🌍 Jokowi’s on it

Joko Widodo and Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Joko Widodo and Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Image: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via Reuters

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

South Korea approved its first homegrown covid vaccine. The country’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry said the two-dose shot performed better than AstraZeneca jabs in clinical trials.

The first permanent US troops are heading to Poland. The base, plus more personnel and weapons, are part of the country’s biggest European military expansion since the Cold War. Meanwhile, Turkey will ask for the extradition of 33 terrorist suspects from Finland and Sweden in exchange for allowing their NATO bid.

Novartis is shedding up to 8,000 jobs globally. The Swiss pharmaceutical giant said the cuts are part of a $1 billion cost-saving plan.

Tianqi Lithium launched its Hong Kong IPO. The lithium producer giant wants to raise $2 billion, and could jumpstart some other debutantes who are dragging their feet.

Hyundai delayed its hydrogen car. Production of its upgraded Nexo SUV won’t start until 2024 because of fuel cell development problems, but the company is showing off its electric sedan.

Mukesh Ambani laid out a path for his successors. The Indian billionaire appointed his children to lead Reliance’s wireless and retail units.

The iPhone turned 15 yesterday. It changed what “phone” means, but perhaps could still use a good on/off switch.

What to watch for

Indonesian president Joko Widodo is meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin today, after stopping in Kyiv yesterday to consult with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Widodo—“Jokowi” to his friends (and most everyone else)—is fresh from the G7 summit in Munich and president of the G20. His mission: bring about peace.

And if that doesn’t work, he’ll settle for at least some sort of solution to the food supply crisis. Will it work? It sounds like a tall order, but Indonesia and Russia have historically been chummy.

Before leaving Jakarta, Jokowi has said he’s determined to do everything he can to loosen up the stream of grain from Ukraine and food and fertilizer from Russia. Turkey’s made some wheat-freeing progress, so it’s worth a shot.

A world map showing who imports Ukraine grain, with larger and darker circles for higher values of imports, in 2021. China is the biggest.

Feeling virtuous about the shirt you just bought?

The retailer’s website swore you could buy the shirt with the confidence that you weren’t contributing to climate change, but how can you be sure?

The Higg Index, one of the fashion industry’s most well-known sustainability rating systems, has had its credibility damaged for being too kind to synthetic fabrics made from fossil fuels and for being too kind to the fashion industry in general.

We looked into how H&M was scoring its clothes and found that the world’s second largest clothing retailer had some major discrepancies that went deeper than just using the dubious Higgs Index. H&M has since removed all its scorecards. Read the investigation that led to that change.

A visualization of 630 dots with 326 empty, 136 pink, and the rest grey. The empty items did not have improved impact on the environment at all, and the pink ones were items displayed with errors that made them appear better for the environment than they are.

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Surprising discoveries

You may have to pay to enter Venice. Officials say they are tired of day-trippers flocking to a city that “isn’t suitable for ‘fast food’ tourism.”

Can humans hear the sound of shapes? The question has been stumping mathematicians for decades.

We learned something about the Nothing smartphone. The London-based company behind the device said its starting price will be $397 and it will first be sold in India.

Pickleball went through a pandemic renaissance. But sounds from the plastic ball used in the tennis/ping pong/badminton mashup are driving people insane.

A nuclear-powered flying hotel promises to stay in the air for seven years. That’s one way to escape this world, and what could possibly go wrong? 

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, a ticket to Venice, and a ticket for the flying hotel to hi@qz.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Amanda Shendruk, Julia Malleck, Susan Howson, and Morgan Haefner.