Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
Ukraine declared a state of emergency… As reports placed Russian troops closer to the border and cyberattacks targeted Ukrainian banks and government websites, Kyiv ordered Ukrainian citizens to leave Russia at once.
…And the west pressed its economic levers. US president Joe Biden announced sanctions on those helping with Nord Stream 2, Russia’s massive pipeline project, but the EU’s sanctions went even farther. Will it work?
Sanofi and GSK have a covid vaccine. The French and British drug manufacturers are submitting their jab—which they say has 100% efficacy against severe disease and hospitalizations—for regulatory approval.
US truckers are protesting across the country. The “People’s Convoy” left California for DC, though the pandemic restriction protesters insist they won’t enter the US capital city.
Toyota is meeting union pay demands in Japan. Though it’s a rare occurrence for the auto giant to give in during labor talks, workers will get the salary bumps and a bonus they asked for.
The EU proposed the Data Act. The law would give consumers more access to their data collected by the Internet of Things, while protecting smaller companies.
What to watch for
Today, Alibaba reports earnings for its most recent fiscal quarter. Still under the shadow of Beijing’s crackdown on big tech that first began in late 2020, the firm is expected to report an approximate 60% decline in profit, according to Bloomberg. Investors will also watch closely for any clues about whether the company faces fresh scrutiny from Beijing, which is said to have ordered state-owned banks and firms to check their financial exposure to fintech giant Ant Group, one-third of which is owned by Alibaba.
All the guessing about the company’s fate lays bare the trauma China’s crackdown has brought investors. Without their once-blind faith in the industry, most Chinese tech giants have experienced panic selloffs that wiped billions of dollars from their market value. With no signs of a change of direction from Beijing, the companies may have no choice but to accept that their heydays are already behind them.
A micronation’s Zaha Hadid-designed city in the metaverse
In January, the Free Republic of Liberland—a crypto-friendly micronation located on three square miles of no man’s land between Croatia and Serbia—unveiled a fully realized city in the metaverse designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Picture a national assembly hall, a buzzy NFT bazaar, office towers—all done in Hadid’s trademark swooping, swoon-worthy architectural style.
Patrik Schumacher, who has been running Hadid’s firm since the starchitect’s death in 2016, predicts that the metaverse will usher in a golden age for parametricism—an avant-garde building style based on computer algorithms that defined Hadid’s career and legacy. “Every institution could have a mirror space in the metaverse,” he argues. “And we architects can cater to both at the same time.”
Best companies for remote workers
If your company is using the metaverse—or even if it isn’t—we want to hear about it. Submit yours for our Best Companies for Remote Workers 2022 list.
A scan of a dying brain’s waves showed activity at the moment of death. There’s something going on in the memory retrieval zone.
A mosaic floor laid by ancient Romans has been hiding under London soil. The soil in question has been used as a parking lot for building equipment for years.
Maybe one day a security guard will add the mosaic to an art exhibit. Baltimore Museum of Art figured its guards knew the place better than just about anybody, so gave them a turn at curation.
You’ll like your coworkers more if you wear headphones. A study showed that if you feel that a speaker’s voice is coming from inside your head, you’ll warm up to them more quickly.
While you’ve got those headphones on… Listen to Quartz’s Manavi Kapur explain how the pandemic whittled Indian wedding guest lists down from a “reasonable” 1,500 people to a downright austere 500. Check out this week’s episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, wedding invitations, and electronics that will make us like people more 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 Jane Li, Anne Quito, Liz Webber, and Susan Howson.
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