Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—Obama’s climate moves, Snowden’s diplomatic discord, Qatar’s emir abdicates

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What to watch for today

Softbank seals the deal. Sprint shareholders will vote on SoftBank’s sweetened $21.6 billion offer. Sprint’s other suitor, Dish Network, abandoned its bid last week after a long bidding war.

Climate change you can believe in. President Barack Obama is expected to announce a slew of measures including limits on carbon emissions from existing power plants, which account for 40% of the annual emissions in the US.

Homebuyers are back. Economists expect new US home sales to increase 2.2% in May. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for April and durable goods orders for May are also due.

Barnes and Noble’s e-book blues. The retailer is expected to report a loss for the fourth straight quarter, while revenues may see a 4% drop. The drag is coming from the Nook division, which includes e-readers, tablets and e-books.

While you were sleeping

Snowden’s seeds of discord. The United States lashed out at China and Russia for harboring NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the US criticism, saying “Russia has nothing to do with Snowden’s movements, he chose his route himself and didn’t cross the Russian border.” So is he still in the Moscow airport?

China’s credit crunch. A People’s Bank of China official said it would guide interest rates to a “reasonable range,” as Chinese shares recouped most of their earlier losses.

Attack on the Afghan presidential palace. Gunmen attacked government buildings and the local CIA headquarters as reporters gathered for a press conference with President Hamid Karzai, complicating attempts to kickstart peace talks with the Taliban.

Qatar’s ruler abdicates. Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who overthrew his own father in 1995, handed over power to his 33-year-old son, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Indonesia apologized for wayward pollution. Taking full responsibility for illegal fires on the island of Sumatra, President Yudhoyono called for an end to the bickering that has soured the relationship between Indonesia and its smoke-choked neighbors, Malaysia and Singapore.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on what the US and Chinese central banks have learned about bubbles. “Before the global financial crisis hit, central bankers didn’t try to deflate asset bubbles. Instead, they just waited until they popped and tried to contain the damage and pick up the pieces. But that hands-off approach appears to be no longer in vogue. The evidence? Look no further than the most recent market upheaval, which was sparked by central banks in the world’s two largest economies doing their best to deflate bubblicious conditions in key financial markets.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

China’s opacity makes it a dangerous investment. Beijing has lost control of its Frankenstein economy.

Global warming is making the world un-insurable. Governments are the only ones who can do something about it.

The next merger boom is already here. M&A volumes will rise even though most mergers continue to disappoint.

The coffee critics are wrong. Science shows that caffeine can drive creativity.

The greatest research note of all time.  “We have no new thoughts. Sell.”

Surprising discoveries

Get important people to answer your emails. Six secrets on how to get responses.

Avoiding US extradition treaties is a toughie. This map will help.

The magic word. The most persuasive thing you can say in a meeting is “yeah.” 

Wine connoisseurs can’t tell the difference. Only 10% knew they were being given the same wine over and over.

Visit the Burj Khalifa for free. Google Street View now takes you into the world’s tallest building.

The 1% of the 1%. 0.01% of the US population contributed 28% of campaign donations in the 2012 elections.

America’s best-loved pets. Dogs are an overwhelming favorite. But tigers are the top exotic pet.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, tips for evading extradition and unidentifiable vintages to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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