Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—Gay marriage ruling, Obama’s safari, private equity cannabis

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What to watch for today

Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling. A day after striking down a major voting rights law, the top US court will rule on the constitutionality of a California referendum banning gay marriage, and a federal law that blocks married same-sex couples from receiving benefits like social security.

George the Austere. UK chancellor and hamburger lover George Osborne will give details about £11 billion ($17 billion) in additional spending cuts that will kick in from April 2015. The Bank of England’s financial stability report will also be released.

Obama’s African safari.  The US president will start his 8-day visit to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. His trip could be overshadowed by the deteriorating health of Nelson Mandela.

Doesn’t anyone eat breakfast anymore? US food giant General Mills is expected to post an 11% decline in earnings, as the maker of Cheerios struggles to boost sales of its two largest categories—cereal and yogurt. Monsanto and Bed Bath & Beyond will also report earnings.

HD Supply prices its IPO. The industrial and hardware supply company could raise up to $1.25 billion, making it the third-largest US IPO this year.

While you were sleeping

Wal-Mart’s India boss ousted. The company, which has struggled in India, announced the abrupt departure of Raj Jain.

China’s bankers would like some clarity, please. After a volatile week of dealing with a credit squeeze initiated by uncommunicative policymakers, the chairman of China’s biggest bank said: ”We hope that in future, policy expectations can be clearer …we were genuinely a bit tense.”

Texas abortion showdown. A bill that would have placed major restrictions on abortion clinics was filibustered by State Senator Wendy Davis for 13 hours, as opponents and supporters of the measure clashed in the statehouse.

Snowden’s luxurious airport limbo. The United States continued to press Russia to extradite the NSA whistleblower ensconced in the transit lounge of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport—where he has access to duty-free shopping, free wifi and Cinnabon. Separately, Hong Kong authorities revealed that the US arrest warrant for Snowden listed the wrong middle name.

Marc Rich has died. The controversial, legendary oil trader who was pardoned by Bill Clinton was 78 years old.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on why smart watches are so terrible. “The woes of current smart watches are myriad, from inadequate battery life (imagine charging your watch daily, like your smartphone) to low-resolution screens to a lack of third-party apps (i.e., the software that makes smartphones so useful). But the primary issue with smart watches is that there has yet to be a category-defining device worth copying by all its competitors.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

Can Silicon Valley save the world? Probably not, but it may usher in an age of digital do-gooding.

The European Union’s biggest problem isn’t debt. People don’t trust it any more.

Japan’s economic success hinges on deregulation. The third arrow of Abenomics is the most critical.

Higher US minimum wages are a win-win. Republicans should support the proposal for their own good.

Don’t get so upset about Chinese counterfeiting. It could even be a good thing for foreign firms.

Master the art of the mea culpa. If done right, apologies can resolve conflict and improve relationships.

Surprising discoveries

Selling picks & shovels for the cannabis gold rush. A private equity fund has one cardinal rule: “Don’t touch the leaf.”

Your tax dollars at work. IRS employees used company credit cards to buy pornography and Nerf footballs.

After Earth. Scientists have discovered a nearby sun crowded with potentially habitable super-Earths.

Paging D.B. Cooper. $1.2 million went missing on a flight from Zurich to New York. 

Escaping la migra is fun for the entire family. A Mexican amusement park offers a fake border-crossing attraction.

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs. Street signs of the future will be able to give you restaurant recommendations.

Porn with a conscience. Activists run a sex site to save the rainforest.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Snowden sightings and half-baked investment opportunities to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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