Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
The 78th UN General Assembly convenes in New York today. Roughly 150 world leaders have flown in as climate activists take to the streets demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels.
Top US and Chinese diplomats met in Malta. The high-level talks, which may pave the way for a Joe Biden-Xi Jinping meeting in November, were called “constructive.”
Five Americans are set to be freed in a US-Iran prisoner swap. Their release is expected after Iran receives $6 billion in unfrozen funds.
Evergrande staff were detained by Chinese police. The indebted property developer’s shares plummeted 25% following the detentions.
Arm and Instacart are riding recession optimism
Wary investors have been looking to public offerings by Arm and Instacart for signals that the doomer stock market is behind them. So far, their optimism has been validated.
25%: How much the shares of Arm, the UK-based chip designer owned by SoftBank, jumped in their first day of trading (Arm held onto most of those gains the next day, though now they’re sliding down)
$10 billion: Grocery delivery app Instacart’s valuation after it raised its IPO price range (a fraction of what it was when the company was raising venture capital, but an improvement from where the IPO price was headed)
We wrote earlier this month about the upcoming IPO thaw in our Weekend Brief (a member-exclusive email you can sign up for here), and these latest successes—at least in the short-term—are pointing to just that.
Speaking of recessions… China has a lending strategy
Instead of spending its way out of a recession, China aims to lend itself out of economic trouble.
So far, the country has been glued to president Xi Jinping’s view that avoiding fiscal stimulus will break the country’s habit of investing in real estate (which hasn’t proved fruitful to say the least). Redistributing wealth in China would also threaten the Chinese Communist Party’s position, as it would empower more Chinese people, potentially leading to more social unrest.
That’s where loans are coming in. Cutting interest rates and reserve requirements for banks are freeing up 500 billion yuan (around $68.7 billion) of liquidity for the Chinese economy, but as Quartz’s Nate DiCamillo explains, that’s unlikely to spur more borrowing unless demand for new loans improves.
Quotable: Elon the engineer?
“I didn’t realize what a hands-on manufacturing engineer he was, that he walks the assembly lines, be it at Tesla or SpaceX, every day, and says, ‘OK, why is this screw being turned this way? Or why is this moving so slowly?’ And [he] even can rewrite the code to get it done.”—Author Walter Isaacson, in an interview with Quartz
We spoke with Isaacson about Musk’s approach to work culture, his “apocalyptic” fears about artificial intelligence, and how long he can continue with a “hardcore” approach at his companies without compromising their productivity. Find that full interview and transcript here.
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New moms are much more likely to see faces in toast. Women who have just given birth have higher levels of oxytocin, possibly making them more sensitive to pareidolia.
NASA hired a UFO research chief. The agency clarified that just because the job exists doesn’t mean that aliens do.
But the Andromeda galaxy definitely does exist, and it’s beautiful. A picture of the Milky Way’s neighbor won the top astrology photography prize this year.
Get ready to tune into 60 Minutes for 90 minutes… Several episodes of the TV show will stretch past their namesake this fall.
…and get ready to say goodbye to your favorite shows on HBO Max. Well, not necessarily, but they do run a higher risk of being canceled than those of other streaming services.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, Elvis toast, and renditions of Weyes Blood’s “Andromeda” to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Morgan Haefner and Julia Malleck.
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