🌍 Russia’s UN human rights suspension

Kicked out

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Here’s what you need to know

The UN suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council. Russia’s alleged abuses also prompted US lawmakers to pass bills ending its favored trade status and banning Russian oil imports.

Taiwan will end its zero-covid strategy. “We will not stop our journey towards opening up,” Taiwan’s health minister said. Meanwhile, locked-down Shanghai residents turned to social media for help finding food and medicine.

Tata Group launched an e-commerce “super app” to rival Amazon and Walmart. The platform will sell everything from clothes to air tickets for Indian consumers.

Berkshire Hathaway bought a stake in HP. Its stock soared after Warren Buffett’s investment firm became the biggest shareholder in the PC and printer giant.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court blocked Imran Khan’s bid to stay in office. The court overturned Khan’s attempt to dissolve parliament, which will now reconvene to hold a vote of no confidence.

JD.com founder Richard Liu will hand the reins over to a successor. Xu Lei, the current president of the Chinese e-commerce giant, will take over as CEO.

Global methane emissions rose a record amount in 2021. The second largest increase on record came in 2020, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

What to watch for

French voters will turn out for the first round of the presidential election this Sunday. President Emmanuel Macron is vying for a second term, but history is not on his side—an incumbent president hasn’t won re-election in France for 20 years. Polls show the centrist politician with a narrowing lead over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who is running for president a third time.

Macron easily beat Le Pen in 2017, winning 66% of the vote. But recent polling gives Macron (link in French) a slim four percentage point lead over Le Pen in the second round, which is slated for April 24.

A chart showing polling ahead of 2022 French presidential election. Emmanuel Macron is slightly favored to Marine Le Pen in both rounds.

Financial markets reacted negatively on April 5 to the possibility of a Le Pen victory, with France’s stock index performing worse than its European counterparts.

Russia is staring down default

This week, Russia tried to use rubles to pay some $650 million in debt to foreign creditors. While the country’s finance minister considers the payment adequate, the securities in question don’t allow payments in rubles.

Russia has 30 days to make any corrections. But it’s nearly a guarantee the country will default for the first time since 1918. So far, being cut off from much of the global financial system hasn’t stopped Russia from escalating the war in Ukraine. It’s unclear whether a default—or new sanctions—would change the Kremlin’s calculus.

A line graph showing the probability of default on Russian bonds. It was less than 10% at the start of January, and by April 3, had climbed to over 90%.

The future of prosthetics

Athletes with prosthetics from a little-known company in Iceland took home 28 medals at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. That company, Össur, is now working on limbs that can be controlled by the human brian. ✦ The origin of Össur and its inventions was the topic of our latest member-exclusive email. Support journalism that seeks to make business better by subscribing today.

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Surprising discoveries

Yakei, a rare alpha female monkey, remains on top of her troop. But a love triangle is complicating things for the queen of 677 Japanese macaques.

Erectile dysfunction pills may carry a higher risk for eye problems than previously thought. The findings could lead to more warning labels for the medications.

The fossil of a thescelosaurus that likely died on the day of the asteroid strike was found. Sir David Attenborough was seriously impressed by the “ultimate dinosaur drumstick.”

Mushrooms appear to talk to each other. Scientists have cataloged a “vocabulary” of 50 electrical signals fungi exchange via underground tendrils.

Activision Blizzard will make 1,100 game testers full-time employees. The studio behind Call of Duty and World of Warcraft will boost pay and benefits for quality assurance workers.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, macaque gossip, and dinosaur drumsticks 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 Courtney Vinopal, Nicolás Rivero, and Morgan Haefner.