Good morning, Quartz readers!
Was this newsletter forwarded to you? Sign up here. Forward to a friend who is feeling disconnected from their company.
Here’s what you need to know
The World Health Organization’s chief warned against assuming the pandemic is nearly over. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wants nations to stay alert for additional variants. Meanwhile, the famously strict lockdown in Xian, China was lifted yesterday after four days of zero new cases.
The Netherlands is planning to ease covid restrictions… Record infection rates aren’t deterring the Dutch government from lifting curbs, in part because the omicron variant “has a less serious clinical picture” than Delta.
…While Japan tightens its covid controls. The government is poised to add more prefectures to its list of places subject to stricter measures, after the country on Saturday recorded 54,000 new covid cases, the highest ever.
Burkina Faso’s military says it has overthrown the president. The army’s televised statement alluded to Roch Kaboré’s failure to counteract Islamist insurgents.
A US aircraft carrier joined NATO forces in the Mediterranean. NATO is shoring up its eastern borders as Russia prepares for large-scale naval exercises.
Unilever is set to cut thousands of jobs worldwide. The healthcare and food company, which employs almost 150,000 people globally, is making the layoffs as part of a restructure.
What to watch for
The latest round of tech earnings reports kicks off today with Microsoft, where only one thing is on investors’ minds: gaming. The PC pioneer announced last week it will buy the video game publisher Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, its largest-ever corporate purchase.
Beyond new revenue numbers, investors will be all ears to learn about the future of Microsoft’s gaming business, how the company will integrate into Microsoft’s existing infrastructure, and how the company plans to convince antitrust regulators to okay the deal. But, as is often the case with earnings calls, what analysts ask might be more interesting than what executives disclose.
Assessing companies’ climate targets
The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) gives companies a process for making meaningful, and measurable, emissions reduction goals rooted in climate science. A group of 243 companies have committed to set science-based targets to reach net-zero emissions before 2050, on top of having approved targets to reduce emissions in line with limiting global temperatures to 1.5ºC higher than pre-industrial levels. These companies include some well-known names: Microsoft, Walmart, and IKEA.
We’ve gathered data on those 243 companies and visualized their ambitious near-term targets. Check out the interactive graphic.
👩💻 What is company culture in the remote-work era?
🛢 OPEC countries are producing less oil than they said they would
⚽️ A Rwandan is the first woman to officiate an Africa Cup of Nations match
🏭 The UK’s biggest investors are punishing fossil fuel laggards
💰 Changes at Y Combinator could make Africa’s early-stage investors think longer term
In China, Fight Club has a different ending. Spoiler: Tyler does not destroy consumerism and is instead punished by the state.
Fortune awaits for those willing to seek it out… A British metal detectorist found England’s oldest gold coin, which just sold at auction for £648,000 ($874,000).
…And for those willing to check their spam folder. In defense of one US woman’s email provider, a message saying “You’ve won the lottery!” sure does not seem legit.
The James Webb Space Telescope has reached its destination. A million miles in a month is harder than it sounds.
Marijuana has outpaced alcohol in tax dollars for Massachusetts. Retailers have generated $2.54 billion in gross sales since they opened up shop in late 2018. Analysts suspect that changing and diverging attitudes about cannabis and alcohol are to thank. If your attitude about alcohol has involved taking a step back, here’s our guide to taking a month (or more!) off. ✦ Try a seven-day free trial of Quartz membership for access to all of our member-exclusive emails.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, alternate movie endings, and winning lottery emails to email@example.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 Scott Nover, Amanda Shendruk, Lila MacLellan, Liz Webber, Susan Howson, and Cassie Werber.