Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

The US nominated a new World Bank chief. President Joe Biden put forward former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to lead the financial institution.

China declared its covid epidemic has “basically” ended. Health officials called it a “major decisive victory,” but also said they’re still monitoring XBB.1.5 variant cases.

Netflix slashed subscription prices around the globe. The streaming platform’s costs have gone down in over 30 countries in recent weeks in a bid to beat out competitors.

A UK minister said the country’s “salad crisis” could last a month. Major supermarkets have begun rationing produce like lettuce and tomatoes, as food shortages persist.

Alibaba reported strong December quarter earnings. The Chinese e-commerce giant’s net income rose 69%, beating expectations. Meanwhile, its fintech affiliate Ant Group reported an 83% fall in net quarterly profit.

A coal mine in northern China collapsed. At least five workers have died and dozens more remain missing at a site in Inner Mongolia.

What to watch for

Africa’s most populous country heads to the polls on Saturday, Feb. 25, to pick its next president. It is Nigeria’s most unpredictable election since the country gained independence in 1960. Here are the frontrunners:

  • Former Lagos governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressive Congress;
  • Former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, who’s making his sixth presidential bid; and
  • Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate and the race’s dark horse, who has won support among digitally savvy voters collectively known as the “Obidients.”

Missing from the ballot are Nigerian women, who struggle for representation in their home country despite reaching top jobs in international organizations. Add gender equality, then, to the next Nigerian leader’s priorities, along with corruption, poverty, and security. And the killing of a Labour Party senatorial candidate on Wednesday shows the threat of violence during this election season cannot be underestimated.

Microsoft’s big Bing theory

If you’re only dimly aware of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, that’s because by the time it launched in 2009, Google had long since become synonymous with search. But the new Bing, launched earlier this month, hopes to turn some heads with powerful AI capabilities that go beyond providing links.

In 2019, Microsoft partnered with OpenAI, the research company behind ChatGPT and DALL-E, in a deal that would boost the tech and reach of both companies’ efforts in artificial intelligence.

If the new Bing is successful, it could reshape Microsoft’s other offerings, such as the company’s support desks or its Outlook email platform. Can Microsoft unseat Google as the queen of search, or are the two giants competing over the next frontier of technology?

Further reading:
🔬 How 10 industries are experimenting with ChatGPT

💱 ChatGPT could be used for economics research in all sorts of ways

Get your headphones ready

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Surprising discoveries

You can now walk on dry land to an island in Italy… San Biagio has reconnected with the shore of Lake Garda, thanks to a historic drought.

… while the City of Water is drying up. Venetian canals have been reduced to puddles due to lack of rain.

LA’s trendiest art spot is super dead. Grave Gallery rests on a burial plot in Hollywood Forever cemetery.

A wrestling competition was held on a moving streetcar. Students in Japan’s Aichi prefecture wanted to add some punch to their graduation festivities.

Just an hour of walking daily could help you live longer. One Japanese study finds 5,000 to 7,000 steps per day can give a vital boost.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Send any news, comments, recommended walking routes, and undesired streetcars to [email protected]. Reader support makes Quartz available to all—become a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Zach Seward, Sofia Lotto Persio, Julia Malleck, and Susan Howson.


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