Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Argentina’s extortion, China investments, more GM recalls, new emoji

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What to watch for today

US policy makers meet. US Federal Reserve officials release forecasts for the quarter for unemployment, economic growth, inflation, and the federal funds rate.

The next stage in Alstom’s bidding war. General Electric has said it won’t improve its $16.9 billion offer for Alstom, but the US conglomerate could offer fresh concessions (paywall) to the French government to bag its approval, after Siemens and Mitsubishi put forward a much more complex bid.

Sino-British relations warm. Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s three-day visit to Britain this week is a sign of improving relations between the two nations after UK prime minister Cameron’s 2012 meeting with the Dalai Lama. Some $30 billion in trade deals are expected to be signed, including a $20 billion gas contract with BP, and Li will meet the Queen.

Rengan Rajaratnam’s insider trading trial. The former Galleon Group fund manager is charged with trading on insider information provided by his brother Raj, who is currently serving a sentence of more than 11 years (paywall). Rengan Rajaratnam allegedly made $800,000 in profits from the tips.

Canada decides: To pipe or not to pipe? The Canadian government reaches a deadline to decide whether to approve the Northern Gateway pipeline. Many environmentalist groups oppose Enbridge Inc’s $6.5 billion plan to pipe oil through the Rockies to the British Columbia coast for because of the risk of spills.

Hillary Clinton faces the wolves. The potential future Democratic presidential candidate could tackle questions on topics from Benghazi to same-sex marriage when she gives an interview to Fox News to Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren, a week after the release of her book, Hard Choices.

The World Cup’s second leg of group games kicks off. Brazil takes on Mexico at 3pm EDT Tuesday in the second Group A game; both teams won their first match last week. Brazil is seen as the stronger team—but Mexico beat Brazil in the 2012 Olympic final and has won several recent matches against it. Also playing: Spain v Chile (3pm), and Russia v South Korea (6pm).

While you were sleeping

Argentina balked at a court ruling. The US Supreme Court, upholding the verdicts of lower courts, decided that Argentina must pay all creditors at the same rate on bonds it issued before defaulting in 2001.  President Cristina Fernández deemed the decision “extortion by speculators.” Argentina could default again at the end of this month, unless it cuts a new deal with creditors.

GM’s safety crisis escalated. The automaker is recalling 3 million more cars for ignition issues, and said it was aware of eight crashes and six injuries related to the recall, but no fatalities. Chief executive Mary Barra testifies before the US Congress today on why the company took years before recalling unsafe vehicles.

A second attack in Kenya. Islamic militants killed at least eight people in a second day of attacks on Kenya’s coast, after killing about 50 the night before. The country is a “war zone,” and unsafe for tourists, the Somalia-based group said.

Foreign investors cooled on China. Foreign direct investment in China was $8.6 billion last month, down 6.7% from a year earlier, as investment from the European Union and the US declined 22.1% and 9.3% respectively.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how Marriot is helping “Bitcoin Jesus” sell cheap citizenship in Caribbean tax havens. “Tired of paying wealthy-nation taxes? Worried that, in the event of calamity, your citizenship is going to drag you down? Roger Ver, the investor known as “Bitcoin Jesus,” has the product for you: Just use bitcoin to purchase a share in a Marriott development on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and Nevis, and the government will throw in citizenship and a passport that gets you to 140 countries without a visa.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

President Obama has every right to pop into Starbucks. A free press shouldn’t negate a free president; he should be able to grab a coffee without alerting the media.

The World Cup isn’t really about football. What could be the biggest event in television history is advertisers’ heaven.

Boring banks are great. Wells Fargo, a Warren Buffett favorite, is set to become the most highly valued financial institution in US history—and it’s also reassuringly boring.

Twitter doesn’t give the people a voice. It’s a more effective tool for amplifying celebrities’ opinions than nurturing open discussion.

Terry Richardson got off easy. A profile of the controversial fashion photographer is seriously flawed, because it doesn’t adequately address numerous complaints of sexual exploitation.

Surprising discoveries

Flop insurance. Alibaba has promised to pay back investors of its entertainment fund, which is backing projects including an action film staring Nicholas Cage, if the fund performs badly.

It would cost $343,368 to buy every product featured in June’s issue of Vogue. If you’re on a budget, buy everything in Real Simple instead. That’ll cost you a mere $15,581.

Narcissism is a helpful trait during job interviews. Modest applicants from reserved, self-deprecating cultures could suffer.

Japanese football fans have the best manners. Even though their team lost on Saturday, the fans stayed behind to clean up the stadium.

Chipmunks and weightlifters get emoji. The new emoji introduced by Unicode run the gamut from strong men to furry creatures, but don’t reflect the racial or religious diversity some hoped.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, polite football chants, and Vogue freebies to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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