Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—AT&T buys DirecTV, Chinese flee Vietnam, Modi’s obstacles, drinkable suntan lotion

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What to watch for today

Some clues about ECB stimulus. Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann has been the biggest skeptic of calls for the European Central Bank to do something radical in the face of looming euro-zone deflation. Markets will be parsing his comments at a conference in Frankfurt for clues about how aggressive the bank will be at its rate-setting meeting next month.

A comprehensive look at Africa’s economy. The annual African Economic Outlook from a group of international agencies will cover all 54 African countries for the first time, and look at what global trade and industrialization can do for the continent’s growth.

Google kicks the fenders on Twitch. The YouTube owner is reportedly in talks to spend $1 billion to buy the live video streaming service, which lets users watch other people play video games. Yes, that’s a real thing: During peak traffic hours, Twitch consumes more bandwidth than Hulu and Amazon.

Jill Abramson takes the stage. The recently-fired executive editor of the New York Times will speak at a commencement ceremony at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Amid a furore over sexism that may have contributed to her ouster, Abramson’s daughter said her mom will “show ’em what she’s made of.”

Over the weekend

Gunfire and rockets rocked Libya’s parliament. Militia fighters tried to storm Libya’s interim parliament in Tripoli, sending MPs fleeing. The militia leader claimed he is not, as the government claims, mounting a coup.

AstraZeneca rejected Pfizer’s supposed final, sweetened offer. Pfizer raised its bid for the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker to £69.4 billion ($117 billion), but AstraZeneca still said no, arguing that Pfizer failed to consider the value of drugs still in its pipeline.

AT&T signed up for DirecTV. The $48.5 billion acquisition will, if approved by regulators, give AT&T a satellite-TV platform to go with its mobile and broadband businesses, giving it a leg up in the rapidly consolidating US telecom and media industries.

The Bank of England targeted the housing bubble. Governor Mark Carney said rising house prices are the number-one threat to the British economy, and proposed a series of policy fixes. Average UK house prices rose 8.4% in 2013, and prices in London and Manchester were up a staggering 21%.

Apple and Google buried the hatchet. The tech giants agreed to end a long-running legal war over smartphone patents. Samsung and Apple are, however, still fighting it out in court.

Putin stroked China’s ego… The Russian president tried to solidify his country’s partnership with China, saying their relationship was at “the highest level ever.” He will travel to Shanghai later this week to continue talks on exporting natural gas to China.

…And Chinese workers fled Vietnam. China evacuated 3,000 of its citizens after rioters killed several people during protests over China’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters. Vietnamese authorities, which allowed previous demonstrations against China’s rig, are now cracking down on the protests.

Quartz obsession interlude

S. Mitra Kalita on how Narendra Modi won over her family. “For much of India’s 67-year history, the majority of my family has supported Congress… Then last month, amid the biggest election in human history, I landed in an India that somehow and suddenly felt different. The revolution was not as I’d expected—no mass protest in the streets over inequality and women’s rights, graft and malnutrition, wages and labor conditions. Yet there was a palpable shift in a nation’s psyche, most evident in my own family. Dozens of relatives were firmly in Modi’s camp.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The sharing economy won’t create a caring economy. More collaboration and less consumption, but it also means we are commercializing our relationships.

Even at record highs, the stock market is your best long-term bet. Stocks, unlike gold or real estate, are an investment in creative potential 

The US needs a new Brown v. Board of Education. The 60-year-old Supreme Court desegregation ruling was a landmark moment for a movement that has since petered out.

Finding work for farmers should be Modi’s top goal. But a romantic view of agriculture in India will probably prevent that.

Dilma Rousseff is looking desperate. Brazil’s president doesn’t seem to realize the damage her economic policies are doing.

Surprising discoveries

Introducing drinkable sunblock. Drinking the stuff every four hours could counteract 97% of the sun’s rays, says its manufacturer.

Mobile payment apps make you tip more. One restaurant company reported a 45% increase after switching.

The riot police in Brazil look just like the ones in BrazilThe elite World Cup “robo-cops” of Rio bear an uncanny resemblance to the dystopian 1985 classic.

Norway has a human zoo. Two artists created it to remind Norwegians about hidden racism.

Watch out, it’s bee swarming season. Which means clumps of thousands of bees take up residence in all kinds of unlikely places.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, bee shelters and sunblock cocktails to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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