🌍 Tornado death toll

🌍 Tornado death toll

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Here’s what you need to know

The death toll from the US tornadoes is lower than expected. Around 50 people are thought to have been killed in Kentucky, down from earlier estimates of more than 100. In Illinois, Amazon staff had to use bathrooms as shelters.

Vladimir Putin said he worked as a taxi driver in the early 90s. The Russian president talked about poverty and the fall of the Soviet Union in a new documentary, with concerns growing in the G7 over his intentions for Ukraine.

Hackers targeted Narendra Modi’s Twitter account. They sent a tweet to the prime minister’s 73 million followers claiming India had adopted bitcoin as legal tender.

Alibaba fired a #MeToo accuser. The employee claimed a supervisor raped her during a business trip; the company now says she made false statements that damaged its reputation.

What to watch for

Image: Giphy

The G7 pivots from foreign policy to the economy today, as finance ministers meet to talk about inflation. Consumer prices have been breaking records across many of the world’s largest economies: Inflation hit a 10-year high in the UK in October. In November, the euro zone saw the highest inflation since the common currency was introduced, while in the US inflation grew at the fastest pace since 1982.

The traditional tools for taming prices may not be enough this time—raising interest rates will do little to fix supply chain issues. The US Federal Reserve, Bank of England, and European Central Bank are likely to hold rates steady when they meet later this week, although Fed chair Jerome Powell will probably announce a sped-up timeline for tapering bond purchases. In the meantime, the average consumer is seeing more of their paycheck going towards necessities like food and energy.

Inflation outpaces US wage gains

US workers saw a pay bump in November, as average hourly earnings rose by nearly 5% from the previous year, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday. But higher inflation is wiping out those gains, eroding consumers’ purchasing power and leaving them in a worse economic position than prior to the pandemic.

A line chart comparing US average hourly earnings to average hourly earnings adjusted for inflation from January 2020 to November 2021. The gap between the two has grown since April 2021. In November, average hourly earnings were up almost 5% year over year but adjusted for inflation they were down 2%.

One bright spot: The lowest-paid US workers are seeing wage gains keep pace with inflation. Employees in the leisure and hospitality industry, for example, saw earnings rise by 0.8% on average last month, the same increase as consumer prices.

How would you define career success?

While wage gains might be a priority for some, career success means different things to different people. Do you want to spend more time with your family? Are certain benefits, such as pension or flexibility, important factors to you? It’s helpful to have an understanding of what your priorities are regarding career advancement, and to remember, as author Diane Barth writes for Quartz at Work, that “success is a process, not an achievement.”

Set yourself up to be more productive, focused, and happier at work in the year ahead by asking yourself three more questions to figure out what career success means to you and how you can get there.

✦ Members can access all of Quartz at Work’s career advice—and the rest of our articles—without ever hitting a paywall. Try it free for a week.

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Surprising discoveries

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Assignments graded by Elon Musk sold for $7,753. In 1995, the Tesla CEO was a teaching assistant at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

An Italian bishop told kids there was no Santa Claus. He says he was just trying to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas.

Masks coated in ostrich covid antibodies glow under a black light if the wearer is infected. The birds have strong resistance to the virus.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed office furniture known as “the suicide chair.” How did office chairs go from virtuously uncomfortable to ergonomic? Reporter Anne Quito explains in the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.

🎧 Sit back and listen to all of this season’s episodes on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, feedback from Elon, and ostrich antibodies 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 Hasit Shah, Courtney Vinopal, Jackie Bischof, and Liz Webber.