Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—World Cup kick-off, BNP departures, Iraq counter-strike, golf quants

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What to watch for today

The World Cup kicks off. Brazil and Croatia go head-to-head in the first match of the soccer  tournament. The kickoff follows months of protests in Brazil over the money that is being spent on the event rather than health, housing, and education.

Lululemon tries to get back in shape. This earnings report marks the one-year point since Lululemon’s CEO, Christine Day, stepped down, after the sportswear company lost $2 billion in market value when it had to recall see-through yoga pants. Analysts expect a 10% rise in sales but flat profit.

Obama and Abbott meet. The Australian prime minister and the US president are expected to clash over climate change in their first-ever meeting.

Canada gets a comprehensive risk assessment. The Bank of Canada’s Financial System Review rates overall risks to the financial system, ranging from household debt to euro zone issues, and has an influence on base interest rates. Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will speak about the findings.

A boost for US retail sales. The US Commerce Department is expected to report that retail sales rose 0.6% in May, following a 0.1% rise in April.

While you were sleeping

BNP executives were forced out. Georges Chodron de Courcel, COO of BNP Paribas, has retired without explanation (paywall). He was chairman of BNP’s Swiss division that processed trades that allegedly violated US sanction laws. US regulators want BNP to force out executives and pay a $10 billion fine. BNP’s compliance head in North America is expected to leave too.

Iraq bolsters its forces. Government forces appeared to be preparing a counter-strike (paywall) against ISIS militants that took Mosul as well as Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. The US is reportedly weighing a request for military aid.

Intel lost in Europe. The €1.06 billion ($1.43 billion) fine imposed on the chip-maker by European antitrust regulators five years ago was upheld by Europe’s second-highest court.

London got a renminbi boost. China Construction Bank, China’s second-largest lender, will be the first clearing service for the renminbi in London (paywall), according to the Financial Times. The deal—likely to be announced by premier Li Keqiang during a trip to London next week—boosts London’s status as a foreign exchange trading center, and ought to allow for more efficient and liquid trading of the renminbi.

South China Sea disputes were aired. Vietnam’s ambassador to the UN accused Beijing of refusing to hold talks over disputed areas of the South China Sea, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson in Beijing denied China had sent warships to the area yesterday and the Japanese are protesting a close call with a Chinese fighter plane.

Quartz obsession interlude

Shruti Chakraborty on Indian corner shops: Big retail can’t compare, but online grocery sites could. “Corner shops should beware, though, of the online grocery. A number of e-commerce startups are entering this space. They figure if they can deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to a doorstep, people would rather shop online rather than step out into heat, traffic, or pollution. The sector is especially emboldened by double-income families and the fact that women between the ages of 30 and 35 are the biggest adopters of online grocery shopping.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

America has an imperialist dilemma. Like it or not, America has established an empire—letting go of it will be painful, but necessary.

Most sports doping should be legalized. Not all performance enhancement is cheating.

The tech M&A boom is a mid-life crisis. Older companies think they can stay in the game by absorbing fresh young startups.

Shinzo Abe is the world’s best leader. The Japanese prime minister is actually getting things done—including winning over his skeptics.

American-style warfare doesn’t work. The US has spent half a century at war and it hasn’t won one.

Courts should not rely on forensic science as evidence. It’s a fundamentally flawed discipline that has sent many innocent people to prison.

Surprising discoveries

Oculus Rift doesn’t plan to make money from its headsets. Whatever they cost to make, that’s the price at which they’ll be sold.

Starbucks will offer wireless phone charging nationwide. The coffee store will install Powermats inside its tables to charge your phone over the air.

Golf needs big data.Golf quants” are bringing math-driven analysis to the game to improve players’ scores.

JK Rowling really doesn’t want Scottish independence. The Harry Potter creator donated £1 million ($1.7 million) to a campaign to keep the UK unified.

China is World Cup crazy, even though it isn’t competing. You can even buy fake sick notes to get off work after a late-night match.

Handshakes are so passé. The cool young men are hugging nowadays.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, World Cup sick notes, and hugs to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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