Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—China’s anniversary crackdown, greenhouse gas cuts, Qatar’s cup bribes, Bruce Lee’s secret

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What to watch for today

Apple shows what it’s been working on. Apple watchers expect the company to unveil a revamp of OS X, its Mac operating system, designed by the man who splashed colors all over iOS 7 last year. Apple isn’t expected to unveil a new device, but you never know.

The EU analyzes member performance. The European Commission releases its yearly fiscal evaluation of member states, offering budget and policy recommendations for each country. That won’t win European policymakers any popularity contests, especially in countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece, where EU-sanctioned austerity is blamed for widespread economic hardship.

World Cup teams finalize their players. The 32 nations fighting for the 2014 cup must announce their squads by today (paywall). Brazil itself hasn’t been meeting its construction deadlines.

UK and euro zone manufacturing update. The May UK purchasing managers’ index is expected to show a small pullback in the expansion that has held sway for the last 16 months. Analysts expect a decline in the the euro zone PMI as well.

The White House cracks down on greenhouse gases. President Obama will bypass Congress to propose a plan that will force power plants to cut their emissions by 30% (compared to 2005 levels) over 15 years. Coal states and plant owners won’t take the news lying down.

Over the weekend

China tried to erase recent history… It has arrested more than 50 people (paywall) in recent weeks to stop them from commemorating this week’s 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, seen as “the most important and traumatic single event in modern Chinese history” (paywall). In Hong Kong, the anniversary was remembered with a street protest.

…while it bickered about the present. Lieutenant general Wang Guangzhong broke from his prepared speech at the Shangri-la security conference to rail against US and Japanese claims that China was threatening regional stability. In a sideline interview, Wang said the US foreign policy had “erectile dysfunction.”

Israel warned against a Palestinian unity government. Ahead of an expected new Palestinian cabinet announcement, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas “would not bolster peace, it would strengthen terror.”

Qatar’s World Cup bid was won with bribes. A Sunday Times exposé reveals how a country with no football infrastructure bagged the rights to host the world’s biggest sporting tournament in 2022 (paywall). Following a FIFA ethics investigation, the decision could go to a re-vote.

China factory activity hit a five-month high. The official purchasing managers index for May reached 50.8, up from 50.4, in its biggest rise this year. The figure beat analysts’ expectations and bodes well for China’s plan to stabilize its slowing economy.

Spain moved to fix its high unemployment rate. Prime minister Mariano Rajoy said he will cut corporate taxes from 30% to 25% as part of a €6.3 billion ($8.6 billion) plan to create more jobs. Unemployment is at 25%, and youth unemployment is above 50%.

Etihad’s Alitalia investment is ready to fly. The United Arab Emirates’ flag carrier is ready to move forward with its investment in the historically unprofitable Italian airline, after months of negotiations, adding to Etihad’s growing footprint in Europe.

Quartz obsession interlude

Mark DeCambre on the colorful cast of characters facing US insider trading investigations. “What do star golfer Phil Mickelson, corporate raider Carl Icahn and famed Las Vegas gambler William T. Walters have in common? Federal insider trading probes. The trio reportedly are ensnared in a series of investigations led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning trades made based on non-public information—otherwise known as insider information—report the Wall Street Journal (paywall) and New York Times (paywall), both citing people briefed on the probes.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The UK’s problem isn’t a housing bubble, it’s a London bubble. Britain needs to rebalance and invest in its north.

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s election victory was the easy part. The new Egyptian president’s real test will be fixing the economy.

The ailment of the modern era is “surveillant anxiety.” It’s the fear that our digital footprints reveal too much about us.

Europe’s greatest threat is the end of politics. There is “a withering of the traditional ‘left versus right’ distinction amongst political parties, coupled with a realignment along new political lines.”

Hollywood and Silicon Valley don’t have much in common, besides California. ​When it comes to financing, communication and culture, the two industries are worlds apart.

Surprising discoveries

The US constitution may have a fatal flaw. Mathematician Kurt Gödel noticed that the section on amendments can itself be amended.

The world produces more farmed fish than beef. But can aquaculture really save humanity from famine?

Bruce Lee’s biggest strength was between his ears. The secret behind his ”one-inch punch” was exquisite neurological timing.

The moon has WiFi. MIT and NASA researchers used four telescopes and a laser to transmit a WiFi signal from a base in New Mexico.

Cat lovers are smarter than dog lovers. So say scientists who are probably cat owners.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, constitutional conundrums, and lunar WiFi passwords to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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