Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—FedEx results, China property prices, Iraqi kidnappings, astronaut espresso

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What to watch for today

Amazon unveils a 3D smartphone. The smartphone will be sold by AT&T in the US and will display 3D images without the need for glasses. But don’t be fooled; just like the Kindle, this isn’t about the hardware—it’s about giving Amazon a new channel to sell its services.

FedEx recovers from a terrible winter. The delivery company’s earnings were hit last quarter by the bad weather that dragged down US spending, but the company is expected to show improvement this quarter because of cost-cutting.

GM’s boss takes the hot seat. General Motors CEO Mary Barra faces her second congressional hearing about the automaker’s slew of recalls—44 this year, covering 20 million cars (more than double its previous yearly record). Since Barra’s first appearance, GM has released a “deeply troubling” internal investigation report about the issue.

The Federal Reserve trims its stimulus. The US central bank is widely expected to knock a further $10 billion off its monthly bond purchases, following strong jobs data earlier this month.

Markit prices its IPO. The financial data company could raise up to $1.14 billion when it lists on the Nasdaq, selling shares at $23 to $25. That could give Markit a valuation of $4.47 billion.

World Cupdate. Australia v Netherlands (12pm EDT), Spain v Chile (3pm), Cameroon v Croatia (6pm).

While you were sleeping

Fears grew over foreign kidnappings in Iraq. The Indian government has not been able to contact 40 Indian construction workers based in Mosul since the city was overrun by ISIL fighters, while Turkey is investigating reports that Turkish construction workers in Kirkuk were among 60 people that were kidnapped.

H&M beat estimates. After-tax profit rose 25% year-on-year, to 5.8 billion Swedish krona ($872 million), on the back of a 20% increase in sales. First-quarter profit rose 8% on the year. H&M had suffered tepid sales growth over the past year, but its second-quarter results beat analyst’s estimates.

China’s property prices cooled in May. New home prices in 70 cities across the country rose an average of 5.6% in the year to May, the slowest growth in 13 months. On a monthly basis, prices rose in only 15 cities in May compared with 44 cities a month earlier. Beijing is trying to encourage banks to approve more mortgages.

Putin and Poroshenko talked ceasefire. The presidents of Russia and Ukraine discussed the possibility of a ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine after a fire hit a gas pipeline between the two countries and a Russian journalist died in Ukraine. Ukraine’s government blamed “terrorism” for the second pipeline fire in six weeks.

Citigroup bought a Hong Kong office tower. The bank paid a record HK$5.4 billion ($697 million) in the largest-ever office transaction in Hong Kong—a 512,000 square foot skyscraper to bring most of its 5,000 staff under one roof. The purchase is a boon for Hong Kong, which is fighting Singapore to be Asia’s business hub, but it moves Citi’s bankers far from the center of town.

Fake antibiotics are fueling superbugs. Counterfeit antibiotics use is growing in almost every region of the world, increasing superbugs’ resistance to antibiotic drugs, a report from the World Health Organization states. Antibiotic drugs that do not fully kill bugs will eventually make them resistant to treatment.

Quartz obsession interlude

John McDuling on the troubling evolution of online piracy. ”Just as the entertainment industry thought it had figured out how to convince people to pay for content (basically, simple pricing structures and easy, well-designed interfaces), along comes a new wave of illicit file-sharing services designed to look like they are legal. These services are ‘a big switch from the past where there were popups, spammy, risqué looking sites,’ BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says in an email. ‘These look and feel legit.'” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Let Ireland keep its low corporate tax rate. And instead of bullying it, the US should lower its own rates.

Don’t ever call something ”disruptive” again. The word is completely over-used, and it doesn’t mean what everyone thinks it means.

“Obscene pay” at charities needs to stop. Either trim high executive pay, or revoke the organizations’ tax-exempt status.

The US needs Iran to stabilize Iraq. And it shouldn’t get squeamish about allying with an “enemy” either.

We are in the golden age of attack tactics in soccer. That’s why more goals have been scored at this stage in the tournament than in any previous World Cup.

Net neutrality is a core part of what the internet stands for. Allowing companies to buy “fast lanes” for their traffic would stifle innovation and turn the internet into a feudal system.

China is completely to blame for tension in Asia. And they’re just making things worse by continuing to be aggressive in the South China Sea.

Surprising discoveries

Retirees are cooking meth. A California man used his room in his retirement home to make drugs.

Someone has invented a decent portable charger. It can run a desktop for 15 hours, charge a phone seven times and a Macbook twice—but it’s still on Kickstarter.

A California mayor had to resign after throwing dog poo. When you’re throwing things in your neighbor’s yard, check for a camera first.

The World Cup nabs criminals. A Mexican drug lord was arrested on his way to the tournament, after buying a ticket in his own name.

The most disgruntled bankers live in the Middle East. More than half of finance professionals in the region want to move jobs, compared to 43% in the US and 34% in Hong Kong.

Astronauts will have real coffee. The International Space Station is getting an espresso machine, the ISSpresso.

Last year’s must-have crafts product was rubber bands. What, you don’t have a Rainbow Loom bracelet yet?

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, space coffee, and friendship bracelets to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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