🌍 Russia still wants to talk

🌍 Russia still wants to talk

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Here’s what you need to know

Russia said diplomacy is still an option. In a televised meeting, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told president Vladimir Putin talks with the West haven’t been exhausted, contrasting reports of increased military build-up at Ukraine’s border.

A former Goldman Sachs banker went on trial over the 1MDB scandal. Roger Ng appeared in court in Brooklyn over his alleged role in looting Malaysia’s government fund.

A record chip deal closed. US-based semiconductor developer Advanced Micro Devices finalized its purchase of Xilinx, also a US technology firm, for an estimated $50 billion.

Microsoft called workers back to the office. US employees should start working in person on Feb. 28, at least for half of the week.

Better.com’s US firings essentially hired 1,000 in India. The US mortgage company, which infamously let go of 900 workers over a Zoom call, has been on a hiring spree in India.

The teenage skater who failed a drug test is cleared to compete in Beijing. The Court for Arbitration for Sport took into account the “exceptional circumstances” of Kamila Valieva’s age—she’s only 15—but the matter is far from settled.

❄️ The Olympics may be half over, but it’s not too late to tune in. Sign up for our Beijing 2022 email using the button below.

What to watch for

This week, five major hospitality companies—Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham, and Airbnb—will report on their fourth quarter earnings. All are expected to report an increase in revenue spurred by an uptick in holiday season travel.

Industry leaders insist that travel and tourism will come back even stronger in 2022, as people make up for the trips they couldn’t take in the past two years.

Airbnb in particular is anticipating that more people will be on the move for longer, as companies adopt flexible policies that allow people to work from anywhere. The company reported an increase in bookings for a month or more at the end of 2021.

✦ Quartz members can read more about this growing class of “digital nomads” who live their lives unbound to any one location—try membership free for seven days.

India’s biggest IPO is finally here

On Sunday, India’s largest state-run insurer, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), filed its draft red herring prospectus for an initial public offer with markets regulator Sebi. The government is offering to sell 316 million shares, or 5% of the equity to raise up to 65,000 crore rupees ($8.6 billion)—the biggest in the history of Indian capital markets. If that happens, it will surpass the previous record set by digital payments company Paytm, which raised Rs18,300 crore in November 2021. While the dates for the IPO are not known yet, it is expected to take place by March.

$500 billion: Assets managed by LIC

60%: Share of India’s life insurance market LIC holds, by premiums

$71.3 billion: LIC’s embedded value—a measure of future cash flows in life insurance companies—according to its draft prospectus

$150 billion: The company’s likely market value, according to market analysts

Remote events are about to get a whole lot better

For decades, event organizers have strived to improve physical events by making sure there’s “not a bad seat in the house.” To that end, physical venues have benefited from advances in architecture, investments in wifi to power in-person second screen experiences, and innovations in audio-visual systems.

Now the events industry needs to put the same type of thinking into making hybrid events successful. It should start with a shift in mindset about the value of remote attendees.

🔮 Our Next 10 Years series explores how industries marked by rapid change are adapting and evolving.

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Surprising discoveries

The “Baby Shark” song on repeat would be miserable, right? Apparently not for protestors in New Zealand.

Friends returned to China, with some edits. There’s no mention of Ross’s ex-wife being a lesbian.

DNA testing could help find poachers. The technology isn’t just for catching serial killers.

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