Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Obama’s sojourn in Europe. The four-day trip will see the US president meeting with officials in Poland, Belgium and France. He is expected to urge European leaders to stand firm with the US against Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine.
Syria goes to the polls. Current president Bashar al-Assad, who faces two opponents, is expected to win his third seven-year term in a rigged election. Rebel-controlled areas in the north and east of the divided country will not be participating in the vote.
The anniversary of Tiananmen Square. Tonight marks the 25th anniversary of the start of the two-day massacre at Tiananmen Square, when martial law was imposed and Chinese troops and tanks fired on civilians, killing hundreds. Despite China’s attempts to quash the memory, a vigil will take place in Taipei.
European data stays pretty miserable. May’s inflation rate and April’s unemployment figure aren’t expected to improve from the previous month (paywall), with forecasts of 0.7% and 11.8%, respectively, reminding policymakers that Europe isn’t exactly on the path to speedy economic growth.
While you were sleeping
Apple updated its software. At an annual developers’ conference, the company launched iOS 8, its new mobile operating system, and unveiled OS X Yosemite for Mac. Apple also unveiled HealthKit, an app to help the user collect and analyze health data. Here’s every chart from the keynote.
German inflation fell to a four-year low. The inflation rate sank from 1.1% in April to a worse-than-expected 0.6% in May—a figure not seen since February 2010. This should place further pressure on the European Central Bank to act more aggressively in encouraging euro area growth
Russia relaxed its gas demands. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company, gave Kiev another week to pay its gas bill after Ukraine handed over a partial payment of $786 million. The company had threatened to cut off Ukraine’s gas supply, but Russia seems to be easing back economic pressure on Ukraine.
The US outlined its plan to fight climate change. President Obama launched a proposal to cut power plant greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, compared to 2005 levels, by 2030. This will mostly affect coal-fueled electricity producers, and could increase reliance on natural gas, which releases half as much carbon as coal, and renewable energy.
The King of Spain stepped down. King Juan Carlos I will abdicate after almost 40 years on the throne. Generally a popular monarch for easing his country’s transition from dictatorship to democracy, his 2012 elephant-hunting trip to Africa did not sit well with Spaniards suffering through the economic crisis, and the announcement prompted anti-monarchy demonstrations.
Quartz obsession interlude
Steve LeVine and David Yanofsky on how countries around the world are cutting carbon emissions—except India. “The proposal allows the United States some leverage in international climate change negotiations, where Chinese and Indian representatives have argued that the US should take the lead in reducing emissions because of its historical contribution to climate change. China, with its voracious appetite for coal, is now the largest producer of emissions, but the next time the subject is discussed, during the Group of 7 meeting on June 4 and 5 in Brussels, the spotlight may be more on India, [whose] emissions continue to soar from 2020 on, according to the EIA projection, while other countries reduce their carbon output.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
No one is really surprised or bothered by FIFA corruption. It’s the same as on-field racism and protests in Brazil—people only care about the football.
Poor countries are the worst victims of climate change. For two reasons: geography (they’re located in high risk zones) and poverty (they have weaker infrastructure).
Real writers have no place on Twitter. Sentences in the context of a book, vocalized by characters, are very different from abbreviated, isolated nuggets in the writer’s voice.
The next industry to be disrupted will be batteries. The energy storage industry is increasingly important, and might be too big for Silicon Valley.
Female-named hurricanes are more deadly than male-named hurricanes. People feel less threatened by women’s names, and take fewer precautions.
Leonardo da Vinci had a resume, too. “Should the need arise, I will make cannon, mortar and light ordnance of very beautiful and functional design.”
Three tips for predicting the future. Number one: Be less specific.
Bat scat is sparkling. They eat insects’ wings and legs, which other predators might discard.