first half of February, while the rest of Latin America remains relatively stagnant.
One of these countries is not like the others.

Its population is relatively tiny compared to the US or China and its long, narrow landmass makes it more amenable to nationwide rollouts than massive Brazil. Still, by negotiating a favorable vaccine price with manufacturers, buying early and often, and maintaining a robust healthcare system, Chile has set itself up for a successful fight against Covid.

TikTok is changing the music business

Last October, Nathan Apocada uploaded a video of himself skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” while sipping cranberry juice. It went viral almost immediately, soon spawning 135,000 homages and reactions from other TikTokers.

For a music industry smarting from the pain of canceled festivals, silent clubs, and scrapped recording sessions, this was the latest sign of TikTok’s growing impact on the music industry.

Three years after its stateside debut, the Chinese-owned app could have been relegated to dance fads and quirky memes. Instead, TikTok is now considered by many to be a major player in music, with the power to reinvent the path to stardom and upset the long-held power imbalance between artists and executives.

But beneath the beats, TikTok has a complex financial structure and formula for popularity that artists and industry insiders struggle to navigate—and that’s just how the app likes it, writes Stacey Anderson.

✦ If you wanna sing, that’s a problem for Mama. If you want the news, Try a Quartz membership free for a week.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists cloned an endangered species. Elizabeth Ann is a ferret cloned from decades-old DNA.

A Royally Good Boy. Max the therapy dog is the first pet unaffiliated with law enforcement to receive the “animal OBE.”

A new world record. Jasmine Harrison is the youngest woman to row across the Atlantic.

Why do stars go nova? Thanks to infrared light, scientists now believe they know the answer.

Want to know how TIkTok changed music? You can certainly read our field guide to find out. But, if you’d rather jam, here’s our playlist.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, world records, and songs you first heard on TikTok 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 Mary Hui, Tripti Lahiri, Oliver Staley, and Jordan Lebeau.