Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—UCLA shooting, Uber’s Saudi money, bicycle face

What to watch for today

A Swiss pharma giant puts down roots in China. Novartis is opening a $1 billion R&D facility in Shanghai, betting that there’s more room to grow in China than in more developed markets (paywall). Beijing hasn’t been very friendly to Western drugmakers since a GlaxoSmithKline bribery scandal in 2014.

OPEC and the ECB both meet in Vienna. OPEC will convene for the first time since Saudi Arabia’s King Salman replaced the long-serving oil minister Ali al-Naimi. ECB president Mario Draghi is expected to call on governments (paywall) to turn around their economies without depending on monetary stimulus.

Germany pokes a stick in Turkey’s eye. German lawmakers are expected to approve a bill that would condemn the Ottoman Empire’s mass killing of Armenians in 1915 as genocide. Turkey has warned that the measure, which is backed by German chancellor Angela Merkel, could harm diplomatic ties.

While you were sleeping

Two people were killed in a shooting at UCLA. An apparent murder-suicide, possibly by a student upset over his grades, forced a two-hour lockdown of the University of California-Los Angeles campus. The tragedy took the life of an engineering professor one day before National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

The US labor market tightened. The American economy has expanded modestly since mid-April, the Federal Reserve reported, which is prompting employers to hire more people and raise wages. The Fed is expected to raise interest rates soon if the economy continues to improve.

Singapore state funds bought $1 billion in Alibaba shares… Sovereign wealth fund GIC and state investor Temasek Holdings each purchased $500 million of the shares through subsidiaries, as part of an $8.9 billion sale by Japan’s SoftBank, Alibaba’s biggest shareholder.

… And Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested in Uber. The ride-hailing company raised $3.5 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. The investment valued Uber at $62.5 billion

Iran’s oil minister rejected a cap on oil output. On the eve of the OPEC meeting in Vienna, Bijan Zanganeh said such a cap would have “no benefit” for his nation, which instead backs a return to a national quota system.

Quartz markets haiku

Fresh, spring breeze tousles
the pages of the Beige Book
As the green shoots grow

Quartz obsession interlude

Michael Coren on a venture capital firm’s experiment with basic income. “Y Combinator’s pilot experiment will give about 100 families a minimum wage. The city was chosen for its social and economic diversity, alongside concentrated wealth and inequality—a good starting point for the US at large.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The modern world doesn’t scale. Chipotle, Uber, San Francisco, and Tesla are proof that extreme growing pains may be unavoidable.

Don’t blame smugglers for the migration crisis—blame Europe. Refugees are dying in the Mediterranean because they are given no alternative.

If you’ve been holding out for a radically new iPhone 7, you’re going to be disappointed. An increasingly boring Apple is extending its product life span.

Surprising discoveries

A rotting corpse figurine was once the epitome of chic interior design. The exposed ribs and torn flesh were a reminder of human mortality.

Pakistani saleswomen are selling contraception door to door. They usually have to make numerous visits before a couple agrees to buy birth control.

The first thing sold on the internet was weed. The original e-commerce transaction was a drug deal between Stanford and MIT students.

People were once very afraid of “bicycle face.” The “stress of incessant balancing” was thought to make “children unrecognizable to their own mothers.”

Ukraine’s “Joan of Arc” flies a helicopter. Nadiya Savchenko carried out a hunger strike in a Russian prison before entering parliament.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, early e-commerce transactions, and corpse figurines to You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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