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Finland and Sweden made steps to join NATO

Finland and Sweden are taking the necessary steps to get a spot in NATO

Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Foreign Minister Ann Linde attend a news conference.
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Here’s what you need to know

Finland and Sweden inched closer to NATO. Finland said yesterday it’d seek parliamentary approval to enter the military alliance, while Sweden’s ruling party dropped its 73-year resistance to joining. Turkey doesn’t like either prospect.

A white gunman killed 10 people in a Buffalo, New York supermarket. Of the 13 people shot in what authorities described as a racially motivated hate crime, 11 were Black.

India banned most wheat exports, citing rising inflation and lower crop yields. The global wheat supply is already tighter than usual because of the war in Ukraine.

North Korea reported 15 more covid deaths. The surge could be particularly dangerous given the country’s poor healthcare infrastructure and apparent lack of vaccines.

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest in a landslide. The song “Stefania,” by Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, is a tribute both to the frontman’s mother and to the band’s motherland.

What to watch for

The Spanish government on Tuesday will discuss a proposal to give several days of leave per month to people who experience severe pain during their periods.

The legislation would make Spain the first Western country with such a policy. Countries including Japan and South Korea also offer period leave, and some companies—including Indian food-delivery service Zomato—have also introduced period leave policies.

Diversity and inclusion experts say that it’s commendable that governments and businesses want to accommodate people who deal with recurring pain. But they warn that such policies may also wind up reinforcing sexist stereotypes. A better solution? Generous sick leave for all.

Saving green by going green

In 48 US states, it’s cheaper to own an electric vehicle (EV) than a gas-powered car, according to an analysis by climate policy think tank Energy Innovation.

But you probably won’t find a better deal than in New Jersey. The Garden State offers generous incentives to drivers looking to go green, including a $5,000 rebate for anyone who buys or leases an EV. It also waives its usual 6.625% sales tax on car purchases. All that’s on top of the $7,500 tax credit for EV purchases offered by the US federal government.

A map of the US comparing the average monthly cost of six EV models vs. comparable gas-powered models. New Jersey is the cheapest.

What tech boom?

Startups are laying off workers. Venture capitalists are doing fewer deals. Tech’s boom-time vibe, it seems, is over.

Consider that the 10 biggest tech IPOs of last year are all struggling. Crypto exchange Coinbase and electric-vehicle maker Rivian are the worst of the bunch, down nearly 80% since the start of the year.

A chart shows last year's big tech IPOs are down 20-80% year to date.
Image copyright: Quartz

Quartz executive editor Walter Frick explained more about why tech markets are spooked in the latest Weekend Brief. ✦ Support Quartz journalism by becoming a member today and get the briefing in your inbox each week.

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Surprising discoveries

The first plant to fall victim to man-made climate change was a valued aphrodisiac. The herb silphium went extinct because of urban expansion in ancient Greece and Rome.

Maybe the ancients should have tried “pee-cycling” instead? Using human urine in fertilizer could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help plants thrive.

A new statue of Margaret Thatcher lasted less than two hours before getting egged. Erected in Thatcher’s hometown of Grantham, the statue has attracted controversy since its inception.

An Indian couple is suing their son and daughter-in-law in the hopes of producing a grandchild. They want a grandbaby within a year or else 50 million rupees ($675,000).

But there’s other ways to incentivize births. One country with a relatively good fertility rate—Sweden—has made child care widespread since the 1960s. 🎧 Learn what other countries have tried in the latest episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.

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

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