Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Hong Kong democracy, China’s free-trade deal, Adobe’s earnings, Pop-Tart calorie conundrum

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What to watch for today

The Fed concludes its policy meeting. The US central bank is expected to keep benchmark rates near zero until September, but will update its forecasts for inflation, growth, and jobs.

Hong Kong’s government offers ”universal suffrage.” Protestors are gathering outside the city government headquarters as they await a controversial reform giving residents the right to vote for their leader for the first time. The expected catch: Beijing will vet the candidates first.

Oracle’s cloudy forecast. The database software giant is expected to post quarterly declines as it transitions from selling software to a new cloud-based computing model. Revenues are projected to fall 3.5% to $10.9 billion.

FedEx delivers its quarterly results. The shipping giant’s revenues are expected to climb more than 10% to $12.3 billion as the US economy improves. Investors want an update on the company’s attempted acquisition of European counterpart TNT, which might face regulatory hurdles.

While you were sleeping

China signed a free-trade deal with Australia. The Beijing government described the agreement as the “most liberal” it’s signed with any country, after a decade of deadlocked negotiations. In Australia the deal will boost beef, wine, and dairy exports, and the government also expects services to benefit.

Adobe reported stellar results but a lackluster forecast. The Photoshop maker’s fiscal third quarter net income rose to $147.5 million, from $88.5 million a year earlier, beating expectations on its switch from selling software to offering subscriptions. But Adobe’s stock fell 2% in extended trading on warnings of lower-than-expected revenue and profit this quarter.

Japan’s exports unexpectedly slowed. The value of shipments rose 2.4% in May from a year earlier, lower than the expected 3% gain and the first slowdown since a drop in August last year. The slower growth, caused in part by sluggish Chinese demand, could hamper Japan’s ongoing recovery.

GlaxoSmithKline invested in cell research. The British drugmaker announced it will spend $95 million creating a US-based cell research institute to investigate how a cell’s operating system works. That brings GSK back to fundamental research as it shifts away from a reliance on pharmaceutical businesses.

Yahoo’s Alibaba spin-off is on track. CEO Marissa Mayer said a proposed US tax change won’t affect the company’s attempt to create a tax-free standalone firm to house its Alibaba stake. Yahoo shares rose 2% on her statement.

A US baseball team was accused of hacking a rival. The FBI is investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for illegally accessing the computer networks of the Houston Astros, according to the New York Times (paywall). The unusual case of corporate-style computer espionage in the world of professional sports may hinge on an executive’s re-used password.

Quartz obsession interlude

A paleontologist reviews a dinosaur blockbuster. “Yes, some of the scientific inaccuracies in Jurassic World are a little annoying. I wish the dinosaurs were feathered, for instance, as we know many would have been from spectacularly preserved fossils. But Jurassic World is not a science documentary, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The pope says he wants to end climate change. So why is he bashing cap-and-trade?

Overbearing parents should get a life. It will help their kids find one of their own (paywall).

South Africa has sided with tyranny. Allowing indicted Sudanese leader Omar ​al-​Bashir to leave is an insult to human rights.

Racial identity is porous and complicated. But it’s wrong to appropriate black culture without enduring its hardships.

US presidential hopefuls ought to consider the “atheist vote” in 2016. Non-theists could soon challenge even evangelicals in numbers.

Surprising discoveries

Nigerian legislators got a $43 million clothing allowance. $90,000 per lawmaker will buy some very fancy threads.

China just screened the original Star Wars for the first time. The 1977 film had never been shown in mainland theaters.

Nintendo used graph paper to create Super Mario BrosThe side-scrolling video game classic was designed by hand.

Mathematicians are hoarding their “dream chalk.” The Japanese maker of Hagoromo Fulltouch went out of business.

Unfrosted Pop-Tarts have more calories than frosted ones. Their crust is thicker to compensate for the lack of frosting.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Super Mario maps, and unwanted Pop-Tarts to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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