What to watch for today
Gaming companies do battle. Microsoft and Sony are two of the major players to kick off this year’s E3 conference in Los Angeles. Microsoft’s task is to appeal to hardcore gamers (paywall) while touting its Xbox One as a multimedia living room device, while Sony needs to hold on to its sales lead.
European leaders discuss the EC’s top job. David Cameron and Angela Merkel meet with leaders from Sweden and the Netherlands to discuss who should be the next president of the European Commission. Cameron is urging the others not to appoint Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s former prime minister.
Japan’s economy grows less than expected. Analysts expect the final reading for Japan’s first quarter GDP to be revised down to 1.4% from 1.5%, or an annualized 5.6% down from 5.9%, largely due to weaker-than-expected private investment.
FIFA rounds up its Qatar probe. Following months of investigation, Michael Garcia, a New York-based lawyer, will conclude the process, although his findings are not likely to be published for another six weeks. If he finds wrongdoing in Qatar’s bid, FIFA could revote for the 2022 hosts.
Over the weekend
Domestic demand sagged in China. The country’s trade surplus almost doubled to $35.9 billion after its exports jumped to 7% in May, compared to April’s 0.9% increase, and imports unexpectedly fell by 1.6%, missing expectations of a 6.1% rise and fueling concerns about weakening domestic demand.
Bulgaria put its pipeline back in the pipeline. Following pressure from the EU and the US, Bulgaria said it would stop building its South Stream gas pipeline, a project funded by Russia’s Gazprom. The pipe delivers gas to western Europe through the Balkans, thus avoiding Ukraine.
The pressure ramped up on FIFA. Major World Cup sponsors, including Sony, Adidas and Visa, urged FIFA to investigate Qatar’s winning bid for the 2022 tournament, after the Sunday Times published its second set of leaked documents showing bribery behind the bid.
Egypt inaugurated its new president. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief who ousted Mohamed Morsi last year, was sworn in as president. He said defeating terrorism would be his priority, and there would be “no acquiescence or laxity shown to those who resorted to violence.”
And so did Ukraine. “Chocolate king” Petro Poroshenko was sworn in (paywall) as the country’s fifth president after his landslide victory last month. He made clear that Ukraine will not accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but agreed to start peace talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Quartz obsession interlude
Annalisa Merelli on how Italian soccer stickers turned kids into capitalists. ““Ce l’ho, ce l’ho, mi manca”—“Got it, got it, need it”—is the refrain that has introduced Italian kids to the joys of supply and demand for decades. It is the equivalent to the stock market’s “buy, sell,” but it accompanies the exchange of a very different, though similarly precious commodity: Panini stickers, which contain portraits of the soccer players taking part in the World Cup.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Uber’s $18.2 billion valuation is a wild overestimate. Its investors are forgetting one thing: the drivers have no loyalty to Uber (paywall), and its competition is growing.
GM’s culture of “cost control” was the company’s tragic flaw. Engineers were told to deliver on time or take responsibility for the domino effect of delays.
Rafael Nadal is the king of clay. He’s won nine times in the last decade of French Opens; no one else comes close.
The best hedge funds operate on secrecy. “The more important you are, the less you need to be liked, and the less you need to be seen.”
A computer passed the Turing Test. Pretending to be a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, the program convinced the judges that it was a human.
Nike sponsors most of the World Cup’s most marketable stars. Even though the tournament’s official sponsor is Adidas.
There’s a certain poetry to Twitter. No, really: bots are on the lookout for haikus, anagrams, and now pangrams (sentences that contain every letter of the alphabet).