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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Banks and Brexit, German robots, wild monkey siege

  • Quartz
By Quartz

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Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The Bank of England sets rates. The central bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged (paywall), as it has since 2009. The Federal Reserve did the same with US rates yesterday, acknowledging that Britain’s possible exit from the European Union was a factor in the decision, a risk that will obviously be a talking point for monetary officials in London.

Art Basel opens in Switzerland. The world’s largest modern and contemporary art fair will showcase the work of more than 4,000 artists.

The 116th US Open tees off in Oakmont. The PGA tournament in Pennsylvania runs through June 19 and offers a $10 million purse. Phil Mickelson is hoping to complete a career Grand Slam, putting him in the company of only five other players who’ve achieved this feat.

While you were sleeping

Midea confirmed its offer for a German industrial robot maker. The Chinese home appliance maker pledged to pay $5.1 billion for a stake of at least 30% in Kuka. German politicians have opposed the deal, noting that Beijing doesn’t allow western companies the same opportunities to invest in Chinese firms.

Airbnb secured $1 billion in financing from US banks. The home-sharing company will use the new debt facility to fund global expansion. Airbnb hasn’t said a listing is imminent, but investment banks often arrange debt facilities for private companies with an eye to securing future business—like underwriting an IPO.

A Democratic senator led a 15-hour filibuster on gun control. Chris Murphy from Connecticut only relinquished the floor after Republican Party leaders agreed to allow a vote on gun-control measures, including whether to ban people on the government’s terrorist watchlist from obtaining gun licenses.

Tencent is eyeing a Finnish video game company. The Chinese internet giant is reportedly in late-stage talks to buy a majority stake in Supercell, maker of the “Clash of Clans” mobile game, from Japan’s SoftBank Group. The deal would value Supercell at about $9 billion.

Disney held a grand opening in Shanghai. More than 1,000 communist party officials attended the opening of Disney’s $5.5 billion theme park. The entertainment giant has been working for decades (paywall) to make this happen, but already there has been criticism in local media about its prohibitive entry prices for ordinary Chinese people.

Quartz obsession interlude

Ana Campoy on how “the old Cuba” has already disappeared. “A Canadian traveler I met in Cuba’s uber-touristy enclave of Varadero told me she had made a point of booking her trip for this year, so she could catch a last glimpse of the Communist-ruled island before it changes. She got there too late. Our mojitos already had mint.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Orlando was not the US’s deadliest mass shooting. There is a long history of violence against minorities and gays that was just as bad, or worse.

Netflix is threatened by its own revolution. The service may not be able to survive (paywall) in the brave new world of streaming TV.

The US is failing its youngest generation. More than 20% of children live below the poverty line, including over half of those in public schools.

Surprising discoveries

Bolivia rejected Bill Gates’s chickens. The fowl are meant to tackle poverty—but Bolivia already produces 197 million chickens annually, and thinks Gates should do his homework on how to help.

Google praised the politest woman on the internet. The 86-year-old grandmother, who types “please” and “thank you” into search results, believed she was writing to real people.

London wants to make its subway font quirky again. “Johnston” lost some of its unique sensibility when it was adapted for the digital age.

A Chinese village is under siege from wild monkeys. A plan to attract more tourists backfired spectacularly.

Siberia has a “gateway to the underworld.” That’s the name locals have given a huge crater that opened up due to climate change.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, polite search queries, and underworld portals to on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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