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Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of multiple sex crimes

Jeffrey Epstein's former partner faces life behind bars.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus adjusts his face mask while seated in front of a banner with the WHO logo.
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Here’s what you need to know

Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of multiple sex crimes. Jeffrey Epstein’s former partner faces life behind bars after a jury in New York found her guilty of assisting his abuse of young women and girls.

The head of the WHO said new covid variants could resist vaccines. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s warning comes as the US and Europe continue to break daily case records.

Elon Musk denied he’s taking up too much space. Musk responded to criticism from the head of the European Space Agency over the number of Starlink satellites in orbit.

Didi losses are mounting. The Chinese ride-share giant lost $6.3 billion so far in 2021, after the government effectively banned its smartphone app, and the company will now try and raise money with a Hong Kong listing.

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin discuss Ukraine. The US and Russian presidents scheduled a call today about escalating border tensions.

Sponsor content by Merrill
Sponsor content by  Merrill
Markets and investing are always changing, but the current pace of transformation is simply extraordinary. What were once fringe assets—ETFs, ESG stocks, cryptocurrency—are quickly becoming portfolio mainstays. Trading fees are falling. Trading apps are proliferating. Read our series, sponsored by Merill, to examine the global phenomena shaping the investing decisions and behaviors of a new generation of investors.

What to watch for

It’s been two years since covid-19 entered our lives, with Chinese officials informing the WHO of a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan on Dec. 31, 2019. But as we enter the third year coping with the pandemic, much is still unknown.

🦠 Will new variants be less virulent, or more? How will vaccines fare against them?

🔬 Will more treatments become available, particularly ones making covid-19 easy to treat at home?

💉 Will rich countries continue hoarding vaccines, creating more opportunities for variants to emerge, or will they finally work to vaccinate the world?

😷 Will masks, isolation, tests, and proof of vaccines continue to be a staple of our daily life, or will we get to a point where we treat covid-19 like any other disease, and stop trying to contain it?

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦👩‍👩‍👧‍👦👨‍👨‍👧‍👦 Will we even remember normal, when we can get back to it?

Understanding public health guidance on quarantining

An animated gif of the chatbot described below.

One more covid-19 question you might have right now: How long should I quarantine after being exposed to someone who has tested positive? On Dec. 27, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance, reducing the time from 10 days to five days. Last week, the UK said seven days was long enough, so long as you test negative on days six and seven of isolation.

With such conflicting guidelines, it can be hard to know what to do in your individual circumstances. That’s why we made a chatbot to help you parse the public health advice and get to the steps you need to take to keep safe. Try it now.

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💉 How well do China’s vaccines work against omicron?

⛽️ The natural gas industry’s risky bet on hydrogen

Sponsor content by Merrill
Sponsor content by  Merrill
Markets and investing are always changing, but the current pace of transformation is simply extraordinary. What were once fringe assets—ETFs, ESG stocks, cryptocurrency—are quickly becoming portfolio mainstays. Trading fees are falling. Trading apps are proliferating. Read our series, sponsored by Merill, to examine the global phenomena shaping the investing decisions and behaviors of a new generation of investors.

Surprising discoveries

A New York City doughnut shop has a 10,000-person waitlist. People can’t resist Kora’s Filipino purple ube and flan-stuffed treats.

Seventy-seven species were found under an Antarctica ice shelf. Researchers were surprised by the richness of life in the extreme conditions.

Bacardi sued the US patent authority over a “Havana Club” trademark. The rum maker isn’t happy that the Cuban government can use it again.

Tumblr made it hard for a “bald,” “single dad” to post a “selfie.” The descriptors are among the search terms the website is limiting to comply with new Apple safety standards.

The US is seeing fewer food recalls but experts don’t know why. We really hope this means food is safer, not that risks are being overlooked.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, boxes of coveted doughnuts, and rum (we don’t care what it’s called) 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, Annalisa Merelli, Alexandra Ossola, David Yanofsky, Morgan Haefner, and Liz Webber.

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