Meme stocks, delisting Chinese telecoms, millionaires vs. billionaires

Chainalysis, Global Crypto adoption Index 2021 has ranked Kenya the top country in the world in terms of peer to peer exchange trade
Chainalysis, Global Crypto adoption Index 2021 has ranked Kenya the top country in the world in terms of peer to peer exchange trade
Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Meme stocks are back. Seemingly fueled by social media, GameStop continues to surge, while AMC closed 7.5% higher yesterday, following a 36% jump last week.

Japan’s economy is shrinking again. A state of emergency over Covid-19 infection rates is in place, and in the first three months of 2021, GDP contracted an annualized 5.1% from the previous quarter.

Crypto is melting down. With bitcoin and dogecoin leading the market plunge, everything crypto touches has seen losses amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Joe Biden joined calls for a ceasefire in the Middle East. The US president spoke to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, while rocket attacks and airstrikes continue this morning.

Biden also released his tax returns. Resurrecting a tradition that his predecessor Donald Trump ignored, the documents show a dramatic fall in income in 2020.

The US is sharing another 20 million Covid-19 vaccine doses. This adds to the 60 million shots that have already been sent overseas.

The Pfizer vaccine is easier to store (and distribute) than we thought. It can be refrigerated for up to a month, the European drugs regulator says, rather than the original five-day time limit.

What to watch for

Three major Chinese telecoms could be kicked off the New York Stock Exchange today. China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom all fell prey to a November executive order from former US president Donald Trump. They attempted to appeal the decision after current president Joe Biden took office, but failed.

The delistings won’t have much of a practical impact, since all three firms are mainly listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, where their shares are trading normally. China Mobile has already said it plans to list in Shanghai, too.

A small group of US investors may wind up stuck with worthless stock, but Republican politicians and trade groups representing US manufacturing and agricultural interests applauded the largely symbolic rebuke to Beijing.

Charting US childhood poverty

American parents are slated to receive more pandemic-related aid starting July 15th, when Joe Biden’s administration will start distributing cash to families with joint income of less than $400,000 or individual income below $200,000.

US poverty rate for children with and without expanded child tax credits

By sending out checks in advance, rather than a tax refund paid as a lump sum in 2022, the extra money should ease family finances in real time, and potentially lift millions of children above the poverty line.

The twisting route that led WarnerMedia to Discovery

The proposal to spin off WarnerMedia from AT&T and merge it with Discovery may have come together quickly, but they will form a new company almost a century in the making. The intellectual property in the combined entity has roots in dozens of companies, from DC Comics to the Oprah Winfrey Network, and a long history of corporate deal-making.

Prepare for some scrolling. It’s going to be a real journey.

A graphic illustrating the mergers and offshoots that led WarnerMedia to ultimately join with Discovery.

✦ Speaking of industries that have seen a staggering amount of change, we’ve proclaimed this to be Retail Week. Start with our field guide on what stores are even for these days. Then shop online for a Quartz membership—it’s 40% off all week, using code RETAILWEEK.

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🎓The Covid-19 catastrophe has jeopardized the plans of thousands of Indian students

💳A black market for oxygen concentrators is preying on affluent Indians hit by Covid-19

📲The global crypto community is donating virtual coins to fund India’s fight against Covid-19

❤️Social media has no incentive to fix what ails it

Surprising discoveries

An ex-Navy lieutenant says UFOs are common. Ryan Graves told 60 Minutes that unexplained aerial phenomena happen every day along the Atlantic coast.

The US is investigating more cases of “Havana Syndrome.” The intelligence community can’t explain the neurological symptoms, which popped up after the 2020 presidential election.

Overwork is killing people. According to research, long hours contributed to the 745,000 global deaths from stroke and heart disease in 2016.

Millionaires are protesting billionaires. The Patriotic Millionaires have plans to let Jeff Bezos and Mitch McConnell know they should pay for infrastructure plans.

A man in Singapore lied about having Covid-19. He was charged with transmitting false messages after he took a day off from his job studying the cognitive neuroscience of deception.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, UFO sightings, and incomes of over $1 million 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 Hasit Shah, Jane Li, Mary Hui, Nicolás Rivero, Ana Campoy, Oliver Staley, David Yanofsky, Susan Howson, and Jordan Lebeau.