Surfside demolition, Didi crackdown, twerking bumblebees

Ransomware attacks are booming.

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Here’s what you need to know

Demolition crews took down the Surfside apartment block. With a tropical storm approaching, controlled explosions removed the remaining structure for safety reasons—24 people are confirmed dead, and 121 are missing.

Ransomware struck more than 1,000 businesses. Apparently timed to coincide with the US Independence Day holiday weekend, the cyber attack locked up the IT systems of hundreds of companies.

China cracked down on one of its largest tech firms. Regulators halted domestic downloads of ride-hailing app Didi, just days after its blockbuster US IPO.

Online retailers pushed back against India’s new e-commerce rules. Executives from Amazon and Tata reportedly asked government officials to delay the timetable for new consumer protection regulations.

A plane crash in the Philippines killed at least 50 people. An investigation is under way after the Lockheed-C130 military aircraft overshot a runway.

“The rules are the rules.” US president Joe Biden expressed sympathy towards banned athlete Sha’Carri Richardson, who tested positive for marijuana, but did not call for her reinstatement.

What to watch for

Andy Jassy, CEO Amazon Web Services, speaks at a conference in California in 2016.
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake

Andy Jassy takes over as Amazon’s CEO today. The 53-year-old executive made a name for himself as the head of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s highly profitable cloud computing business (which has surprising South African origins). Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will hand over the reins so he can focus on other projects, like taking a trip to space with his brother.

Among Jassy’s first challenges at the helm of the $2 trillion “everything store” will be surviving antitrust salvos from US lawmakers and prosecutors intent on dismembering the business.

If he can keep the company intact, Jassy will just have to clear a few other hurdles, like keeping Amazon’s much-vaunted “flywheel” spinning to perpetually cut costs for customers, finding the next mega-profitable business line that will succeed AWS, and keeping the company focused as it expands into an ever-wider footprint of parallel industries.

Charting the boom in tech M&A

The first half of 2021 smashed global records for mergers and acquisitions. The tech industry, which saw its fortunes rise during the pandemic, led the charge with an unprecedented frenzy of deals worth more than $671 billion.

Image for article titled Surfside demolition, Didi crackdown, twerking bumblebees

As of June 30, businesses worldwide had closed over $2.8 trillion in mergers and acquisitions, according to data from financial intelligence firm Refinitiv. “Over the course of 40 years of tracking mergers & acquisitions, we’ve never seen deal-making at this pace, by value and volume,” said Matt Toole, director for deals intelligence at Refinitiv.

The rise of psychedelic medicine

Image for article titled Surfside demolition, Didi crackdown, twerking bumblebees
Image: Illustration by Jess Ebsworth

Promising studies and destigmatization are making psychedelics an increasingly viable treatment for mental illness. Dozens of new startups have sprung up to develop and deliver the drugs to patients in need. This week’s member-exclusive field guide takes a look at the world of psychedelic medicine, from how psychedelics became a pharma darling to the psychedelic medicine companies to watch.

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Surprising discoveries

Courts can’t keep up with Marilyn Monroe fakes. Nearly six decades after her death, the company that owns the rights to Monroe merch is struggling to hunt down her counterfeiters.

US police salaries are inching up. Despite the growing movement to defund the police, the job continues to be one of the best-paid professions in the US.

US pensioners are rolling in it. Older Americans have socked away $35 trillion to give to their kids and charities in the coming years, the equivalent of 157% of US GDP.

Ukraine’s female soldiers had to parade in heels. Their “mid-heel black pumps” infuriated lawmakers.

Alaskan bumblebees twerk to survive the cold. Scientists are studying the insects’ survival strategies, which include shaking their fuzzy bug butts to generate heat.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, marching pumps, and bee-inspired dance moves 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, Jackie Bischof, and Nicolás Rivero.