Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Muhammad cartoon shootings, China’s economy slows, UK’s election nears, mead is back

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What to watch for today

The final week of UK electioneering gets underway. Monday is a holiday, but prime minister David Cameron and his would-be replacements will still be busy ahead of Thursday’s vote. The outcome could be the messiest in a generation.

McDonald’s tries to serve investors a happy meal. The company will describe its plan to turn around sales in the US, France, Russia, and Japan. It’s the first major attempt by new CEO Steve Easterbrook to restore confidence in the struggling burger chain.

Comcast opens its books. The broadcast and cable company will offer its first quarterly earnings since ending its attempted $45-billion acquisition of Time Warner. Investors will want to know how it plans to thrive on its own.

Economic data. Expect fresh figures on US and Brazilian factory orders. Brazil’s manufacturing sector plummeted in March amid a corruption crackdown and worryingly high inflation.

What’s the name of the royal baby? The Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby girl in London on Saturday, and her name is expected to be announced shortly. Alice is the odds-on favorite for the child, who is fourth in line to the throne.

Over the weekend

Gunmen opened fire at a Muhammed-themed art exhibit in Texas. Police killed two men after they shot a security guard at the event, which was organized by controversial US activist Pamela Geller. It included a $10,000 competition to select the best caricature of the prophet Muhammed.

Euro zone manufacturing slowed. Markit’s final purchasing managers’ index was 52 in April, down from 52.2 in March, but still above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. Greece’s manufacturing sector hit a 22-month low of 46.5. France also remained in contraction.

Fosun wants to buy US insurer Ironshore. After buying a 20% stake last year, the Chinese conglomerate offered $1.8 billion for the rest of the casualty and property insurer. Fosun has been on an international acquisition spree—last year, it also bought a Portuguese insurer for €1 billion ($1.1 billion).

China’s economy took a big dip… The HSBC/Markit purchasing managers’ index, a measure of commercial activity in small- and medium-sized businesses, plunged to 48.9 in April. Separately, a government think-tank forecast that China’s economy would grow just 6.8% in the second quarter, compared with the government target of 7%.

…and Macau’s casinos fell again. Revenues at the ex-Portuguese colony’s casinos fell 39% in April—the 11th consecutive month of declines as Chinese president Xi Jinping continues a tough corruption crackdown. Casino stocks rose as investors believe the slump is nearing its bottom.

Thousands of migrants were rescued off the Libyan coast. Italian and French navy vessels pulled 5,800 migrants and 10 bodies from boats operated by smugglers. Authorities say a 20-fold increase in migrant activity this year could accelerate as calm weather is expected in the coming weeks.

Floyd Mayweather won the “fight of the century.” The undefeated American beat Manny Pacquiao on points following a full 12 rounds. Mayweather, who says he will fight once more in September and then retire, will make as much as $200 million from the fight.

Tech executive Dave Goldberg, the husband of Sheryl Sandberg, died suddenly. Goldberg, a longtime Silicon Valley figure and the CEO of SurveyMonkey, was 47; the cause of death was not released.  His wife, the COO of Facebook, wrote in her book “Lean In,” that her “career and marriage are inextricably intertwined,” and that Goldberg was “a true partner.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Philips on how women are going to save Japan. ”Japanese women have traditionally worked far less than females in many other wealthy nations. Since the overall population is stagnant, pulling women into the labor force is one of the obvious levers the country can pull to boost the size of its labor force, and thus the productive capacity of the economy.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

America is turning off of nutritional pseudoscience. The backlash has begun against “kale-avocado-dandelion-cucumber-caraway-seed-jalapeño-heirloom-pear smoothie” advocates.

The UK election is getting weird. A Conservative triumph could lead to Labour taking power, thanks to Scottish National Party voters.

It’s OK for kids to flaunt their wealth on social media. Transparency is a relief from old-money secrecy.

The new Avengers film is really about NSA spying. It’s in tune with the political zeitgeist.

To stay married, consider delaying your wedding. Age is the “smoking gun” in modern marriage.

Emoji is effectively a new language. In some regions they are present in more than half of all Instagram captions.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists created a portable cloaking device. It slows down light and then speeds it up again.

The logo for Microsoft’s web browser is under scrutiny. Design-minded folks see something in its negative space.

Game of Thrones has made mead hip. The nectar of the gods is making a comeback.

Swedes have a word for a second refill of coffee. And other cultures have their own delightfully unique coinages.

Johannesburg is Africa’s most popular city for young people. But entrepreneurs prefer Lagos.

Prince Harry is relieved to be fifth in line to the British throne. When told he was less likely to become king, he replied: “Great!”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, suggested royal princess names (we like “Quartzina”), and mixers from the Middle Ages to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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