Deputy email editor
Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
NATO said Europe is too dependent on Russia for energy. The warning comes as the US and UK work out sanctions against Russia, which has boosted troop levels on its border with Ukraine, according to the Pentagon.
Beijing’s covid-19 cases hit an 18-month high. The uptick in infections comes days before the Winter Olympics begins, with 34 infections detected among athletes and officials. Follow everything Winter Games with our Need to Know: Beijing Olympics newsletter.
Delhi eased some covid restrictions. A weekend curfew was lifted and restaurants were reopened as cases fall, but a night curfew remains. Separately, scientists are watching a rise in cases related to a variant in the omicron family.
Blackstone has raised $11 billion to buy firms in Asia. The world’s largest asset manager has invested in $20 billion worth of deals on the continent since 2018.
Thousands of people protested covid-19 restrictions in Canada’s capital Ottawa. Some were opposing a new rule that requires truck drivers entering the country to be vaccinated against covid-19.
What to watch for
Launched in Sweden in 2008, Spotify now boasts 381 million users and a market cap of $33 billion. But the audio streaming service hit a road bump last week when veteran rocker Neil Young demanded the service either drop podcaster Joe Rogan, who was aired vaccine misinformation, or he would remove his songs.
Here’s a quick recap:
2015: Spotify expands its platform to include podcasts
2020: Rogan signs an exclusive deal with Spotify
Dec. 31: Rogan hosts Robert Malone, a scientist who spreads anti-vaccine conspiracy theories
Jan. 10: 270 medical professionals sign an open letter calling for Spotify to regulate misinformation on its platform
Jan. 24: Young demands Spotify remove Rogan’s podcast or he will exit the platform
Jan. 28: Spotify obliges Young by removing his music
The US economy is beating omicron
Covid controversy may be bringing down Spotify, but the latest wave of the omicron variant hasn’t been a match for the rebounding US economy—at least when compared with the delta variant.
Even though the rapid spread of omicron has led to a record amount of Americans being out sick, there are already signs that the labor market is recovering. One example: Though initial jobless claims climbed along with omicron cases, they are now dropping—much more quickly than after delta’s peak.
In four charts, Quartz reporter Nate DiCamillo mapped out how US workers and companies are faring as the omicron wave wanes.
The after (online) life
With so much of our lives happening on the internet, it’s not just the extremely online who need to consider what virtual stuff they leave behind. That’s why more people are making digital wills. But what are they and what should they include? ✦ Try a seven-day free trial of Quartz membership to read how to make one and for access to all of our member-exclusive emails.
A new insect species was found. Phlogis kibalensis is an incredibly rare metallic leafhopper.
OpenSea has a massive fraud problem. More than 80% of NFTs made with its free minting tool are fake or plagiarized.
Tab superfans want to revive the soft drink. Coca-Cola killed it off in 2020, but the SaveTabSoda Committee won’t back down.
Europe’s energy crisis came for Venetian glassmaking. High natural gas prices are forcing makers of the colorful creations to close.
The slope of Earth’s magnetic field helps birds touchdown. It’s like an invisible stop sign.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Tab rations, and ornate glass art 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 Oliver Staley, Scott Nover, Nate DiCamillo, and Morgan Haefner.
- TROUBLED PASTWhy it has taken Uganda so long to embrace KiswahiliQuartz Africa • May 19, 2022
- SOME HOPEHer baby died in his sleep. Her 29-year quest to find out why has led to a big breakthrough on SIDSQuartz • May 18, 2022
- OLD CADRESChina’s demographic crisis is reaching into the ranks of the Communist PartyQuartz • May 19, 2022
- YES YOU CANAlmost every American qualifies for paxlovidQuartz • May 18, 2022
- THOSE WHO CAN BE NAMED“Aliens” have cost the Indian economy $127 billion over 60 yearsQuartz India • May 10, 2022
- VIBE SHIFTNo one wants to work in restaurants anymoreQuartz • May 18, 2022
- FLYING HIGHGood luck finding cheap flights anywhere in the US right nowQuartz • May 19, 2022
- BEAUTY FOR ALLWhy Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is expanding into AfricaQuartz Africa • May 20, 2022