Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Donald Trump hosts Lebanon’s prime minister as Mideast tensions rise. Saad Hariri will visit the White House to discuss terrorism, the economy, and refugees, but the discussion may well cover clashes over heightened Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
GM and Chipotle report quarterly results. Analysts expect a downturn in profit and revenue as General Motors kicks off auto earnings, as the carmaker struggles with a US slowdown and tries to pivot from Europe to Asia. Chipotle, meanwhile, is struggling with a resurgence of food safety fears after a norovirus outbreak at an outlet in Virginia.
Lawmakers extend their grilling of Shinzo Abe. The upper house of parliament gets its turn to question the prime minister about allegations that he used his political power to help a friend get into veterinary school.
While you were sleeping
KKR agreed to buy WebMD for $2.8 billion. The popular googling of scary health symptoms is big business—the private equity firm is paying a 20.5% premium. WebMD will join a portfolio of modest but high-traffic internet properties including DentalPlans.com, UltimateCoupons.com, and CorvetteForum.com.
Even the EU can’t stop Google’s parent company from raking in the cash: Alphabet’s quarterly revenue rose 20% to $26 billion, even as it paid a $2.7 billion fine for antitrust violations. But Wall Street wasn’t impressed, sending shares down 3%.
Jared Kushner denied colluding with Russia. The US president’s son-in-law and senior advisor told investigators from the Senate Intelligence Committee that he met with Russian officials four times last year but had “no improper contacts” with the Kremlin.
Tanzania hit a mining company with an astronomical tax bill. Acacia Mining Plc’s stock slumped on the news that it owes $40 billion in taxes plus another $150 billion in interest and penalties for failing to fully disclose export revenues. That’s equivalent to about two centuries of Acacia’s annual revenue.
Samsung entered the US pharmaceutical market. The South Korean tech conglomerate is branching out from electronics with a discounted rheumatoid arthritis drug (paywall) to compete with Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade.
Quartz obsession interlude
Anne Quito on the trillion-dollar global black market for fake designer chairs: “The Eames recliner was originally conceived as a napping-and-reading perch for Hollywood director Billy Wilder, who wanted a handsome English club chair with the feel of ‘warm, receptive look of a well-worn first baseman’s mitt.’” Read more here.
Summer is for kids / But not toys. There’s no fun for / Hasbro and Mattel
Matters of debate
Productivity is becoming irrelevant. As difficult-to-automate service industries grow alongside automated labor, GDP and human welfare may become entirely divorced.
Push notifications are ruining your life. They let brands grab your attention whenever they want—and rob you of your inner peace.
It’s time to auction off airwaves to wireless networks. It’s the best way to re-allocate a scarce resource as traditional broadcasters need it less and less.
Rocker Alice Cooper found a forgotten Andy Warhol masterpiece. His mother remembered that Little Electric Chair was stashed in a storage locker.
The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier has no urinals. The $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford reflects an increased need for gender-neutral spaces.
There were eight tropical cyclones in the north Pacific Ocean at once on Saturday. That hasn’t happened since 1974.
Microsoft is killing Paint (and fond childhood memories). Launched in 1985, the ultra-basic graphics editing program is officially kaput in Windows 10.
It pays to be ugly. A study found that the ugliest 3% of the population outearn the 50% who are sort of ugly or just average-looking.
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