Anwar Ibrahim’s release, North Korea’s about-face, yanny vs. laurel

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

The EU tries to shield European companies from US-Iran sanctions. Jean-Claude Juncker and Federica Mogherini, the heads of European Commission and the EU foreign service, will brief all 28 EU leaders at a meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Democrats try to save net neutrality. The US Senate will vote on whether to reverse the White House’s decision to repeal net neutrality. One Republican is in support of maintaining the measures, giving Democrats an advantage as senator John McCain is absent due to illness.

Cambridge Analytica’s whistleblower testifies in the US Congress. Christopher Wylie, who exposed details of how the political firm used Facebook to illegally harvest user data to influence US elections, will speak before a Senate committee.

While you were sleeping

North Korea said it’s reconsidering its summit with the US. Pyongyang said it could call off the talks, slated for June 12, if the US continues to insist that it give up its nuclear weapons. North Korea also called the military drills between South Korea and the US a “provocation,” and canceled talks planned today with South Korean officials at the last minute.

Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison in Malaysia. The former opposition leader, who had been serving what many said was a politically motivated sentence for sodomy, was pardoned by the king. Anwar’s party and former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad teamed up to defeat Najib Razak in last week’s election.

Japan’s growth streak came to an end. The world’s third-largest economy ended eight straight quarters of consecutive growth, as the economy shrank by a worse-than-expected 0.6% in the first three months of the year.

The World Trade Organization ruled against Airbus and the EU. The United States had accused the EU of providing $22 billion in improper state aid to build the A380 and A350 jets. The ruling, in the works since 2004, opens up the likelihood of more US trade sanctions—but could be counterbalanced by a parallel case against Boeing.

Get smarter in a minute

Are you keeping up with the day’s events? Quartz has a news quiz called Headlines that will test your knowledge—and fill in the blanks. Give it a try!

Matters of debate

Evolution made it hard for humans to ask for help. The fear of losing status within a community is hardwired into primate brains.

Incels are out to rule the world. Absolute male supremacy (paywall), not a desire for sex, is at the heart of the violently misguided movement.

Stop using business buzzwords already. Brands will make better connections if they communicate creatively.

Surprising discoveries

Swedish thieves are stealing owls as cash is phased out. Valuable endangered species are easier targets than banks these days.

Oil companies are dropping “oil” from their names. The move is designed to attract talented youth who take a dim view of fossil-fuel providers.

Japan is battling a severe whiskey shortage. Surging demand and limited supply has forced Suntory to halt sales of two premium makes.

There’s a new “The Dress” controversy on the internet. People are divided over whether they hear the word “yanny” or “laurel” in a sound clip.

“Manly foods” like penis fish are losing their favor among young Koreans. Older generations believe certain foods can improve male stamina.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, rescued owls, and secret Japanese whiskey collections to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Isabella Steger and edited by Alice Truong.