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Sri Lanka defaulted on its debt for the first time ever

Sri Lanka defaulted on debt for the first time, and others like Egypt, Tunisia, and Pakistan could be next.

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  • Morgan Haefner
By Morgan Haefner

Deputy email editor

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Here’s what you need to know

Sri Lanka defaulted on debt for the first time ever. Countries including Egypt, Tunisia, and Pakistan could be next to default.

US president Joe Biden supported Finland and Sweden’s NATO bid. But the big challenge will be persuading Turkey to accept the two countries’ place in the military alliance.

Inflation? Get used to it. IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said yesterday that it’s becoming harder for central banks to combat rising prices without causing recessions.

China wants to buy more Russian oil. While other countries back away from Russian energy imports, Beijing is seizing the opportunity to build up its strategic petroleum reserves, sources told Bloomberg.

Monkeypox is popping up in the US, Europe, and Canada. The good news is that it’s typically mild and slow to spread between humans, so the public-health risk is low.

What to watch for

Chinese electric carmaker NIO is scheduled to debut on the Singapore Stock Exchange today. NIO is also on the New York Stock Exchange, but is on a growing list of Chinese companies that face delisting.

The company has yet to turn a profit, but its innovative battery technology and sales and revenue growth have intrigued investors. The company is part of China’s rapidly expanding new-energy vehicle (NEV) market, the largest of its kind globally.

Need to catch up on global EV news? Here’s a reading list:

⚡  It’s three times cheaper to fuel an electric car than a gas car…

🔋  …but why are electric cars getting pricier while batteries get cheaper?

👛  If you want to buy an EV, New Jersey is the place to be.

🚗  Sony is setting up an electric car company…

🔥  …while companies in India are trying to stop their EVs from setting on fire.

Can Boeing finally launch its future in space?

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is prepared for launch.
Image copyright: Reuters/Joe Skipper
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is prepared for launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Reuters/Joe Skipper

The third time may be the charm for Boeing’s Starliner, which is making a renewed attempt at reaching the International Space Station. It successfully launched on May 19 at 6:54 pm US eastern time, headed to a rendezvous with the ISS Friday evening. The previous two attempts failed, first in 2019 due to software difficulties and a lack of testing, and second in 2021 due to malfunctioning valves.

With such a track record, it remains to be seen if Boeing can build a reputation in making commercial spacecraft. Even on earth, Boeing has faced technical issues with its 737 Max and KC-46 tanker. For its space-bound rocket, NASA safety advisors warned last week that Boeing is still troubleshooting parachute and valve issues.

A smooth test flight this time round would be a bright spot for Boeing. And maybe pave the way to future launches. The difficulty is, this really is rocket science.

Two truths and lie about Elon and ESG

No one likes to lose—especially Elon Musk. While there are some things he got right about the S&P’s decision to boot Tesla from its index of the top environmental, social, and governance ratings, his Twitter tirade missed the mark.

Truth: ESG needs an overhaul

Truth: The SEC’s new climate rules could level the playing field

Lie: ESG measures favor “leftist” companies

Quartz climate reporter Tim McDonnell explains that Musk’s critique of ESG as a shadowy platform for rewarding “leftist” firms doesn’t hold. (Good luck finding a “leftist” who’s a fan of Exxon, which made the S&P index.) But Musk is right that the ratings don’t really reflect the value a company adds or subtracts from the global push toward net zero.

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📉  Kenyan crypto traders trying to ‘buy the dip’ got burned

Surprising discoveries

A toddler used his mom’s phone to order 31 McDonald’s cheeseburgers. Our suggestion for a new DoorDash motto: “So easy to use, even a 2-year-old can figure it out.”

The Ringling circus is making a comeback. This time, no animal acts (but plenty of acrobats).

A luxury umbrella drew ire on Chinese social media. The Gucci-Adidas collab costs 11,100 yuan ($1,653) but isn’t even waterproof.

Indian thieves returned 14 statues stolen from a 300-year-old Hindu temple. The thieves explained that they were having scary dreams.

More than a third of US entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Learn more about the oft-misunderstood condition on this week’s episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.

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

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, 31 cheeseburgers, and umbrellas that work to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Sarah Todd, Julia Malleck, and Morgan Haefner.

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