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Here’s what you need to know
A Chinese property developer missed key payments. Shimao Group, the latest defaulter on offshore debt in the sector, didn’t make payments on a $1 billion bond.
Russia said it has control of Lysychansk. The city was the last in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine to fall to Russia after Ukraine’s military said it was forced to withdraw from the city.
ETF trading between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland started today. The ETF Connect, announced in May, will allow investors in both places to trade eligible funds.
Extreme weather hit Australia and Japan. Flooding has forced thousands to evacuate Sydney, while temperatures in Tokyo on Saturday crossed the 95-degree Fahrenheit mark for the eighth straight day amid a record-breaking heat wave.
Short sellers circled Tether. Crypto traders are getting out of Tether as the assets backing the stablecoin are scrutinized. Meanwhile, customers of crypto lender Celsius are wondering if they’ll see their money again after the company froze withdrawals.
What to watch for
As the US celebrates its independence day today, the country faces several threats to its democracy.
A conservative Supreme Court will consider a case in the next term that could result in the Justices granting state legislatures the sole power over federal election rulemaking (meaning that state judicial and executive branches couldn’t check them). White nationalists continue to terrorize minority groups in America, and revelations from congressional hearings on the January 6th insurrection revealed that then-president Donald Trump ordered that metal detectors meant to keep weapons away from the president be removed because his supporters were not “here to hurt me.”
The US is not the only country that’s experiencing threats to freedom. Autocrats around the world are joining forces to pursue dissidents, even across borders. Less than 20% of the global population lives in a free country, according to human rights organization Freedom House. This is the lowest percentage since 1995.
GameStop trading almost destroyed Robinhood
Robinhood helped create the memestock craze, but that same trading frenzy nearly wiped out the brokerage app. New details from a congressional report on memestocks showed that Robinhood nearly defaulted during the GameStop short squeeze last January.
The online brokerage was short the collateral that it needed to meet a margin call—by a lot. Robinhood lobbied the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) for leniency and fundraised from investors to make it through the incident without defaulting, but it was close.
Here’s a look at what was on the line:
$3 billion: The amount of collateral Robinhood needed but didn’t have to make the margin call.
$2.3 billion: How much the DTCC waived in collateral requirements, still leaving Robinhood $700 million short.
$3.5 billion: How much Robinhood subsequently fundraised to make sure it could stay solvent.
How the Sony Walkman changed everything
The Sony Walkman went on sale for the very first time 43 years ago. The personal cassette player was greeted as a revolution as people could listen to the music of their choice, privately and on-the-go.
Though it’s become far less popular than other older technologies like record players, the Walkman had a lasting impact, precipitating the rise of MP3 players, and accompanying headphones that allow us to revel in our own auditory worlds.
We’ve compiled a reading list on how headphones and individual music listening have changed work and life, for better and worse.
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Quartz’s most popular
Big Ben will ring again. Bongs of the clock tower in London will resume after construction rendered them silent for the past five years.
Dinosaurs ran the Earth because they could handle cold. A new study found the giant reptiles that dominated the world before dinosaurs couldn’t withstand the ice.
A new board game about climate change doesn’t allow players to win. The goal is just not to reach TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it).
Thousands of harvester ants helped unearth fossils of 10 new mammal species in Nebraska. If only the bugs didn’t bite the paleontologists.
Influencers are fueling Malaysia’s online used-car market. Customers apparently trust YouTubers over car salespeople.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Big Ben ringtones, and dinosaur sweaters to email@example.com. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Nate DiCamillo, Sarah Todd, and Morgan Haefner.