What to watch for today
Japan’s central bank takes a decision. This could be the month the Bank of Japan decides to ease monetary policy again, to mitigate the impact of April’s sales tax hike. But at least some informal indicators suggest it won’t need to.
Bowe Bergdahl steps back on US soil. The army sergeant, who was freed last month from five years of Taliban captivity in exchange for the release of five prisoners from Guantánamo Bay, will continue his rehab at a military hospital in San Antonio. He’s been in Germany since his release.
Complaining in Europe gets cheaper. Companies in the EU will no longer be allowed to charge customers more than standard calling rates when they call to make an inquiry or file a complaint—although these changes won’t affect government department helplines.
ISIL advances towards Baghdad. After the Sunni militants captured a town just 56 miles (90km) to the north of the Iraqi capital on Thursday, it’s feared they could make further gains. The US has said it is considering air strikes but won’t send ground troops to Iraq.
A spooky night sky. A solar flare on the surface of the sun could send a shockwave through earth and possibly disrupt GPS and communication signals, while a full moon falling on Friday 13th won’t happen again until 2049. Basically, if you’re superstitious, stay indoors.
World Cup games. Mexico v Cameroon (midnight Friday HKT), Spain v Netherlands (3am Saturday), Chile v Australia (6am Saturday).
While you were sleeping
Tesla’s technology is now yours—if you can find it. In a blog post, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric-car company has binned its patents “in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology”—though it seems not to be actually open-sourcing its inventions, just not suing anyone who uses them.
Kenya bumped up its GDP even more. The country said its economy is one-fifth bigger than previously thought (paywall), meaning GDP probably reached $50 billion in 2013. In April, Nigeria said its GDP was 89% larger than previously estimated.
Twitter canned its COO. Ali Rowghani announced his resignation—via Twitter, unsurprisingly. The former Pixar exec was brought on board as CFO to help Twitter build its user base, and has been blamed for the company’s stalled growth (and for selling shares, which he wasn’t supposed to do). It’s a cautionary tale for CFOs who want the top job.
US companies have a massive overseas cash stash. A survey by the FT found that 14 US tech and pharma businesses are holding more cash offshore (paywall)—$497 billion—than all other American companies combined. The companies, which include Microsoft and Google, have cut their effective tax rate by a quarter over the past eight years.
Some light in the darkness for platinum mines. Three mining companies agreed an informal deal with the mineworkers’ union that could signal the end of South Africa’s longest ever strike. Some 80,000 platinum miners have been striking over pay since January, which led to a first quarter GDP contraction.
Brazil scored four goals. The first was an own goal by Marcelo; the next two came from Neymar; and Oscar sealed a 3-1 victory against Croatia in the final minutes of the World Cup’s first game.
Quartz obsession interlude
Jenni Avins tracks an 80-year relationship between fashion and football. “When the 2014 World Cup soccer players take the field this afternoon, the hemlines of their shorts will hover not far from their knees—not unlike the ones on players in the inaugural 1930 World Cup. Of course, athletic uniforms must be designed for performance, but like all clothing, they’re also affected by the styles of the times. And indeed, our analysis of World Cup shorts over time shows that soccer kits reflected the rising and falling of women’s hemlines.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Meetings aren’t an inherent evil. They’re just usually not run very well. Here’s how to shake them up.
The US invasion of Iraq was like a startup doomed from the start. Except the costs—both financial and human—were higher.
Britain needs to slow down on the deal making. Corporate (and unfriendly) takeovers are happening too often (paywall).
Don’t lean in. Women who negotiate for better pay and conditions may see their careers suffer.
The real winners of the World Cup. British booze companies, Bangladeshi garment factories, and Brazilian sex workers are raking in the cash.
What soccer in a space station looks like. Either painfully awkward or breathtakingly graceful.
Not all bond yields are financial. This Mexican fast-food joint is repaying its bond-holders with burritos.
Mark Zuckerberg is paid so much that it distorts CEO pay studies. When Facebook is included, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio increases by 72%.
A paraplegic took the World Cup’s first kick. He wore an exoskeleton walking suit powered by hydraulics.
There’s an ATM that dispenses gold bars. Prices update according to the market, but a one-ounce bar is about $1,327.