Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Turkey and the EU try to reset relations. Meeting in Brussels, top officials from both sides will discuss counterterrorism cooperation, the migration crisis, and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals. But the get-together comes amid acrimony over the detention of human rights activists in Turkey, among them a German.
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 talk may also cover clashes over heightened Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
GM reports quarterly results. Analysts expect General Motors to report a downturn in profit and revenue as it kicks off auto earnings. The carmaker is struggling with a US slowdown while it pivots from Europe to Asia. One bright spot investors will want an update on: booming Cadillac sales in China.
Lawmakers extend their grilling of Shinzo Abe. Japan’s 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
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. But his answers included some puzzling omissions.
Tanzania hit a mining company with an astronomical tax bill. London-based Acacia Mining’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 nearly two centuries of Acacia’s annual revenue.
Toyota plans to launch a fast-charging, long-range electric car as early as 2022. That’s according to the Chunichi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper. It reported the vehicle will be built on an all-new platform and will be able to recharge in a few minutes, thanks to a new kind of all-solid-state battery to be used in place of the lithium-ion variety.
South Korea raised its growth outlook. The finance ministry projected economic expansion of 3% for the year, up from an earlier estimate of 2.6%. That would be the fastest growth since the 3.3% seen in 2014. Exports have been in positive territory for eight straight months, and are expected to surge 10.2% for the year.
Quartz obsession interlude
Anne Quito on the black market for fake designer chairs. “Last year, US customs officers seized over $4 million worth of fake chairs. It was the first year that the agency had ever seized containers-full of such unauthorized reproductions, thanks in part to a novel new training that’s turning port inspectors into design connoisseurs… The global counterfeit furniture industry thrives to the tune of $1.7 trillion.” Read more here.
Summer is for kids / But this summer is lame 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 will 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 that traditional broadcasters need less and mobile operators need more.
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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