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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Apple hails Didi, Nigerian summit, China’s Muslim theme park

By Quartz

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Barack Obama hosts Nordic leaders. Leaders from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden will visit Washington to discuss issues ranging from terrorism to the environment to enhancing nuclear security. Increased tensions with Russia will likely be high on the agenda.

EU trade ministers review the TTIP. The meeting in Brussels today will focus on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations with the US, amid concerns over negative perceptions about the deal across Europe.

Nigeria hosts a regional security summit. The leaders of Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria will be joined by French president François Hollande on Saturday in Abuja. They’ll discuss ongoing threats posed by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in West and Central Africa.

The latest report on China’s industrial production and retail sales. April numbers are expected to show a slight slow-down in a state-driven manufacturing spree. Some growth in retail sales and investment could prove stimulus measures are working—at least if you trust the official figures, to be shared on Saturday.

While you were sleeping

Apple invested $1 billion in Uber’s Chinese rival. It contributed to a fundraising round for Didi Chuxing, which dominates China’s ride-sharing market. With the tech giant facing falling sales and mounting regulatory pressure in China, some analysts believe the investment is partly about Apple showing its commitment to the country.

Honda took another hit in the Takata airbag recall. It must now recall over 60 million cars with faulty airbags, up from 40 million earlier this month. Recall costs pushed Takata’s biggest customer to a first-quarter net loss of $856 million, compared with a net profit of $753 million a year ago.

Gold miners launched the biggest class-action lawsuit in South Africa’s history. The high court gave permission for thousands of miners to sue for health damage. They say they contracted silicosis, an incurable lung disease, by working in the mines.

Germany more than doubled its first-quarter growth. The 0.7% rise was fueled by increased investment in construction and capital goods, as well as higher government and household spending, which offset a drag in exports.

A senior Hezbollah commander was killed in Syria. Lebanese media reported that Mustafa Amine Badreddine died in an Israeli airstrike near the Damascus airport. He’s believed to have been behind the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

The Obama administration weighed in on transgender bathrooms. The US department of education said it will send out guidance to public schools ordering them to let transgender students use the restroom of their choice. While the letter carries no legal weight, it implies that schools that don’t comply will risk losing federal funding.

Quartz obsession interlude

Alice Truong on the most common startup killers. “A surprising takeaway is that startups with large amounts of funding were outcompeted. This was not a problem cited by bootstrapped startups or companies that raised less than $1 million, but it was prevalent among those that raised $10 million or more.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The word “strategy” doesn’t belong in job titles. The gap between strategy and execution is unfathomably wide for most executives.

Globalization means every cuisine is open to interpretation. Italians don’t get to dictate how the world eats pasta, for example.

Fossil fuel corporations are the arsonists behind Canada’s wildfires. Climate change enables mega-fires, so oil giants should foot the bill.

Surprising discoveries

China is building a Muslim theme park. The $3.5 billion project will present a state-sanctioned depiction of Islam in a country where the Uighur Muslim population has been heavily repressed.

Nineteen Singaporean terms have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. But Singlish-speaking locals say they’ve never heard of ”Chinese helicopter.”

A party drug might be a great antidepressant. Ketamine, the animal tranquilizer better known as Special-K, can relieve symptoms in as little as two hours.

Facebook is having middle schoolers perform essential hacking tasks. The company has struggled to find enough adults to hire as security engineers.

Drones drive elephants crazy. Researchers think it’s because they sound like bees.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, elephant-friendly drones, and new Singlish words to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.qz_email_list_425047646_post_message