What to watch for today
Obama’s sojourn in Europe. The US president will meet officials in Poland, Belgium and France over a four-day trip, and will urge European leaders to stand with the US against Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine.
Syria holds an “election.” President Bashar al-Assad is expected to win his third seven-year term in a rigged contest. Rebel-controlled areas in the north and east of the divided country will not be participating.
The 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square. Tonight marks a landmark anniversary of the 1989 massacre, when martial law was imposed and Chinese troops and tanks killed hundreds of civilians. Despite China’s largely successful attempts to enforce Tiananmen amnesia, vigils will take place in Taipei and Hong Kong.
Europe’s economy stays pretty miserable. May’s inflation rate and April’s unemployment figure aren’t expected to improve much (paywall), in a reminder to policymakers that Europe’s recovery is looking sickly.
UK construction heats up even more. The purchasing managers’ index is expected to rise to 61.2 in May from 60.8 in April, adding to growing evidence of a housing bubble. Bank of England governor Mark Carney has suggested he may take steps to cool the industry down.
While you were sleeping
Samsung’s holding company is planning an IPO. Samsung Everland—the de facto holding company for Samsung Electronics and other related businesses—will offer shares in the first quarter of 2015, part of a handover from chairman Lee Kun-hee to his children. Lee was hospitalized last month after suffering a heart attack.
Another 74 deaths may be linked to GM’s faulty switches. At least 74 people have died in accidents involving GM cars that have distinct similarities to other accidents which have killed 13 people, Reuters reported.
China’s economy got a mixed verdict. Activity in the service sector expanded at its fastest pace in six months with a purchasing managers’ index for May of 55.5, up from 54.8 in April. But the HSBC/Markit PMI survey, which looks at smaller manufacturing businesses, was revised down to 49.4 in May from a slightly higher preliminary reading.
Australian retail sales missed expectations. Retail sales rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in April, missing forecasts of 0.3%. Prices at cafes and restaurants, as well as household goods spending, were up more than basic food retail businesses.
$4.3 billion flowed out of Pimco. Investors sped up the rate at which they are pulling money out of Bill Gross’s flagship bond fund, which shrunk 1.9% to an estimated $229 billion in May—the 13th consecutive month of outflows. The fund outperformed 79% of its peers during the month, but its corporate feuds are being played out publicly.
Apple updated its plumbing. 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.
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
China’s strength since Tiananmen is now its biggest weakness. Its credit expansion made people rich, but is now its achilles heel.
Football fans aren’t bothered by FIFA corruption. As with racism and protests, people really only care about the football.
Poor countries are the biggest victims of climate change. They’re located in high risk zones and they have weaker infrastructure.
Batteries are ripe for disruption. The energy storage industry might be too big for Silicon Valley.
Female-named hurricanes are more deadly. Blame gender bias: People may feel less threatened by feminine storms and take fewer precautions.
Leonardo da Vinci knew how to write a cover letter. “I will make cannon, mortar and light ordnance of very beautiful and functional design.”
The world’s oldest known pair of pants are 3,000 years old. And they look pretty hip.
Bat poop sparkles. The animals are fond of insects’ wings and legs, which are surprisingly shiny.