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Russia-Ukraine peace talks failed to secure a ceasefire

Russia-Ukraine peace talks didn’t reach a ceasefire but offered an opening for Putin and Zelenskyy to meet.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a political adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar walk after their meeting with Russian negotiators in Istanbul.
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  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor

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Here’s what you need to know

Russia-Ukraine peace talks failed to secure a ceasefire. Yet the meetings in Turkey offered an opening for a meeting between Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin.

The Indian government confirmed the Russian foreign minister’s visit this week. Sergey Lavrov arrives in Delhi tomorrow, with India one of the few major economies sitting on the fence over the invasion of Ukraine.

The US authorized a second booster dose for the over-50s. The additional Pfizer or Moderna shot is also for anyone who’s immunocompromised, and is available as the BA2 sub-variant becomes dominant in the US.

Apple stocks are on their longest positive streak since 2003. The stock price has gone up consistently for 11 days so far.  

The EU is launching plans to crack down on fast fashion. Its sustainable textiles strategy is unveiled today, and will be followed by a similar initiative that targets a broad range of consumer products.

The World Bank froze $600 million in funding for Afghanistan. Four projects are suspended over the Taliban’s refusal to allow girls to go to school.

Hackers stole $590 million in another crypto heist. The Ronin Bridge, which connects different blockchains, says it only discovered the March 23 attack yesterday.

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What to watch for

Chinese airlines landing and taking off at an airport.
Image copyright: Reuters/Aly Song

Three airlines—Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines—report earnings from their latest quarter today. The numbers come as officials are trying to figure out what happened to China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735, which crashed in a mountainous region of southern China on March 21, killing all 132 people on board. The airline’s shares haven’t recovered from their dip following the crash.

Additionally, a new spike in covid-19 cases has led to fresh lockdowns in China and calls to divert 106 Shanghai-bound flights between March 21 and May 1. Yesterday, China Eastern Airlines got approval from the US to temporarily move some New York City-Shanghai flights to different airports in China. But diversions are costly, and any new restrictions or safety regulations will only up the pressure on an industry already struggling with 200 billion yuan ($31 billion) in pandemic-related losses.

The Financial World War

A month into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world’s richest countries have ventured into a financial world war. Sanctions as a weapon aren’t new, but the sheer scope, speed, and spillover of recent actions against Russia, the world’s 11th largest economy, are a watershed moment in the history of economic warfare.

It wouldn’t have been possible without an interdependent global financial system anchored by the dollar that makes it easy to intercept money. But sanctions on such a massive scale are already affecting economies outside of Russia, and took a century of trial and error. Are we willing to accept the global risks of a financial world war?

A gif showing the history of global sanctions, beginning in the 1950s and moving through 1977.

Something to obsess over

Season two of the Quartz Obsession podcast just ended, but it’s not too late for you to catch up before our third season drops.

Here’s a refresher:

🍅 Movie sequels. Are there good reasons to keep making them?

🦿 Prosthetics. We’re now augmenting able bodies for super-human functions.

🕺🏿 Disco. They tried to kill it, but it’ll never die.

🐟 Fish sticks. It’s what’s for lunch—and what could help us solve bigger dilemmas.

🥻 Indian weddings. The stuff of Bollywood dreams come to life.

☁️ Google Docs. The tool that’s revolutionized the way we work.

🥚 Egg freezing. More women are becoming parents outside their biological bounds.

🪶 Puffer jackets. Does “puffiness” automatically equal warmth?

🎧 Binge all of season two’s episodes, and subscribe to get season three on tap. Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher

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🤑 What Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos would owe under Biden’s new tax plan

🍔 15-minute grocery delivery startups are already folding

🧐 Why Anil Ambani had to quit the boards of his own companies

💼 10 places in the US where young women actually out-earn young men

👋 India lets investors withdraw from a public offer of a Patanjali-backed firm

😔 The US labor shortage is the deserved outcome of a systemic failure to value workers

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Surprising discoveries

Pluto has ice volcanoes. The peaks give support to the theory that everyone’s favorite former planet is an ocean world.

Some yachts have yachts of their own. Aruba is investigating a yacht with a whole fleet of support vessels and its link to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

There are 4,000 illegal houses built in Agrigento’s 5th century BC Temple Valley. Italy’s highest court decided the owners won’t be sanctioned (link in Italian).

Prehistoric human remains were discovered in Miami. They were found during the construction of a luxury condominium, and are evidence of the Tequesta civilization from more than 2,000 years ago.

French Polynesia has an independent online shopping system. People in the remote islands can’t count on e-commerce giants to deliver to them, so they took matters in their own hands.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, meta-yachts, and ice volcanoes to hi@qz.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 Hasit Shah, Ana Campoy, Amanda Shendruk, Annalisa Merelli, Susan Howson, and Morgan Haefner.

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