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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—EU elections, explosions in Xinjiang, China and Japan PMI, laundry apps

By Quartz Staff

What to watch for today

Eurosceptics dominate the EU elections. Increasingly sour sentiment about the European Union (particularly in its austerity-stricken countries) could mean more seats for parties like Britain’s UKIP—especially since many voters are apathetic.

Thai politicians return to the table. Thailand’s opposing parties meet again to discuss how to end violent protests and reform the government—a tricky proposition while the country is under martial law.

HP tries to advance its turnaround story. The company’s stock is up about 9% in the last three months, so its second-quarter earnings will have to assure investors that their faith is well-founded. Despite waning global PC sales, analysts expect HP to buck the trend.

Deutsche Bank explains itself to investors. The German bank is now one of the most poorly capitalized banks in Europe, so its proposal to double the bonuses of senior managers (paywall) is under scrutiny at its annual shareholder meeting.

Berlin’s traffic makes a gender statement. German lawmakers will discuss whether to introduce a female version of the red and green Ampelmann pedestrian crossing signal, to be called the Ampelfrau. It’s more than just a traffic sign; the icon has become a logo for Berlin.

While you were sleeping

China’s manufacturing activity picked up… May’s flash HSBC manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 49.7, a five-month high and a significant jump from April’s 48.1. But it’s still below 50, the level that divides contraction and expansion.

…As did Japan’s (a bit). Japan’s flash PMI edged up to 49.9 in May, from 49.4 the previous month. The expansion suggests the economy may be able to overcome the April 1 sales tax rise, but is still struggling to achieve significant growth.

Mayhem in Xinjiang. A developing story in Urumqi, the capital of China’s mainly-Muslim region of Xinjiang: State-owned news service Xinhua reports that attackers killed and injured an unknown number of people, as explosives were hurled from two cross-country vehicles that then rammed into a crowd at an open market.

Another day, another GM recall. The US carmaker added the recall of 284,000 older Chevrolet small cars to its growing list—this time because the cars may have a tendency to catch fire. This year’s tally stands at 29 recalls affecting 15.8 million vehicles worldwide.

JD.com’s IPO is set to raise $1.8 billion. The business-t0-consumer site priced shares at $19—above its planned range of $16-18—which valued the company at $26 billion. The IPO makes JD.com the largest Chinese company to list solely in the US, and suggests an appetite for Chinese tech stocks ahead of Alibaba’s US listing.

Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi are flirting on Twitter. The nationalist leaders of both China and India have been sending each other public and mutually-appreciative messages since Modi won the general election in India. Abe only follows two other people—and one of those is his wife.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on the simple, brilliant logic behind AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV. “The race is on to launch America’s first full-fledged internet TV service (as distinct from subscription-based video-on-demand services such as Netflix and Hulu). Internet TV could, in theory, be more affordable than cable and have more functionality, especially for sports fans. Dish Network is currently in the lead, and Verizon bought Intel’s fledgling platform earlier this year. If AT&T is heading toward a world where it sells DirecTV over the internet, either to its own mobile customers or to everyone, then it would be a game changer for the industry.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The NSA isn’t made of magic. Its hacking methods consist of standard tools and a gargantuan budget.

Trigger warnings really aren’t that bad. They’re a free gesture of empathy at best, and a plot spoiler at worst.

We aren’t working harder than ever. It just feels like we are, because there’s no clear line between work and leisure.

British TV hasn’t really changed in 50 years. That’s the secret to its success.

“Grit” is more important than ability. That’s what Janet Yellen told NYU’s graduating class.

Surprising discoveries

A multi-directional treadmill could let you roam 3D worlds. It’s still just a prototype, though.

Axl Rose has the greatest range in the history of pop music. He spans more octaves than Mariah Carey and hits lower notes than Barry White.

France ordered 2,000 trains that don’t fit in its stations. That messy mistake will cost almost $70 million.

Silicon Valley’s latest fracas is between laundry apps. It’s disruptive, but at least it’s clean.

Eminem is Spotify’s most-streamed artist. But the most-listened-to song, with 235 million listens, is Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.”.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Axl Rose soundbites, and laundry app pitches to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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