Quartz Daily Brief—Icahn and eBay, melting ice sheets, hipster beer, bourbon bacon

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Carl Icahn gets busy again. The activist investor could make waves at eBay’s shareholder meeting; although he withdrew his pressure on eBay to sell PayPal, he still believes it would operate better as a separate unit. He holds 2.2% of the stock, and has nominated several directors up for election.

Pfizer sweet-talks British politicians. Ian Read, CEO of the company trying to buy AstraZeneca, will make his case before the House of Commons business select committee. He will assure MPs that the takeover won’t hurt British jobs or future investment (paywall).

Australia delivers its toughest budget in 20 years. Prime minister Tony Abbott is set to cut spending drastically, slash thousands of jobs, and clamp down on welfare benefits (paywall). Despite an election pledge not to raise taxes, he’ll likely impose an extra wage levy on high-income earners.

The death of the dumbphone. Motorola will unveil the Moto E, a cheap smartphone “priced for all” that could sell for as little as $99, within reach of many people who might previously have bought a ”dumb” or “feature” phone. Here are the specs.

White Marilyn goes on sale. Christie’s expects the iconic Andy Warhol portrait, created right after Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, to fetch $12-18 million at auction in New York.

While you were sleeping

Hillshire took a bigger bite of the market. Chicago-based food conglomerate Hillshire Brands agreed to buy Pinnacle Foods, the company behind Birds Eye frozen meals, in a deal valued at $6.6 billion including debt. This means a $2 billion-plus profit for Blackstone, which currently owns 51% of Pinnacle.

West Antarctica is melting. A NASA study of 40 years of data found global warming is melting the ice sheet far faster than previously predicted, and could lead to an unstoppable rise in sea levels of 4-12 feet (1.2-3.7 meters) over the next century.

Turkey got the bill for invading Cyprus. The European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to pay €90 million ($124 million) in damages to Cyprus, which has been divided since Turkey invaded it in 1974. The money will be split between those who lost relatives during the conflict and Greek Cypriots enclaved in the north. 

Chrysler’s shopping sent it into the red. Chrysler posted a first-quarter loss of $690 million after spending $1.2 billion on buying the shares of the United Auto Workers union health-care trust, as part of the merger with Fiat. Until this acquisition, Chrysler had reported 10 straight profitable quarters. 

Hipsters made beer more expensive. The rising popularity of craft beers (paywall), which use more hops than regular beer, has sent the price of hops from about $7 to $10 a pound over the past five years. The number of craft breweries in the US increased by 15% last year.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on why Russia’s markets aren’t a good guide to what investors think. ”Russian markets are right where they were at the beginning of April, even though tensions have steadily grown since. Western officials, including the EU in its announcement of additional sanctions today, cite Ukraine’s presidential election on May 25 as a key milestone that will determine its response to Russia.Russian president Vladimir Putin called the election a ‘step in the right direction’ last week, boosting Russian assets at the time. But with few signs that the sides are pulling back from the brink—quite the opposite—ahead of the crucial national vote, why do markets seem so sanguine?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

In 2011, the euro zone almost crumbled. The subsequent months changed the bloc forever (paywall).

Too many book designers are lazy or ignorant. Look at how many books about Africa have exactly the same tree on the cover.

Millennials are killing the US housing recovery. Higher debt, lower credit and societal trends are keeping young people from buying, and that’s holding the market back.

A resumé won’t get you that dream job. You’ve got to do what everyone else doesn’t.

Climate change is contributing to terrorism. Changing weather patterns are disrupting urban habits and resources, which will in turn foster conflict.

Surprising discoveries

Get some bourbon in your bacon. A distillery near Iowa is breeding whiskey-flavored pigs.

Your LinkedIn profile can give away your crimes. Pro-tip: Don’t connect with someone to whom you’re feeding insider-trading information.

Car headlamps are good for cannabis. Gangs are nicking LED bulbs from luxury vehicles to use as growing lamps.

The strangest British habits include lunchtime pints, stunted conversation, and sweetcorn in tuna. According to European expats.

Putin’s bare chest is a bipartisan issue. It gets roughly equal mention on all three major US news networks.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pig-rearing techniques, and pictures of Putin’s chest to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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