🌍 Beijing faces lockdowns

🌍 Beijing faces lockdowns

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Parts of Beijing are facing lockdown. With mass testing under way, there are fears that restrictions could become as severe as Shanghai’s, where residents have been confined to their homes and have faced food shortages because of China’s covid-zero policy.

Twitter is reportedly considering Elon Musk’s bid. The social media company is taking the offer more seriously, according to The Wall Street Journal, after Musk made it clear he has the funds to move quickly.

Emmanuel Macron retained the French presidency. But his far-right rival Marine Le Pen secured more than 40% of the vote.

The US is offering additional military support to Ukraine. The US embassy will also reopen, secretary of state Antony Blinken and defense secretary Lloyd Austin told Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv today.

Nissan retired its Datsun brand again. Originating in 1914 as DAT—an acronym for Den, Aoyama, and Takeuchi, three early investors—Datsun was originally phased out in the 1980s, before a recent, short-lived revival.

What to watch for

Coca-Cola bottles are shown in a cooler.
Image: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Coca-Cola reports first-quarter earnings today, which should provide a glimpse into how companies are faring under the latest round of rising prices and logistic bottlenecks. The beverage giant has been unusually adept at navigating pandemic disruptions. It streamlined its supply chain and passed along higher costs to consumers, beating expectations for the fourth quarter last year.

Coke’s results could again come in above forecasts, as more people venture out to restaurants, bars, and concerts, where it sells a lot of drinks. But CEO James Quincey warned in February of consumers’ thinning patience for higher prices. The company’s international sales, meanwhile, are bound to have taken a hit after Coca-Cola shut down its Russia operations due to the Ukraine invasion.

While a good quarter for Coca-Cola doesn’t necessarily spell similar results for other consumer product companies, a bad one would suggest others are struggling as well.

Who is beating inflation?

Over the past year, US inflation has spread from a few products made scarce by the pandemic—used cars, electronics, or furniture—to practically everything.

But there are some Americans whose lifestyle preferences and purchases have helped them stave off some of the worse effects of inflation.

🥗 Vegetarians. While prices for many fruits and vegetables have increased, they’re well below prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, which have grown by 14%.

🍋 Lemon haters. Citrus is one fruit that has seen a huge price hike, with prices climbing nearly 20% year over year.

🚌 Mass transit riders. Fares for buses and trains have increased by 1.9% over the past year, while gas prices have gone up by a whopping 48%.

🛏 Homebodies. Stay-at-home drinkers, for example, saw alcohol prices increase 2.7% year over year, compared to bar-goers who faced a 4.9% increase.

China’s retirement dilemma

China has some of the youngest retirement ages in the world. But it’s becoming a big problem for a country that is steadily aging. For one, China’s pension system is drastically underfunded for the growing number of people who are approaching retirement.

Officials have floated the (unpopular) idea of raising the retirement age above what it is now: 60 for men, and 50 or 55 for women. With a shrinking working-age population, it makes sense for China to try and keep experienced workers in the workforce—and paying into a social welfare system—for as long as possible. But young people worry that’ll delay work opportunities for them and affect the free child care many older adults provide.

A line graph showing the share of young and old in China's population. In 1960, the share of young people was much higher. But by 2020, the share of old people has overtaken young.

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Surprising discoveries

A chihuahua named TobyKeith is the oldest living dog. He is more than 21 years old.

Let’s meet at the trapezoid? Businesses are tinkering with triangles, half circles, and oblong tables to find out which is best for hybrid work.

Kangaroos are showing up in India. The marsupials are likely being smuggled in as exotic pets.

The “Champion of the Earth” is none other than Sir David Attenborough. The UN Environment Programme bestowed the honor to nature’s favorite narrator.

Insects may be abundant, but coating them in sauce and packaging them in snack bags is expensive. High demand is likely driving up prices, Quartz reporter Ananya Bhattacharya explained in the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.

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Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, TobyKeith t-shirts, and earthly honors 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, Tripti Lahiri, Nate DiCamillo, and Morgan Haefner.