Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Alibaba’s streaming service, “Jurassic World” stomps record, Saudi stocks on sale, lost luggage

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What to watch for today

The E3 conference kicks off. The biggest video-game conference (paywall) on the industry calendar opens in Los Angeles. Look for new installments of popular franchises such as Halo and Uncharted. Virtual reality is a major theme this year, with Oculus expected to offer hands-on demos of its VR headset.

Yemen’s warring parties begin to talk. The United Nations hosts peace talks in Geneva between representatives of Yemen’s Houthi rebels and the country’s ousted president. No one seems eager for a settlement, despite an escalating humanitarian crisis.

Mario Draghi speaks. The head of the European Central Bank delivers his quarterly update to the European Parliament. Draghi has been optimistic in past updates as the euro zone economy picked up, oil prices fell, and quantitative easing appeared to be working. An impasse in Greece’s bailout negotiations could cast a cloud over the proceedings today.

An EU-wide approach to data privacy takes shape. The European Union will move forward with Europe’s ambitious and long-negotiated effort to codify rules on data protection and privacy. The outcome of negotiations will substantially affect how tech firms operate in the region.

Over the weekend

“Jurassic World” set a new box office record. The fourth movie in Universal’s Jurassic series booked the highest-grossing opening weekend in history, at $511.8 million. That was boosted by a $100 million take in China, and is sure to fuel demand for endless sequels.

Alibaba revealed more online video plans. The Chinese e-commerce giant plans to emulate HBO and Netflix with a new service called TMall Box Office, which will show original and purchased content. Alibaba is competing with Tencent to dominate China’s $6 billion online video market.

Saudi Arabia opened its stock market to foreign investors. The opening of the $585 billion market is designed to bolster the country’s non-oil industries and diversify the economy, as oil revenue has slumped in the past year. But foreign investors are still restricted to those with over $5 billion in assets under management.

Colt filed for bankruptcy. The US gunmaker will remain open for business as it restructures its balance sheet, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Delayed government sales and falling demand for handguns and sport rifles has squeezed cash flow.

A potential bomb plot was foiled in Hong Kong. Nine men and women aged between 21 and 34 were detained after police discovered powerful explosives which they suspect were going to be detonated ahead of a controversial vote on election reforms this week.

Greece took another step towards default. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras stuck to demands that creditors ease up on required reforms, ending talks with European leaders within an hour of starting on Sunday. One lawmaker from Tsipras’s own ruling party called for either an election or a referendum if the PM cannot successfully negotiate with creditors.

The Philae comet lander woke up. The European Space Agency’s craft touched down on the comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November last year, but quickly ran out of batteries. As the comet approaches the sun, those batteries have been recharged and the lander unexpectedly re-established contact, sending 300 packets of data back to Earth.

Quartz obsession interlude

Melvin Backman on how digital banking may undermine a US civil rights law. ”With the increasing popularity of mobile and online banking, regulators have proposed an update to the [Community Reinvestment Act] that would give less weight to physical branches. This is despite concerns that doing so will perpetuate discrimination against minorities and the poor—as well as letting banks off the hook for decades of such discrimination in the past.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Hillary Clinton’s showpiece campaign speech is as unenthusiastic by design. That is one way of differentiating herself from president Obama. 

Apple should kill off the Mac. It’s stretching itself too thin, and doing so would allow it to focus on products of the future (paywall).

Music is now free and its the industry’s fault. Music became a business too bloated to understand that suing one’s customers isn’t a bright idea.

Americans aren’t funny. They’re incapable of telling jokes with a straight face.

Marijuana is the new casino. Weed companies are trying to talk Native American tribal leaders into a new business venture.

Surprising discoveries

United Airlines passengers were forced to sleep in Canadian military barracks. Their plane made a diversion due to an “unexplained vibration“—the crew were housed in a hotel.

Your lost luggage is probably in Alabama. The Unclaimed Baggage Center has been buying lost bags from US airports for decades.

Arnold Schwarzenegger lent his voice to Waze. Users of the driving directions app will soon be told where to go by the Terminator himself.

Tuxedo rentals are going out of fashion. That’s partly because there aren’t as many weddings to attend.

You can 3-D print your face. Doctors use the new technology to show patients what they’ll look like after plastic surgery.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, found luggage, and Schwarzenegger impressions to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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