Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Brexit preparations, Darjeeling goes digital, crying LeBron

What to watch for today

Janet Yellen testifies before Congress. The head of the US Federal Reserve delivers her semi-annual remarks on monetary policy to the Senate, with comments to the House to follow tomorrow.

The European Central Bank plans for Brexit—just in case. If Britain votes to leave the EU on June 23, the euro zone’s tentative economic recovery could suffer, and that’s just for starters. The bank’s policymakers will discuss contingency plans today (paywall) for what to do should Europe’s financial capital cut itself off from its neighbors.

Darjeeling goes digital. Cultivated in the Himalayas, the famous tea has been sold in private auctions to large buyers for over 150 years. Starting today the tea will be sold via e-auction—and fetch higher prices, local traders hope.

A consumer electronics show opens in New York. The CE Week event, now in its 10th year, will include a drone obstacle course. Exhibits run through Thursday.

While you were sleeping

The US Senate blocked gun-control proposals. Senators voted down four separate measures on strengthening background checks and preventing suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms. The voting came in the aftermath of a June 12 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left nearly 50 people dead.

China said it might quit the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. It depends on whether an upcoming tribunal ruling runs counter to Beijing’s position that nearly the entire South China Sea is its territory, according to the Japan Times. The US, which recently deployed two aircraft carrier groups to the sea, never ratified the convention.

Oi filed for Brazil’s biggest-ever bankruptcy protection. Amid a harsh recession and mounting competition, the mobile operator failed to reach an agreement with holders of its $19 billion in debt. The filing will likely have major repercussions in Brazil, with state-owned banks among the company’s top creditors.

A mine in South Africa unearthed a 121-carat diamond. Petra Diamonds said it recovered the precious stone at the Cullinan mine in Pretoria, which has already produced some of the world’s largest diamonds, including those that feature among Britain’s Crown Jewels. It was welcome news amid falling diamond prices.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on anti-migration tactics in Somaliland. “Parents are trying to dissuade their children from dangerous and illegal migration to Europe by buying them second-hand cars that can be operated as taxis… [known as] hooyo ha tahriibin, which translates roughly as a mother pleading “my son, do not smuggle yourself.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Meritocracies are horrible places to be less than smart. Intelligence shouldn’t dictate an individual’s worth.

Young Americans are giving up on capitalism. Or, more accurately, they’re sick of the way it’s practiced.

Elon Musk is wrong: We’re not living in a simulation. It’s not so easy to explain away the physical world.

Surprising discoveries

Fast-food chains are ruthlessly seeking new meals to exploit. One trademarked the term “brunchfast.”

Carbon emissions are decimating the world’s mussels. Acidic seas are eating their shells away.

“Crying LeBron” is the internet’s new favorite thing. The NBA Finals MVP displaced previous favorite “Crying Jordan.”

In an age of mass shootings, companies are selling “ballistic furniture.” Bullet-proof panels (paywall) can be used in desks or tables.

A refugee camp riot was halted by the wifi repairmen. Syrians held in Greece stopped protests to let them pass.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, teary power forwards, and brunchfast bookings to hi@qz.com. You can download our iPhone app or follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search