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Evergrande says it cut a deal with domestic bondholders. The embattled Chinese firm owed them $36 million by Thursday, but while that payment may be deferred, it still has to settle another $84 million with offshore investors. Meanwhile, China’s mainland markets reopened today.
Netflix bought the rights to Roald Dahl’s books. The price has not been disclosed, but it is the streaming giant’s largest-ever purchase.
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping made big climate pledges at the UN General Assembly. The US president promised to double the financial commitment to low-income countries, while China’s leader halted overseas investment in coal.
Facebook is reportedly embarking on a major PR offensive. According to The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg is sick of bad publicity around hate speech, election manipulation, and fake news.
The US sanctioned a cryptocurrency exchange. The Treasury Department alleges Suex helped hackers get paid after several major ransomware attacks.
What to watch for
In his first presidential address to the UN General Assembly yesterday, Joe Biden put a lot of stress on the global aspect of Covid-19, noting the US government’s efforts to support the international response to the virus, including its donation of 160 million doses of vaccines. He’s certain to emphasize a shared responsibility at a virtual Covid-19 Summit today.
The goal is clear: To end the pandemic. Delta showed new variants are more likely to emerge in countries with low vaccination rates, posing threats everywhere else. So it’s in the interest of the US and other wealthy countries to ensure poor nations are equipped to deal with the virus. Donating a few more millions of excess doses won’t fix it, so Biden’s new plan had better be more ambitious than that.
How big of a deal is Evergrande?
Global markets reeled on Monday when one of China’s biggest property developers seemed to be teetering on the edge of collapse. Evergrande is all but assured of defaulting on interest payments on bonds due Thursday. While the fallout would be largely domestic, and would have to involve careful restructuring, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said yesterday that China’s economy could handle the blow.
Here’s the situation, by the digits:
2 trillion yuan (~$300 billion): Evergrande’s debts as of June, according to Caixin. The amount is equivalent to around 2% of China’s GDP.
$120 million: Interest payments due to bondholders on Thursday, including nearly $84 million on dollar bonds. Another interest payment is due next week.
29%: Share of real estate and related industries as a percentage of Chinese GDP, according to an NBER paper (pdf)
The World Bank scandal is bad for globalization
Last week, investigators from an external law firm released a report showing World Bank officials pushed the team developing the influential Doing Business index to manipulate it in several cases. Under pressure from senior leaders including then-CEO Kristalina Georgieva, employees altered scores to boost China’s and Saudi Arabia’s rankings because it was deemed politically expedient to do so. They also were told to ignore developments in Azerbaijan that would have helped improve its score.
As a result of the findings, every piece of data produced by the World Bank will now be suspected of playing to one or more favored stakeholders. Here’s why that’s bad for globalization.
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What we’re reading
🍁 Canada’s far-right fringe is getting less fringey. Yes, the same Canada the world associates with multicultural harmony and progressive ideals.
🍃 Amazon is lobbying the US government to legalize weed. Eliminating cannabis users does tend to turn a hiring pool into a hiring puddle.
🏆 Universal Music Group’s IPO was a win for streaming. Subscription services have finally turned the tables on digital piracy.
📦 The pandemic has turned United Airlines into a thriving freight company. It pays to be flexible.
🛌 A burnout gap on your resume is a tough thing to explain. But there’s a way to talk about it without alienating new employers.
🚸 America’s kids will be even harder to vaccinate than its adults. Parents’ risk tolerance goes way down when it comes to their children’s health.
Brazil’s president was forced to eat pizza on the street in New York. Jair Bolsonaro isn’t allowed in the city’s restaurants because he’s unvaccinated.
A stolen smart speaker gave up the thief’s location. Alexa, what’s the minimum sentence for burglary in Germany?
Scientists found the genetic mutation that made humans tail-less. A researcher was inspired to start looking after injuring his coccyx.
A pair of 107-year-olds are the world’s oldest living twins. Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama were born in 1913.
Pandas get too comfortable to go find a mate. Why would they want to leave a cool, isolated bamboo patch?
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, panda dating tips, and street food recommendations for Jair Bolsonaro to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, Annalisa Merelli, Jane Li, Tripti Lahiri, Susan Howson, and Liz Webber.