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Hong Kong’s economy shrank by 4%

Hong Kong’s GDP contracted due to covid’s fifth wave.

Customers shop at a supermarket, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Sha Tin district, in Hong Kong
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  • Susan Howson
By Susan Howson

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Here’s what you need to know

Hong Kong’s economy shrank by 4%. The contraction of GDP in the first quarter, attributed to the impacts of covid’s fifth wave, was greater than analysts predicted.

Russian forces attacked a steel plant in Mariupol. More than 200 civilians were trapped on-site, which previously had been under UN ceasefire. Meanwhile, the UN reported civilian casualties in Ukraine have exceeded 3,000.

Russia avoided defaulting on its debt. Following a tussle with the US Treasury, it opted to draw upon dollar reserves, not subject to Western sanctions, to repay $650 million in international bonds.

Libya’s oil exports hit an 18-month low. Increasing political violence has impacted its crude shipments to key trading partners including China, Italy, and Spain.

US tariffs on Chinese goods are up for review. Tariffs are set to expire on July 6, but may be extended pending feedback from industry stakeholders and the public.

Australia raised interest rates. The rate hike is the first in more than a decade as regulators seek to moderate a 20-year inflation high.

A leaked US Supreme Court opinion on abortion was verified as authentic. Chief Justice Roberts announced an investigation into the source of the leak, and president Joe Biden made a commitment to defend abortion rights.

What to watch for

Image copyright: REUTERS/Amit Dave
Raking it all in.

Gautam Adani, the 59-year-old coal billionaire, is chairman and founder of India’s Adani Group and is currently Asia’s richest man. Adani’s total net worth currently stands at $122 billion.

In 2021 alone, Adani added $49 billion to his wealth, and his green energy bet is expected to expand his wealth further. Quarterly results from Adani Group’s green energy arm are due out today. Already the world’s largest solar power developer, it’s planning to invest $70 billion over the next decade across renewable energy generation, component manufacturing, transmission, and distribution.

Read more about Adani and his booming businesses:

👀  Adani now needs to beat only four people to become the world’s richest person

🌱  Ambani and Adani bet on India’s future as a renewable energy giant

👋  India’s richest men are now richer than Mark Zuckerberg

✈️  Will Adani’s newly created aviation empire survive the pandemic?

The US braces for a major abortion fight

The US Supreme Court appears poised to revoke federally protected abortion rights, according to a draft opinion leaked to news outlet Politico. With more than half of US states expected to join the list of places where abortions are illegal or severely restricted, those who can’t travel would be forced to seek out dangerous illegal treatments.

Companies who have made promises to support women and all genders in the workplace could face pressure to act. Some have already adopted policies around reproductive rights:

  • Amazon will cover traveling expenses up to $4,000 for abortions or other medical procedures unavailable locally
  • Apple takes measures to mitigate the effects of Texas abortion legislation on its employees in that state
  • Salesforce offered to pick up the tab if any of its employees wanted to move out of Texas entirely
  • Levi’s company insurance plan covers abortion-related travel and service

Pasta is important

An illustration showing four different types of pasta, long short, pastini, and egg.

What is the purpose of pasta shapes? According to Quartz senior reporter Annalisa Merelli, an Italian who describes pasta as “what I’m made of,” there are four types of pasta. Each has their own reason for being, and each, traditionally, marries with a sauce.

But with more than 350 types of pasta, it can get confusing. The latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast gives you some good rules to start with. The first one? Stop putting ragu on spaghetti.

🍝 Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher

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📝  A list of countries where abortion is illegal

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Love stories like these? ✦ Become a member today to get the Weekend Brief, and use code MAKEBIZBETTER to take 50% off!

Surprising discoveries

Mensa “geniuses” gather annually to test new board games. Members of the world’s oldest high IQ club have previously endorsed Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Magic the Gathering, and Taboo.

A dog’s personality has little to do with its breed. In a new study, geneticists found that only 9% of a dog’s temperament can be traced to its breed.

Putin is ignoring Pope Francis’s meeting request. The pontiff is determined to meet the Russian president to discuss a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis.

The International Skating Union wants to raise the minimum age for professional skaters. After 15-year-old Kamila Valieva’s doping scandal at the Beijing Olympics, the body wants skaters to be at least 17.

In other Olympic-related news, Parisians are desperate to save trees around the Eiffel Tower. A 35,000-signature petition calls for the city to reconsider a plan to cut down 22 old trees for the 2024 Summer Games.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, your dog’s Myers-Briggs type, and favorite pasta shapes 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 Julia Malleck, Niharika Sharma, Lila MacLellan, Morgan Haefner, Anne Quito, and Susan Howson.

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