Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Canadian inflation, Diageo’s India buy, Siemens ups its offer, electric Harleys

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What to watch for today

Red Lobster’s owner reports. Darden Restaurants, the owner of Red Lobster and Olive Garden, is expected to report weak fourth-quarter results. Shrimp-flation has been hurting sales, and activist investors are protesting management’s reorganization plans.

The EU plans what to spend next year. Finance ministers are meeting in Luxembourg to discuss the EU’s draft budget for 2015 and specifically projects to boost the European economy.

Canada’s inflation rate rises. It is expected the general inflation rate will rise to 2.1% in May, while the less-volatile core inflation rate will rise to 1.5%. This may have an impact on the central bank’s policies, as until now it has kept interest rates low out of concern for weak pricing pressure.

Microsoft takes on the tablet market. The Surface Pro 3, which promises to be “the tablet that can replace your laptop,” will be released. The marketing ploy has already backfired though, because, as many tech reviewers have pointed out, it can’t.

Toronto to host World Pride. Toronto’s annual LGBT pride event typically attracts more than one million attendees—this year’s festivities will include a conference on human rights, until June 29.

World Cupdate. Italy v Costa Rica (12 pm EDT), Switzerland v France (3pm), and Honduras v Equador (6pm).

While you were sleeping

China moved a second oil rig near Vietnam. It is not likely to cause as much uproar as last month’s maneuvering, however, as it is further from the disputed Paracel Islands. A Vietnamese foreign ministry official said that no country should take unilateral action in disputed waters.

75 scientists may have been exposed to anthrax. Scientists working in US federal government laboratories in Atlanta may have been exposed to live anthrax bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers failed to inactivate the bacteria before bringing it to a lab unequipped to handle live anthrax.

Siemens and Mitsubishi upped their Alstom offer. The companies raised their cash offer by €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) to €8.2 billion, and also simplified the deal structure. The move values the energy business at $19.9 billion, compared with rival bidder GE’s offer of $16.9 billion, but features a similar cash component.

Westfield Group will go ahead with a $65 billion de-merger. The global shopping center empire will be split (paywall) into two companies. The company’s Australian and New Zealand portfolio will be combined with Australia’s Westfield Retail Trust, while its US and UK portfolio will remain with Westfield Group.

Diageo controls India’s United Spirits. The world’s largest distillery by sales bought an extra 27% in United Spirits, India’s largest liquor group. Diageo now controls 55% of the group (paywall)—it previously held 28%—meaning Diageo now has a stronger footing to better distribute Jonnie Walker and Smirnoff throughout India’s $6 billion alcoholic beverage market.

Sprint secured $40 billion for its takeover of T-Mobile US. The merger of the third- and fourth-largest US mobile operators edged closer after Sprint said it had gathered eight banks to finance the move, according to Reuters. The companies will finalize the details of a merger over the coming month, and may announce a tie-up in August.

AbbVie talked takeover with Shire. Not to be left out of the pharmaceutical world’s mega-mergers, US-based AbbVie, valued at $86 billion, discuss a potential takeover with London-listed Shire, which has a market cap of $38 billion, Reuters reports. Shire rejected escalating offers reaching £27.3 billion ($46.5 billion).

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the burgeoning financial industry that’s based on $20 cellphones. “Where the West has the web, the poor world has Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)—a simple, text-based data-transfer protocol used on mobile networks. And it is being used for everything from day-to-day transactions to tax payments, and from insurance to savings.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Politicians should stop speaking for the public. Officials are there to tell the public what’s good for them, not to listen to their needs, a Hong Kong politician says.

Actually, Amazon’s phone isn’t about driving e-commerce. It’s about getting more money from the customers already loyal to the company.

College professors shouldn’t call their students “kids.” It belittles them and cultivates childish behavior in the very place they’re meant to be figuring out adult life.

Prince Charles should abdicate. An unpopular king could ruin Britain’s tourism industry, as well as the monarchy’s place in the Commonwealth countries.

Republicans claims of “irrelevant” Muslims are ironic. A recent claim that moderate Muslims are irrelevant because of the extremists among them is an interesting view, given the GOP’s problem with the Tea Party.

Surprising discoveries

Americans are finally catching on to the European mindset. They’re working less and sleeping more.

There are spiders that catch and eat fish. These “widespread” arachnids use poison to sedate their large prey.

You can pay $20 to go skipping in New York. Not skipping-rope-skipping, just skipping along.

A Saved By The Bell movie is coming. It’s already being filmed, but will go straight-to-TV.

Spain and Portugal could survive on their own geothermal energy. Forget wind and solar—all the power they need is bubbling away underground.

Harley-Davidson is testing an electric motorcycle. The silent two-wheeler will spend the year traveling down Route 66.

A sugar substitute kills fruit flies. Flies fed on other sweeteners lived longer than a month—those on Truvia, just six days.

Two things that can help your job prospects. Mentioning high school sports on your résumé and—in the American South—being Jewish, can increase your chances.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Screech fan mail, and electric Harley gear to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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