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Ukraine retakes part of Kyiv

Ukraine has regained lost ground, but Russia continues to bombard Mariupol.

A person directs a tank on the side of the road.
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  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor


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Here’s what you need to know

Ukraine retook part of Kyiv. Russia continues to bombard Mariupol, with the Polish president comparing the attacks to Nazi war crimes. Russia’s invasion has driven more than 10 million from their homes, according to the United Nations.

Russia withdrew from peace treaty talks with Japan over sanctions. Both countries have been in dispute over islands seized by the Soviet Union since the end of WWII.

Banks seized $2 billion in cash from Evergrande. The Chinese real estate developer said it will delay release of its annual earnings.

Tesla opened its first European factory outside of Berlin. The EV maker said the new “Gigafactory” will employ 12,000 people and produce 500,000 vehicles a year, challenging automakers on their home turf.

Ukraine called on a Chinese drone maker to block use by Russia. DJI said it can’t deactivate individual drones but can impose certain software restrictions, as Western tech companies are withdrawing from Russia.

Russia sentenced Alexei Navalny to nine more years in prison. The verdict comes as Navalny urged Russians to protest the invasion via letters from jail.

Some Disney workers across the US threatened a walkout. The House of Mouse finds itself in a balancing act between calls for standing up for social issues and responding to political pressure.

What to watch for

The UK is facing a cost-of-living crisis—fuel, home energy, and food are becoming more expensive as the economic effects of the pandemic linger, and a war in Europe further increases inflationary pressures.

Today’s Spring Statement, one of two major annual financial reports, may contain more policy remedies than chancellor Rishi Sunak would have wanted.

What Sunak could do:

  • Reduce duty on fuel. Currently, gasoline is taxed at £0.58 per liter (approximately $0.20 per gallon), and there’s talk of a £0.05 reduction.
  • Increase state pensions. Activists and economists argue pensioners will bear the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis, but last year, the government suspended the “triple lock” of linking pension increases to whichever was higher out of wage rises, inflation, or 2.5%.
  • Increase welfare checks/suspend tax rises. Highly unlikely, given the Conservative Party’s traditional antipathy towards state benefits, and the need to fund essential health services following a debilitating pandemic.

Climate risks—and rewards

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has new rules for businesses that require them to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and the way climate change affects their finances.

The idea is that shareholders will use that information to better understand the specific risks that climate change poses to the companies they want to invest in. But it’s not all about threats—businesses that move toward a lower-carbon economy will have opportunities to create new products and get ahead of regulation.

Some companies already publish the type of information that the SEC wants. Unilever, for example, provides a case study for how an extreme weather event might impact palm oil production, of which it is one of the largest buyers. Quartz visual journalist Amanda Shendruk used this case study, and climate forecasts from Shell and Black & Decker, to create a guide on the corporate risks exposed by the SEC’s new climate rules.

A gif showing the different effects that climate change will have on the company Unilever.

🍿 Here we go again

Some movie sequels, like 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, are slam dunks, and some, like Speed 2: Cruise Control, are dead in the water. Presenting: the long-awaited showdown between media and entertainment reporter Adario Strange and executive editor and host Kira Bindrim, as they decide on the value of sequels, once and for all.

But first, let’s define some terms.

🤖 A sequel follows the story of existing characters and expands on the plot, like Blade Runner 2049.

🐍 A reboot is the same story, repackaged, like the 2021 Dune.

🤑 A franchise is a whole universe that can include sequels and reboots that, with spinoffs and merchandise, is all about content being monetized in every possible way. If you’re thinking Marvel, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

The latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast is out now at a podcast platform near you.

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Surprising discoveries

Kid Rock claimed Donald Trump consulted him on North Korea. The musician said the former US president also ran a tweet about the Islamic State terror group by him in 2017.

Pusha T dissed McDonald’s with a new song for Arby’s. The rapper said he didn’t get paid enough to write the iconic jingle “I’m lovin’ it.”

Can only people understand geometry? The ability to imagine a triangle is perhaps what makes us human.

A library is collecting banned books. The tiny library on an island off the Maine coast will buy texts that have fallen out of favor.

Birkenstock and Manolo Blahnik paired up. Is this the most startling fashion collab to happen?

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, comfy cork-soled stilettos, and banned books to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Amanda Shendruk, Hasit Shah, Susan Howson, Michelle Cheng, and Morgan Haefner.

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