What to watch for today
The final day of campaigning ahead of the UK’s “Brexit” referendum. The final batch of polls show opinion swinging back towards a vote for Britain to remain in the EU. The “leave” campaign upped its rhetoric in a last-ditch attempt to convince voters to reject the EU, with justice minister Michael Gove comparing economists who say Brexit will harm the UK economy to the Nazi-sponsored scientists who denounced Albert Einstein’s theories. (Yes, really.)
Volkswagen faces angry investors. The German automaker holds a general shareholders meeting in Hanover, but awkward questions about its ongoing emissions-cheating scandal will likely go unanswered. The meeting comes a day after prosecutors launched a probe of former CEO Martin Winterkorn.
Barnes & Noble opens its books. The retailer has been helped by the adult coloring book craze, but it’s still struggling against online competition. Investors will look to its latest quarterly earnings to see if its expanded offerings—toys, gifts, vinyl records—are appealing to customers.
The US’s third-largest political party holds a town hall meeting. CNN will interview Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson at 9pm ET. The former New Mexico governor will be joined by VP pick William Weld, a former Massachusetts governor. The party believes its relatively strong showing in polls (up to 9% in some surveys) is down to defections of disillusioned voters on both the left and right.
While you were sleeping
Tesla offered to buy SolarCity for $2.8 billion. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also chairman of the rooftop-solar firm, whose CEO is Musk’s first cousin Lyndon Rive—among other entanglements. Tesla shares plunged more than 13% in extended trading, erasing some $4.3 billion in market value.
India launched 20 satellites on a single rocket. The notable accomplishment showed the nation is emerging as a major player in the space market. Launching multiple satellites on a single mission reduces costs; India is positioning itself as a low-cost but effective operator.
North Korea conducted missile tests. Its first attempt failed, but the second launch reached new heights and got more than halfway to Japan’s Honshu Island before plunging into the sea, showing the rogue nation has made progress in ballistics—and continues to defy international warnings.
H&M felt the chill. The Swedish clothing retailer’s quarterly sales growth was the weakest in three quarters. It cited increased discounting, a strong US dollar, and, in Europe, a cold and rainy spring.
Quartz obsession interlude
Mun Keat Looi on why his immigrant father is voting for the UK to leave the EU: “Having been born and raised in a Muslim country, he is always reminded of Malaysia’s history of political and racial tensions. The danger as he sees it is that some of the personal freedoms and equalities we treasure—women’s rights, LGBT rights—will not be tolerated let alone followed in conservative ghettos.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Annual pay raises don’t work. They neither motivate workers nor keep them from leaving for a better-paying job.
The US patent office impedes innovation. It’s been rocked by the speed of technological change and roiled by “patent trolls.”
American politics have slowly gone insane. Unless the problem is addressed, it will only get worse.
The world’s cheapest serving of Coke goes for $0.07. You can find it in rural India.
Chinese bankers get spankings from “motivational trainers.” The attempt at improving performance at a rural bank backfired badly.
Refugees are taking Palermo’s city center back from the mafia. One of the world’s oldest cities is coming back to life.
The future of cremation is dissolving bodies and flushing the remains. Canada is keeping a close eye on an allegedly eco-friendly funeral home.
Couples who share housework have more sex. It’s an inversion of earlier trends, when couples with “traditional” setups were the ones getting frisky more regularly.
Correction: Yesterday’s Daily Brief said the Consumer Electronics Show was starting in New York. It’s actually CE Week.
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