Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Tesco’s bargain troubles, Alibaba’s auspicious IPO, GM’s recall gaffe, literal grammar Nazis

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What to watch for today

A bellwether Senate race could go either way. Incumbent Thad Cochran and his Tea Party-backed challenger, State Senator Chris McDaniel, each have about 49% of the vote in the hardest-fought Republican primary of 2014.

The US gets a heads-up on employment. The ADP non-farm employment data will give markets a hint ahead of Friday’s official jobs data. Analysts expect the US economy to have added at least 200,000 private-sector jobs in May.

G7 leaders meet in Brussels. For the first time in 17 years, Russia has been excluded from the summit due to its actions in Ukraine. That conflict will top the agenda, as G7 leaders affirm their support for Ukraine’s new president, former “chocolate king” Petro Poroshenko.

Hints on Walgreens’ UK expansion. The US drugstore already owns 45% of Boots, Britain’s largest chain of drugstores, and has the right to buy the remaining 55%. Walgreens’ trading and sales update will offer insight into how tempted it is to finish the deal.

While you were sleeping

US tech companies faced further threats in China. State-owned media issued a call to punish US tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook for serving as pawns of the US government to steal China’s secrets. Chinese government computers are already barred from using Windows 8, and state-owned enterprises are under pressure to ditch their IBM servers.

Britain’s biggest retailer was wounded in a price war. Tesco’s like-for-like sales fell 3.8% in the first quarter, as customers searched for bargains at competing low-price retailers like Aldi and Lidl. Analysts questioned whether the company’s turnaround plan has a sell-by date.

Dai-Ichi confirmed its purchase of Protective Life. One of Japans’s largest life insurance companies will buy the US company for $5.7 billion, paying a 34% premium over Protective’s closing price on Friday. Japanese life insurers are looking abroad for growth due to Japan’s aging population.

GM apologized to victims’ families. The beleaguered automaker mistakenly sent car recall notices to families of people who died as a result of a faulty ignition switch. The company has accepted responsibility for the deaths of 13 people, but a recent report suggested that number may be a significant underestimate.

Alibaba eyed a fortuitous IPO date. The most hotly-anticipated offering this year may take place on August 8, according to Bloomberg. Eight is a lucky number in China, and so Alibaba hopes to float its shares on the eighth day of the eighth month. Superstition won’t trump all, though—in the event of a weak market the company will instead opt for a September launch.

Australia’s economy expanded 3.5%. First-quarter GDP increased by the most since late 2011, beating analyst expectations as exports surged.

A Texas man died from mad cow disease. The US Centers for Disease Control said the death was due to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which is contracted from eating diseased beef, but noted the man had recently traveled to Europe and the Middle East.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the future of mobile phones (hint: it doesn’t include phone calls). “The idea of using a mobile phone to actually talk to people already seems quaint to many young people. According to data presented in Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report (pdf), a biannual study of how the world uses phones, mobile phones will be used less and less for calls, and more for video. The report contains some fascinating nuggets, chief among them this: Voice traffic on mobile networks will peak in 2015, then revert back to around 2011 levels by 2019.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Slavery reparations are a practical impossibility. Other wronged groups will quickly demand their own compensation.

Apple’s new strategy relies on Stockholm Syndrome. Forget new products and keep current customers as happy captives.

Cars will murder 30,000 Americans this year. Hardly anyone will bat an eyelid, thanks to auto industry lobbying.

Managers are essential. Ditching supervisory positions makes it harder to define career goals, especially when it comes to switching jobs.

Sugar should be treated like a drug. It’s addictive, pervasive, and Americans are overdosing.

Surprising discoveries

Google Glass could make you a cyborg killer. An Austin company is pairing the wearable tech with high-end weaponry.

A venture capital firm appointed an algorithm to its board. It will analyze data and vote on investment decisions.

The US Secret Service wants a social media sarcasm detector. Great idea.

Marilyn Monroe worked in a drone factory. She assembled remote-controlled planes during World War II.

The US Nazi Party is full of grammar nazis. The group’s Twitter feed urges proper word usage “for the cause.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, algorithmic board members, and sarcastic Turing tests to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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