Quartz daily brief—Americas Edition—China’s strange trade deficit, Bernanke’s brain, Asia’s female bankers

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What to watch for today

Apple gets cozy with … Yahoo? The companies are discussing how to include more Yahoo services on the iPhone and iPad. Why Yahoo? It’s not Google.

What the Fed is thinking. The Federal Open Market Committee releases its minutes, which will show how Bernanke & Co. view the economy and risks to their long-term goals.

Blackstone seeks back-up. The private equity firm is talking to “several technology companies” (paywall) about joining its bid for Dell.

Rio Tinto takes stock. The firm is reviewing three major projects (paywall), including mines in Michigan and Utah. Meanwhile, a Mongolia project may be $10 billion over budget.

State of the Family Dollar. The discount store’s earnings will show how the economic recovery is going for America’s less well-off. Also reporting: spirits maker Constellation Brands and home-furnishings store Bed Bath & Beyond.

While you were sleeping

China posted a surprise trade deficit. The country posted a bizarre $880 million trade deficit for March, from a surplus of $15.2 billion in February. The most popular explanation: China’s trade data cannot be trusted.

The French economy climbed. Industrial and manufacturing production rose 0.7% thanks to the transport sector, providing a happy surprise for François Hollande.

A billion-dollar gift. Cosmetics tycoon Leonard Lauder donated his massive collection of Cubist art to the Met.

Casino feud heated up. Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, in a legal battle with casino magnate Steve Wynn, is being investigated for violating US bribery laws in relation to a Philippines casino project.

Quartz obsession interlude

Naomi Rovnick on a mainland China fraud that is hurting Wall Street: ”Fu Yanbin, a Chinese real estate tycoon, is being taken to court in Hong Kong by lenders including Goldman Sachs for allegedly transferring assets out of their reach after his company, Rightway Group, earlier failed to repay them a $557 million loan. The lenders, however, have no idea if Fu will appear for the next hearing in the civil case on July 10 as they are unable to locate him, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation said.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Switzerland is an island of calm. And that offers lessons for Europe.

The US immigration bill is already a failure. It will leave millions of jobs unfilled over the next seven years.

If you waited to graduate before looking for work, you waited too long.

Slow Food, coupled with a slow life, is a better way to live.

US infrastructure is not really crumbling“Deficient” doesn’t mean “unsafe.”

Surprising discoveries

Women dominate private banking in Asia. Female wealth managers outnumber men by a 3-to-2 margin.

Baboon sounds are linked to the origins of human speech. Gurgling and lip smacking are key.

Bitcoin millionaires are probably tax felons. Capital gains are forever.

Southern Europeans are richer than Northern Europeans. Sort of.

Jay-Z and Beyonce traveled legally to Cuba. And so can you.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, baboon noises and Slow Food recipes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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