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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—FIFA arrests, Indian heatwave deaths, Queen’s speech, engorged fruit

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

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What to watch for today

The new British government lays out its stall. Queen Elizabeth II will read a speech written for her by prime minister David Cameron’s team following his election victory. The program will include plans for a referendum on Britain’s future in the EU but may skip plans to scrap the Human Rights Act.

Europe spreads the burden of rehousing migrants. The European Commission is set to announce quotas to relocate 40,000 asylum seekers from their arrival points in southern Europe to other parts of the EU. The UK is among those that has said it will opt out.

The G7 talks money. Finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the bloc of industrialized nations are beginning a meeting in Dresden, Germany. They are likely to focus on Greece’s financial woes, volatile financial markets, and the threat of ISIL. The G7 heads of state then meet in June.

Madoff employees meet their fate. Three men, including a father-and-son duo, will be sentenced for their participation in the infamous $65 billion Ponzi scheme masterminded by Bernie Madoff. All of them pleaded guilty and cooperated with prosecutors.

The Bank of Canada decides on interest rates. It’s expected to keep them at 0.75%, amid signs that the country’s economy is rebounding.

US earnings due: Bank of Montreal, Costco, Michael Kors, Tiffany.

While you were sleeping

FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich. Swiss authorities arrested several officials (paywall) from soccer’s global governing body at a five-star hotel in Zurich as part of an investigation into alleged widespread corruption. The officials will be extradited to the US.

Vox Media bought Re/code. A post on Re/code said the the tech journalism site was being acquired by the parent company of The Verge and the Ezra Klein-starring Vox. Re/code will continue to deliver its coverage and conferences separately, but will eventually migrate to the same publishing platform as its new owner.

India’s heatwave continued taking lives. At least 800 people have died in the past few days in temperatures of up to 122°F (50°C). Andhra Pradesh is the worst-hit state, but the heat has engulfed large parts of the country, including New Delhi where the roads were melting. Meteorologists don’t predict a reprieve soon.

Iraqi forces set out to beat back ISIL. More than a week after the Islamic State captured Ramadi, Iraq’s military and Shiite militias have launched a push to reclaim the Anbar province and neighboring Salaheddin. The militias say they are in charge of the campaign—a risky and worrying development in the primarily Sunni area.

The Irish government sold a chunk of its national airline. It agreed to sell its 25% stake in airline operator Aer Lingus to IAG, the owner of British Airways, for €1.36 billion ($1.49 billion). Ryanair, the other big shareholder, has not yet decided what to do with its 29% holding in Aer Lingus.

Amazon had a tiny German tax bill. The online retailer paid Germany $16 million in taxes while generating $11.9 billion in sales in 2014, because it routed most of its revenue through Luxembourg. Under pressure from EU authorities, Amazon said last week it has now started reporting income on a country-by-country basis.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on the new era for the Chinese yuan. “For more than a decade, China’s taken a verbal beating from other countries for keeping its currency unfairly cheap. Those days might finally be over. The yuan (a.k.a. the renminbi) is no longer undervalued, the International Monetary Fund’s Markus Rodlauer said earlier today, while also urging Chinese leaders to allow the currency to trade more freely.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

America’s casual Christians are a dying breed. They are perhaps even turning into a “joyful minority.”

The new Mad Max film is a call to dismantle patriarchies. The film shows “the horror of sexism.”

Family-friendly work policies have unintended consequences. Women are less likely to get hired, or end up getting paid less (paywall).

Pakistan is trying to partner with China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the US. But can you really be friends with everyone?

Artificial cadavers are not the future of medical schools. Professors still say there’s nothing like the real thing.

Surprising discoveries

Pope Francis hasn’t watched TV since 1990. He promised the Virgin Mary that he wouldn’t succumb to its lure.

We may be able to treat skin cancer with herpes. A modified version of the virus can be used to attack melanoma cells.

Put your new clothes in the washing machine. It’s the best way to avoid germs, allergies, and lice (paywall).

A Danish radio host killed a baby rabbit on air. To prove some point, apparently…

Scientists have discovered a way to make any fruit bigger. They do it by growing larger flowers.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, artificial corpses, and the last TV show the pope ever watched (we’re betting on Twin Peaks) to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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