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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Facebook turns publisher, “black spider” memos, euro zone GDP, pizza emoji

By Richard Macauley
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Mark Carney comes out of seclusion. The Bank of England’s governor speaks for the first time after a self-imposed six-week silence during Britain’s election campaign. He’ll unveil the monthly inflation report and economic forecast, and may tell investors to expect an interest-rate hike sooner rather than later.

A tricky moment for Prince Charles. His so-called “black spider” memos, in which he badgered government ministers with his opinions, will be published after a 10-year legal battle with the Guardian. The government argued publication might undermine the prince’s political neutrality as the heir to the throne.

Japan holds its first-ever defense industry trade fair. As part of the country’s gradual (though still very limited) re-militarization under prime minister Shinzo Abe, MAST Asia kicks off in Yokohama. Fears over China, North Korea, and Islamist terrorism are what’s driving Abe’s military policies.

The US is taking on UBS. The US Justice Department is likely to unwind its agreement not to prosecute the Swiss bank for rigging benchmark interest rates, according to Bloomberg. The department threatened such an act in March if its misconduct was found not to stop.

Earnings. Internet infrastructure provider Cisco and department store chain Macy’s are among those releasing quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Facebook became a publisher. The social network started working with publications, ranging from the New York Times to Buzzfeed, to publish journalism directly on to the social network. Some fear this gives Facebook too much power while others argue it might be good for journalism.

The euro zone perked up a bit. Better-than-expected growth in France and Italy was enough to overcome a slowdown in Germany. Overall, euro-zone GDP expanded by 0.4% in the first quarter, faster than both the US and UK… for now. 

An Amtrak train derailed near Philadelphia. A train travelling from Washington DC to New York crashed, overturning some train cars and killing at least 5 people. The cause of the crash is not yet known, but comes after another Amtrak crash on Sunday, and an earlier crash in March.

Toyota and Nissan recalled 6.5 millions cars globally. The Japanese automakers will replace potentially faulty airbag inflators made by Takata, the automotive parts company linked to the deaths of at least six drivers. Around 25 million cars have been recalled since 2008 over concerns about faulty airbags.

SABMiller beat expectations. The world’s second-biggest brewery reported full-year operating earnings of $6.4 billion, ahead of analyst expectations of $6.2 billion, despite flat beer sales. SABMiller said it expects currency volatility and weakness in developed economies to persist in the year ahead.

China’s economic data disappointed. Retail sales for April rose 10% compared with a year earlier, missing expectations of a rise of 10.4%. Industrial output rose by 5.9% but narrowly missed expectations, and investment levels fell to their lowest in 14 years. That will add yet more pressure on the central bank to add further stimulus measures.

North Korea’s defense chief was executed. Hyon Yong-chol was reportedly killed by anti-aircraft fire for showing disloyalty to leader Kim Jong-un, according to a briefing by South Korean intelligence to the country’s legislature. Hyon was reportedly spotted napping at a recent event attended by Kim.

Quartz obsession interlude

Heather Timmons and Zheping Huang on the most popular foreign CEOs in China.“Foreigners trying to reach citizens in China, whether they’re celebrities, athletes, businessmen or politicians, are flocking to Sina Weibo, which counts some 400 million registered users, 66 million of whom are active daily. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi was the latest head of state to sign on, amassing a respectable 40,000 fans in just a few days.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

We need to reclaim adulthood. The cult of youth means being an adult is associated with giving up hope and settling into decline.

Hillary Clinton is beating Jeb Bush on one key metric. People remember Bill Clinton fondly; they don’t feel the same about George W. Bush.

Take a vacation from your kids. They are better off having parents who remember why they fell in love in the first place.

Drilling in the Arctic is why we may never beat climate change… It’s like putting a cigarette machine in a cancer ward (paywall).

…but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Drilling there will help stabilize the price of oil.

You can be homosexual without being gay. The former is a matter of biology, but the latter is a culture.

Arms makers are the merchants of death.Many powerful people don’t want peace because they live off war,” says Pope Francis.

Surprising discoveries

The Apple Watch is more water-resistant than it claims. A blogger has put it through some serious stress tests.

The ”Ed Stone” is missing. UK media are hunting for the giant tablet engraved with campaign promises by Labour’s Ed Miliband.

Domino’s customers can order pizza with an emoji. It’s part of the company’s new Twitter tie-in, aimed at millennials.

Harry Potter’s Moaning Myrtle has a full name. It’s remarkably similar to a certain US senator mentioned earlier in this briefing.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, sightings of the elusive Ed Stone, and the emoji for a large pepperoni pizza with mushrooms to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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