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China’s state refineries are avoiding Russian oil deals

China’s state refineries are heeding Beijing’s calls for caution and shunning Russian oil deals

Oil and gas tanks are shown near a shore in China.
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  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor

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Here’s what you need to know

China’s state refineries are avoiding Russian oil deals. The companies are heeding Beijing’s calls for caution as the US threatens to sanction China if it aids Russia’s war effort.

The International Energy Agency will release 120 million barrels of oil. The 31 US-aligned member nations are planning the largest ever release from their oil reserves to offset rising fuel costs.

Rising fuel and fertilizer prices sparked protests across Peru. Five anti-government protesters have died during demonstrations tied to Russian fuel sanctions.

Volkswagen will discontinue dozens of car models. Supply constraints forced the automaker to phase out 60% of its combustion engine models, but plans for new electric car lines are on track.

An ex-Hong Kong security official is running to lead the city. John Lee, who was a deputy police commissioner during the city’s 2019 protests, appears to have Beijing’s backing to replace Carrie Lam.

Myanmar will force banks to convert foreign currency into kyat. The military government imposed the requirement on a wide range of transactions to prop up the currency’s value.

What to watch for

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus adjusts his face mask while seated in front of a banner with the WHO logo.
Image copyright: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images
It’s not over til it’s over.

It’s World Health Day, and our global health is… not great. The covid-19 pandemic continues at two speeds: the rich world starting its fourth round of vaccination while much of the global south has far from sufficient immunization levels. In turn, this is catalyzing the emergence of new variants, prolonging the crisis.

But this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is putting its focus beyond the current emergency and onto the more fundamental issue: protecting the planet as a way to protect our health. WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and the US health secretary will meet to discuss a pretty extensive list of everything we ought to fix ASAP:

🥵 Rising temperatures

🌊 Floods

⛈️ Extreme rainfall

🏭 Air pollution

🌳 Ecosystem degradation

🚬 Tobacco production and consumption

What’s happening in Shanghai?

Three people in protective gear walk through an empty street lined with yellow bicycles.
Image copyright: Hector Retamal / Getty Images
Blocked off

What was supposed to be a short covid lockdown in Shanghai has become indefinite. The financial hub saw more than 17,000 new cases on Tuesday, surpassing the highest daily tally in Wuhan set in the pandemic’s early days.

Residents in Shanghai are at their wits end. Chaotic access to basic necessities and poor coordination between government agencies are fraying people’s nerves. More so than in previous waves, the current lockdown has shown that China doesn’t have a roadmap out of its zero-covid policy.

Need to catch up on what’s happening in Shanghai and with China’s strategy? We’ve got a reading list for you:

The neighbor Nextdoor

Nextdoor wants to be the “kinder” social media app (really, its stock ticker is $KIND). But instead of bringing neighborliness to the internet, Nextdoor has brought the neighborhood—and all its biases and opinions—online. ✦ Members got an exclusive look into Nextdoor’s growth and what it means for inclusion. Support journalism that seeks to make business better by subscribing today.

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Surprising discoveries

Burger King faced a lawsuit alleging that its Whoppers are too small. A class action suit accuses the company of deceptively making its burgers look “35% larger” in ads than they are in real life.

The UK is looking for an Antarctic postmaster and penguin counter. Port Lockroy base, on an island west of Antarctica, is now accepting applications.

An aging Japanese island opened its first restaurant. Shimaura has a shrinking population of 850 people—but they hope a local hangout will help revitalize the community.

Miami crypto enthusiasts unveiled a bionic bull statue. The parody of Wall Street’s iconic charging bovine has laser eyes.

Google banned dozens of apps harboring secret spy software. The Panamanian company that wrote the code has ties to US national security agencies.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, full-sized burgers, and Antarctic job applications 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 Annalisa Merelli, Jane Li, Nicolás Rivero, and Morgan Haefner.

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