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🌍 EU passes Russian oil ban

Following a Monday meeting in Brussels, EU leaders arrived at an agreement to ban Russian oil.

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  • Amanda Shendruk
By Amanda Shendruk

Visual journalist

Published

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The EU agreed to ban Russian oil. It committed to cut 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year. Hungary, which has disputed an oil ban, is exempted from the embargo. 

US president Joe Biden announced a plan to combat inflation. The three-part plan was published on Monday before today’s meeting with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to discuss the highest inflation rate in decades. 

China’s factory activity shrank more slowly in May. Manufacturing and services contracted less as covid-19 restrictions eased. 

Israel and the UAE signed a free trade agreement. The historic deal is the first of its kind between Israel and an Arab state, and follows an agreement that normalized relations in 2020.

Canada proposed a freeze on handgun ownership. Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced a bill that would ban the purchase, sale, transfer, and import of handguns in response to last week’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

“Top Gun: Maverick” broke Memorial Day weekend box office records. The blockbuster sequel starring Tom Cruise raked in $156 million in just four days, even without an opening in the Chinese market.

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What to watch for

Tech giants Salesforce and HP will publish their earnings today. Salesforce saw shares lose 35% of their value this year amid volatility in the Nasdaq, despite a 26% year-over-year revenue increase during the previous quarter. As for HP, analysts predict the company’s performance will get a boost from increased demand for commercial PCs amid ongoing economic recovery.

Both companies have recently seen billionaire investment. George Soros, who was spotted at Davos last week warning of the end of civilization, increased his fund’s stake in Salesforce by 68% earlier in the year. Meanwhile, Warren Buffett upped his HP holdings in April, buying nearly $5 billion worth of shares and increasing his stake to 11.4%. The move made Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway the company’s controlling shareholder.

China is no longer India’s largest trading partner

That title now goes to the US. Bilateral trade between the US and India stood at $119.4 billion in the financial year ending March 2022, ousting China from the top spot. This is up from $80.5 billion the year before, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

It’s not the first time the countries have leap-frogged one another in the rankings. China most recently took the top trading spot from the US in 2020.

It’s likely that bilateral trade between India and the US will continue to grow. India is part of the newly formed, US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The 14-country economic agreement, which does not include China, aims to strengthen US alliances and economic cooperation in the region

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Power play in the Indo-Pacific

Last week, US president Joe Biden made some strong statements about China and Taiwan, though they were later walked back. The latest issue of the Weekend Brief—available exclusively for members—lists what factors to keep an eye on that could affect how everything shakes out.

We’ll give you one for free: the Communist Party leadership congress. Xi Jinping is expected to take a third term at the event, which will be held in the second half of this year. Expect a lengthy speech where he lays out his vision for China’s road ahead.

Read the rest—and a lot more—in the latest Weekend Brief. You’ll need a Quartz membership, but good news, it’s 40% off if you use this link.

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Learn more

Surprising discoveries

The Mona Lisa got some cake… A climate activist dressed as an elderly woman smeared the protective glass with cream. The enigmatic portrait remains unharmed.

… and these paintings may be fake. The FBI is investigating the origins of 25 artworks allegedly painted by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The supercomputer race heats up. The US-built Frontier has outstripped Japan’s Fugaku as the world’s fastest supercomputer, ending its two-year reign.

Bananas are anxiety-inducing. At least, that’s the case for male mice, according to scientists at McGill University. Certain chemicals in the fruit lead to spikes in stress hormones.

Smell-o-vision might arrive sooner than you think. Some companies are creating scents that pair with virtual reality. 🎧Tune in to learn more about how the metaverse is getting meta-sensory in this week’s episode of the Quartz Obsession podcast.

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

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