Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Bilderberg meets, Microsoft’s huge tablet, Apple’s privacy obsession, minting Napoleon’s defeat

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What to watch for today

The Bilderberg Group holds its annual conference. The global elite is gathering in Austria for a series of secretive meetings about international affairs. Don’t expect much news, unless an interloper makes it through security at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol.

Emirates defends its global expansion. The airline’s president Tim Clark speaks at an aviation industry luncheon in New York about a bitter trade spat between Gulf carriers and US airlines, which contend their Middle Eastern counterparts receive unfair government subsidies.

The US Treasury releases its monthly budget report. A deficit of $98 billion is expected for the month of May. In April, the US recorded its biggest surplus in seven years.

Microsoft rolls out its gigantic new tablet. The touchscreen Surface Hub, which comes in 54- and 84-inch (137-213 cm) versions, was first unveiled in January, but details on pricing and availability come out today.

Krispy Kreme’s donut update. The chain is expected to post an 8.6% decline in quarterly profits as it battles rapidly expanding competitors like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Brands.

While you were sleeping

Barack Obama will send more troops to Iraq. The US president is preparing to send around 500 military advisers to a new base in the ISIL-dominated Anbar province, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Troops would train Iraqi forces to better fight the Islamic State, but could risk drawing the US into direct combat with the militants.

Bayer sold its diabetes business to Panasonic Healthcare. The Japanese medical giant agreed to pay €1 billion ($1.2 billion) for the unit, which it will combine with its own blood glucose monitoring business. The diabetes sector is getting hit by falling government subsidies, but Panasonic plans to use the combined business’s size to reduce costs.

Spotify was valued at $8.2 billion. Swedish telecom company TeliaSonera bought 1.4% of the music-streaming service at double the company’s 2013 valuation. Spotify is in a race to acquire paid subscribers ahead of the launch of Apple’s own streaming service, which is expected to be a strong competitor.

Turkey’s GDP growth smashed expectations. The country’s economy grew by 2.3% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, much higher than the 1.6% expected (paywall). The lira got a small, much-needed boost on the news.

More good signs from Japan’s economy. Core machine orders rose 3.8% in April, a larger increase than the month before and much better than an expected decline (paywall). That will be well received by the central bank, which is struggling to raise inflation to 2%.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on why Apple is suddenly obsessed with your privacy. “Apple, argues Apple, does not pass along your data to third parties or use it to profile you. It only uses it to make your services better. This is a seductive (and also probably reductive) argument, but it strikes at an undenial truth about the internet business in 2015: No company can hope to survive without access to user data.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

No one owns music anymore. Artists should instead rely on live listening experiences.

So what if Iran isn’t trustworthy? It may cheat on a nuclear weapons deal, but that’s not necessarily a reason not to strike a deal.

Organic farming is a goldmine. It is much more profitable than conventional farming.

The US for-profit university experiment has failed. And it continues to waste taxpayers’ money.

Africa has a secret economic history. Residents have not always been poor, and poverty is not inevitable.

Surprising discoveries

Belgium defied France to mint a Battle of Waterloo coin. It will be worth €2.50.

Serbia is erecting a statue of the man who shot Franz Ferdinand. It will commemorate the 101st anniversary of the WWI-starting assassination.

Google Maps has a “Game of Thrones” option. It can offer you travel tips “as the dragon flies.”

Climate change is creating child brides in Bangladesh. Disaster-stricken families are marrying off girls as young as 10 years old.

The creator of the best tabloid headline ever has died. Vinnie Musetto came up with “Headless Body in Topless Bar.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, killer headlines, and other French defeats worth commemorating to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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