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🌎 Housing headaches

While home values continued to climb in May, home sales declined for a fourth consecutive month.

People look at housing listings
REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
A man looks at advertisements for luxury apartments and homes in the window of a Douglas Elliman Real Estate sales business in Manhattan’s upper east side neighborhood in New York City, New York, U.S. October 19, 2021.
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  • Susan Howson
By Susan Howson

News Editor

Published

Good morning, Quartz readers!


Here’s what you need to know

US median home prices hit a record high. While home values continued to climb in May, home sales declined for a fourth consecutive month, with affordability hitting a 15-year low.

Kellogg’s decided to split in three. Each entity will focus on a specific segment of the food company’s portfolio: snacks, cereals, and plant-based products. 

The Twitter board endorsed Elon Musk’s acquisition. The company’s directors unanimously voted in favor of the $44 billion sale

Blockchain payment company Roxe plans to go public. It has agreed to a $3.6 billion SPAC deal with Goldenstone Acquisition. 

Top leaders at Pornhub parent company MindGeek resigned. CEO Feras Antoon and COO David Tassillo quit after more than a decade at the helm of the controversial firm

The US Food and Drug Administration is tackling Big Tobacco. A proposal, which could take years to come into effect, would require tobacco companies to cut nicotine levels in cigarettes.

Tennis champion Naomi Osaka launched a media production company. Hana Kuma aims to tell “empowering stories” and boasts big-name partnerships. In other high-profile media news, the Obamas left Spotify for Audible

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What to watch for

Paramount+ became the latest US streaming service to launch in the UK. At £6.99 ($8.60) a month, the ViacomCBS platform charges the same as Netflix, which boasts an estimated 14.9 million UK subscribers, and a little less than the other two most popular platforms, Prime Video and Disney+, which both charge £7.99 for a monthly subscription.

Paramount+ is available free of charge to subscribers of existing British movie subscription service Sky Cinema, ensuring a soft landing in the increasingly crowded field. But is it enough for the home of cult shows like Star Trek, The Good Fight, and South Park, to live long and prosper?

The timing of the launch isn’t the most auspicious. Appetite for new subscriptions is low, and as a surge in the cost of living forces Brits to reconsider their spending priorities, video on demand services usually end up on household budgets’ chopping block.


Is FTX crypto’s central bank?

FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange led by Sam Bankman-Fried, is effectively the lender of last resort for the beleaguered crypto industry.

The current “crypto winter”—which, apparently, is what we’ve all decided to call the industry’s bear market—has erased $2 trillion, but FTX is dead set on saving select companies. Yesterday, FTX gave crypto lender BlockFi a $250 million loan, and Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research extended a revolving line of credit to the crypto broker Voyager Digital.

Many have started comparing Bankman-Fried to financier J.P. Morgan, who personally bailed out many banks during the Panic of 1907. But the response to that panic was the creation of the US Federal Reserve in 1913, which was formed in part to serve as a lender of last resort. Crypto fanatics largely scorn centralized finance and government interference, but it’s clear that in times of trouble, a lifeline is sorely needed.


The great crypto pendulum

Crypto eschews centralization, but needs centralization. Crypto’s stablecoins are anything but. Read more stories that explore the trickiness of cryptocurrency.

🥺  The biggest corporate holder of bitcoin is facing a reckoning…

🧐  …But the wealthiest bitcoin holders know not to use it.

🤕  The global bitcoin crash is only adding to India’s crypto woes…

😃  …But hey, it’s good for the climate!

🥸  College hackers in Kenya are converting stolen money to bitcoin…

😳  …But let’s hope they’re not using that to save for retirement.

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Surprising discoveries

Hong Kong's Jumbo Floating Restaurant being pushed away on the water by tugboats. It's ornate but looks a little worse for wear.
Image copyright: Reuters/Tyrone Siu
Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant, being towed from the city in June 2022, a week before it capsized in bad weather.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant capsized. Hong Kong’s iconic eatery, which closed during the pandemic, met a watery doom in the South China Sea.

The jumbo-est freshwater fish ever was found in the Mekong River. The massive stingray clocks in at 661 pounds (300 kg) and is doing just fine.

A Nobel Peace Prize medal was sold for a noble cause. Dmitry Muratov, who received it in 2021, raised over $103 million in auction to help Ukrainian children.

Garlic can be accepted as payment. A Chinese property developer seeking to attract buyers is counting wheat and garlic towards down payments on homes.

Fish are flying first class. A salmon farming company in the Faroe Islands has purchased a Boeing 757 so it can shuttle fish to US customers in under 24 hours.



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