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North Korea sees its first covid deaths

The vulnerable country said six people had died, with another 350,000 suffering from fever.

Masked people in North Korea.
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North Korea announced its first covid deaths. The country, which is vulnerable due to lack of vaccinations and poor healthcare, said six people had died, while 350,000 had “shown signs of fever.

Coinbase customers are suing over unstable stablecoin. The proposed class action was filed in California a day after the crypto market fell by $200 billion, with bitcoin and ether dropping in value, and stablecoin TerraUSD falling to a fraction of its dollar peg.

Aluminium stockpiles hit a 25-year low. The London Metal Exchange saw its lowest inventories since 1997 due to more of the metal being used and less smelted globally, but prices aren’t yet reflecting the shortage.

The baby formula crisis will take months to resolve. Manufacturers say they need time to boost production and restock shelves. The Biden administration, meanwhile, is trying to discover if companies are gouging prices.

Spain approved a cap on gas prices. The response to soaring energy costs sparked by the war in Ukraine is the first time an EU country has been allowed to act outside the bloc’s common market rules.

India’s consumer prices hit an eight-year high. The Reserve Bank of India, which raised rates earlier in May to combat rising food and fuel prices, will likely follow with another hike next month.

Covid pills will be cheaper for poorer countries. Generic drug makers have agreed to sell Pfizer’s antivirals to low- and middle-income countries for $25 or less.

What to watch for

The Honda Motor logo is pictured on a red car.
Image copyright: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha
The Honda Motor logo is pictured at the 43rd Bangkok International Motor Show, in Bangkok.

Honda reports its earnings today during a troubling time for automakers. Analysts expect Honda to report a 48% drop in net profits for the most recent quarter as part shortages, higher material costs, and supply chain delays eat away at carmakers’ margins. Earlier this week, Toyota revealed supply chain challenges slashed its profits by a third and will force the company to shut down production lines at eight factories next week.

But the otherwise dreary call could hold a silver lining for the future: Honda may give investors a progress update on its $40 billion plan to produce 2 million electric vehicles a year by 2030. Electric vehicle stocks surged yesterday, in part because electric truck startup Rivian announced lower than expected losses during a call with investors earlier this week.

What if Netflix and Peloton were one?

Netflix and Peloton have struggled in the first quarter, with the streaming service hemorrhaging subscribers and the luxury fitness company’s revenues taking a nosedive. But as profits are sinking, a partnership could help keep them afloat.

Peloton aims to boost subscriptions to 100 million globally and shift away from its reputation as a bike company, while Netflix is seeking strategies to monetize account sharing. Each company’s models could prove to be complementary, if not mutually beneficial, in meeting those goals.

Peloton could even open Netflix to a new market of high-earning subscribers, willing to pay a premium for content. At the same time, Netflix might help Peloton in becoming a digital streaming service. Perhaps, together, they could Netflix and hill.

Russia-Ukraine, as told through Eurovision

Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra performs at the first semi-final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.
Image copyright: Reuters / Yara Nardi
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra performs at the first semi-final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in Turin.

When the final of the Eurovision Song Contest kicks off May 14 in Turin, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra will start as heavy favorites. Quartz reporter Samanth Subramanian explains how Russia’s ban from the contest this year over its invasion of Ukraine is just one example of how the countries’ fraught relationship has seeped into Eurovision.

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Surprising discoveries

A blurry orange circle is shown in space with a dark black center.
Image copyright: Reuters
This is the first image of Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A* for short), the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Our galaxy’s supermassive black hole got its first glam shot. The picture of light circling eternal darkness had one astronomer saying, “It seems that black holes like doughnuts.”

Meta teased its new metaverse wearable. Mark Zuckerberg showed off the high-end headset by playing with a weird bunny monkey thing.

Pandemic meat shortages in the US probably weren’t a thing. A report (pdf) from US lawmakers accuses meatpackers of using “baseless” claims to persuade the government to keep them open.

An airplane passenger scored a perfect landing. Proving that those disaster movies aren’t all fiction, an air traffic controller helped an untrained passenger land a plane after the pilot became incapacitated.

Worldwide, the median age is 31. But that’s on track to only get higher, and the replacement rate has a lot to do with that. 🎧 Learn why in the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.

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

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Twilight baseball cards, and flying lessons 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 Nicolás Rivero, Adario Strange, Julia Malleck, Morgan Haefner, and Cassie Werber.

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