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Here’s what you need to know
Russia defaulted on foreign debt. The missed payments are the country’s first since 1918 and were more because of Western sanctions than lack of money.
NATO wants a huge increase in forces. A new plan will prepare more than 300,000 troops for deployment, up from the 40,000 now situated on the alliance’s eastern flank. The announcement comes as a Russian rocket hit a busy shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk.
India’s stock market hit a two-week high. Tech and metal shares led the charge, but analysts say the gains are likely temporary as rate hikes and other economic pressures loom.
Google faced more antitrust scrutiny in the EU. A Danish job listing site has accused the tech behemoth of pushing its own service and skewing job seekers away from other sites.
The US and Taiwan began economic and trade talks. The conversations won’t help growing tensions between the US and China, but come as the Taiwanese company GlobalWafers announced plans to build a $5 billion factory in Texas.
Snack maker Weilong Delicious revived its IPO. The $500 million listing could be one of the Hong Kong’s largest this year.
What to watch for
It’s been a big week for the US Supreme Court. Up next: A decision to severely limit the powers of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The plaintiffs, which include several coal and mining industry companies and Republican state attorneys general, have argued that the EPA has overstepped its statutory mandate in a controversial rule about regulating greenhouse gas emissions—only that rule doesn’t exist, and never really did. The Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan was disputed, repealed, and later replaced with the Affordable Clean Energy rule in 2018 (since remanded, and there’s no new rule yet).
The court could decline to decide until a new EPA rule is issued, or, it might say the EPA lacks “beyond the fence-line” authority but can regulate individual power plants. In the worst case scenario, the decision could lead to overturning the landmark ruling that established the agency’s right to regulate CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.
The next abortion battleground
More than half of all abortions in the US are medication abortions—meaning they are induced by pills. Many of those pills are sent by mail following a telehealth consultation, making the US Postal Service, a federal agency, among the main conduits for abortion access.
As some US states move to enforce bans on abortion, pills-by-mail will become a legal challenge as well as one of enforcement. Here’s where the lines are drawn, for now:
💊 States can regulate access to health within their borders, but they can’t regulate federal mail. And monitoring each package’s contents is unrealistic, especially in a post-pandemic world.
💻 States can take swipes at telehealth, but those attempts are easy to circumvent.
⚙️ States are big, but Big Pharma is a beast. Manufacturers of abortion pills are already suing states, arguing that federal approval of a drug overrides state laws.
Africa’s untapped insurance potential
Africa has one of the lowest insurance penetration rates in the world: less than 3%.
The continent’s insurance industry struggles for several reasons, chief among them a lack of development. Getting insurance is a lengthy and complex process, and people are skeptical of providers thanks to long process times for claims that rarely materialize.
But Africa’s appetite for insurance is growing.
Our latest Quartz Africa Member Brief was all about waking Africa’s sleeping giant—the insurance industry. ✦ Read this issue, peruse the archive, and get a fresh one every Wednesday in your inbox by signing up for a Quartz Africa membership today. And hey, go ahead and take 35% off.
Quartz’s most popular
Surprising discoveries – Superlative edition
The most complete mummified mammal was found in the Americas. “She’s perfect and she’s beautiful,” a paleontologist said of the baby wooly mammoth that’s 35,000 years old.
The deepest shipwreck was discovered off the coast of the Philippines. The US Navy destroyer was found 6,985 meters (22,916 feet) below the surface.
Bored & Hungry has to be the most confused restaurant. The NFT-themed burger joint in Los Angeles decided not to accept cryptocurrency anymore.
Our grossest friend criterion is that they smell similar to us. Yes, humans smell each other all the time.
The world’s worst hotel has walless rooms snuggled between a highway and a gas station. Renters aren’t supposed to sleep, but rather ponder the climate crisis and other horrors.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, olfactometers, and a peaceful slumber to email@example.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Julia Malleck, Susan Howson, and Morgan Haefner.