Quartz Daily Brief—US energy maneuvers, Google’s big day, Libya’s vote, World Cup hook-ups

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What to watch for today

Google kicks off its biggest event of the year. The web giant’s annual I/O Conference is aimed at developers, but also serves as a showcase for new features and products. The company may debut the newest version of Android and a new TV set-top box (paywall).

A final reading on US GDP. The third and final reading of first-quarter GDP is expected to show a contraction of 1.7%, a significant revision to the initial reading of 0.1% growth, finally settling how much cold weather at the start of the year battered the US economy. Data on durable goods orders are also due.

Yahoo talks up its book. The company will try to show shareholders that it’s worth something more than the money it will make off Alibaba’s upcoming IPO.

Libyans go to the polls. Some 1.5 million voters have registered to vote for the 200-seat parliament, barely half as many as for the 2012 election after Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster. The vote was called after a renegade general’s supporters stormed parliament.

What’s a camera company worth these days? Sports-camera maker GoPro is expected to price 18 million shares at somewhere between $18 and $24 in advance of its Thursday IPO. That would net the company around $400 million at a $2.8 billion valuation.

World Cupdate. Ecuador v France is at 4pm (EDT), as is Honduras v Switzerland.

While you were sleeping

Obama opened up US oil exports… For the first time in four decades, the US could begin exporting unrefined oil (paywall) that could radically alter the world’s energy balance. But as Quartz’s Steve LeVine notes, the rule change may also be a clever dodge that satisfies domestic oil producers while providing plausible deniability that the administration opened the taps.

…And prepared energy sanctions against Russia. The White House will target Russia’s energy and technology industries in a new round of sanctions to pressure Moscow over Ukraine. Specifically, the sanctions would apply to companies that explore, produce, transport, and deliver natural gas, crude oil, and their refined products.

Shire got a patent win. The UK pharmaceutical company, which recently rebuffed a $46 billion offer from US counterpart AbbVie, had its patent claims for its top-selling drug Vyvanse backed by a US court. The legal victory will strengthen the company’s argument that it is worth substantially more than AbbVie’s offer.

Foxconn got an earful. Investors in the company that assembles the iPhone and other high-tech gadgets demanded more transparency about strategy, financial results, and labor relations at its annual shareholder meeting.

The GOP survived a Tea Party challenge. Incumbent senator Thad Cochran beat Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel 51% to 49% in the Mississippi Republican primary. Cochran was forced to appeal to traditionally liberal voters to triumph in the race.

China moved forward with its own version of the World Bank. The $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank would be initially focused on building a new version of the Silk Road (paywall)  from Asia to Europe, and would also act as a counterweight to the Japan-dominated Asian Development Bank.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on how China doesn’t have as much currency control as it thinks: “While rising torrents of foreign borrowing keep its system liquid, they have also left China’s central bank with less control over the financial system than it had just two years ago. And that reliance on foreign borrowing makes the country much more vulnerable to a liquidity seize-up than many—including China’s leaders—realize.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Hillary Clinton is the new Marie Antoinette. The Democratic presidential frontrunner has squandered her populist bona fides.

The cool kids aren’t alright. Socially precocious 13-year-olds tend to struggle with relationships and substance abuse when they reach their 20s.

Saddam’s old friend could save Iraq. Izzat Ibrahim, one of the most-wanted Iraqis during the 2003 invasion, is the country’s best defense against ISIL—if he’s still alive.

Tennis could teach other sports about gender equality. Tournaments like Wimbledon are among the few big sporting events that offer equal pay and TV exposure.

NASA’s plan to get to Mars is a joke. The idea of pushing a small asteroid into orbit around the moon and using it as a springboard to Mars is probably impractical and crazy expensive.

Surprising discoveries

Mobile dating apps are a World Cup aphrodisiac. Drunken revelry is enabling location-based hook-ups in Brazil.

The CIA loves Amazon’s cloud. The intelligence agency is planning to expand its use of the retailer’s online infrastructure to include sophisticated data-mining tools.

Close encounters of the drone kind. Three US commercial jets encountered unidentified drones last month at altitudes of up to 6,000 ft.

Flag icons on Twitter take up two characters, because of political sensitivities about how to encode country symbols.

Fish might be a lot smarter than we think. Their cognitive and perceptual abilities often match or exceed those of other vertebrates, and there’s strong evidence that they feel pain.

Last month was the hottest May on record. Global temperatures saw the biggest spike since data started being collected in 1880. Spain and South Korea were particularly toasty.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Mars mission counterproposals, and drone countermeasures to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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