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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Irish gay marriage, Expedia quits China, Greece still stuck, origami drones

Quartz
By Quartz

qz.com

What to watch for today

Ireland votes to allow gay marriage. The majority-Catholic country holds a referendum on whether to change the constitution to allow people to marry “without distinction as to their sex.” Polls show that around 70% of voters are in favor.

Janet Yellen speaks in Rhode Island. Markets are anxiously awaiting any hints the Federal Reserve chair might drop about the timing of the central bank’s next rate hike. Minutes released from the Fed’s April meeting suggest that an increase won’t come before July (paywall).

Will US consumer prices rise for a third straight month? Analysts expect 0.1% consumer price inflation in April, following an increase in gas prices. Three consecutive months of price rises would bolster the argument for the Fed raising interest rates.

And other inflation data. Mexico, Brazil, and Canada will each report consumer price movements.

Who’s up, who’s down: Footlocker and Campbell Soup both report quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Greece talks remained stuck. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s late-night discussions with Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s François Hollande couldn’t convince them to move on unlocking further bailout funds, despite Hollande’s earlier optimism. The two leaders praised Greece’s progress but remain stuck over issues such as pensions and tax rates.

Interest heated up in Time Warner Cable. US cable and internet firm Charter Communications is said to be in talks about acquiring its rival for far more than the $170 per share analysts were expecting. Charter has tried to buy TWC several times; it offered $132.50 per share last year. France’s Altice is also sniffing around TWC.

ISIL took control of the last Syria-Iraq border crossing. Syrian government forces withdrew from the crossing at al-Tanf, allowing Islamic State militants to form a more direct link between their forces in the two countries. ISIL now controls half of Syria’s territory, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Expedia conceded the battle for China. The US travel company sold its 62.4% stake in China’s Elong travel website to four buyers. Among them is Ctrip, which is now more firmly ensconced as the top player in China’s competitive online travel market.

German business looked healthy. The Ifo Institute’s business confidence index nudged downwards to 108.5 in May, from a 10-month high of 108.6 in April, but beat expectations of 108.3. Separately, first-quarter spending by companies and consumers alike rose compared to a year earlier.

The Bank of Japan declined to expand its stimulus. The central bank bet that organic growth, coupled with its existing stimulus measures, will be sufficient to push inflation levels higher. First-quarter GDP grew at a better-than-expected annualized 2.4%.

New Zealand’s consumer confidence dipped. The survey from ANZ, a bank, indicated a slight fall to 123.9 in May, from 128.8 in April, but that’s still well above the 100 mark that signifies general optimism. ANZ itself remained optimistic; it expected 3% GDP growth this year, and healthy job creation.

Quartz obsession interlude

Peter Schwartzstein on how Iraq is losing control of the Shia militias fighting ISIL. “The Iraqi government narrative suggested they would disperse when the Sunni jihadists were finally defeated. But the militias’ role in the fighting has emboldened them. And few are now betting against the militias’ longevity—especially after the key city of Ramadi fell back into ISIL hands a few days ago.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Banks are going to keep doing bad things. They’re tacitly admitting it themselves.

Does color even exist? Scientists can’t even determine brain patterns that correspond to any given color.

Donating to Nepal is good for business. When the country’s economy is eventually booming, you’ll want to be among those who helped rescue it.

Schizophrenia is often misunderstood. With proper treatment, it’s nothing to fear; the problem is getting diagnosed.

Silicon Valley is turning into Hollywood. It’s now a dream factory where investors throw around money to create a brave new world (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Did a vampire commit Sweden’s most bizarre unsolved murder? In the 1930s a prostitute was found with her blood drained.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s home is for sale. The Long Island house in which he wrote The Great Gatsby is likely to fetch over $3.8 million.

Many hit lyrics are at a third-grade reading level. Beyonce’s score particularly low on “song intelligence.”

We were using emoji all wrong. That teary face is actually supposed to be sleepy.

An adorable, origami-inspired drone. It folds up and fits in your pocket, and could be a lifesaver.

Don’t litter in Hong Kong. The DNA you leave on your trash will be used to publicly shame you.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, emoji guidelines, and folding drones to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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