EU’s migrant agreement, Mexico’s election, space grease

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

China rewrites its economic ground rules. Amid a growing trade spat with the US, Beijing will either ease or end foreign ownership restrictions for key industries, including autos, energy, finance, infrastructure, and natural resources. The full list is due to be shared by Saturday.

Mexico elects a new leader Sunday. The clear frontrunner is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a 64-year-old leftist whom foes charge would crash Latin America’s second-largest economy. Amlo, as he’s known, has promised to tackle the poverty, violence, and corruption that has left so many voters disillusioned.

A reading on US inflation. The price index for personal consumption expenditures likely increased 0.2 percent (pdf) in May after a similar gain in April. Consumer spending, meanwhile, likely rose 0.4% last month, after increasing 0.6% in April.

While you were sleeping

EU leaders reached agreements on handling migrants. After nine hours of negotiations at a summit in Brussels, they agreed to restrict migrants’ movements within the bloc and set up asylum processing sites. They also agreed to tighten their external borders and boost financing for Turkey, Morocco, and northern African states to prevent migration to Europe.

Xiaomi’s Hong Kong IPO raised $4.7 billion after pricing on the low end. The Beijing-based smartphone maker was hoping to become the world’s biggest IPO in almost two years, having attracted cornerstone investments from Qualcomm and China Mobile. Hong Kong’s stock market is weak amid US-China trade tensions.

The Trump administration finally has an ambassador to South Korea. The US Senate confirmed retired navy admiral Harry B. Harris Jr. In his confirmation hearing Harris spoke of the need to bring North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “to his senses and not to his knees.” Earlier the 61-year-old had been slated to become the envoy to Australia.

The world’s biggest hedge fund announced major changes. Founder and longtime chief Ray Dalio will step back from day-to-day operations (paywall) as Bridgewater becomes a partnership, opening up the $150 billion fund to more input from its executive team. The new structure puts Dalio’s widely criticized philosophy of “radical transparency” to the test.

A gunman killed five people in a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. The suspect was identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, a 38-year-old local man who held a grudge against the Capital Gazette for its coverage of a criminal harassment case against him. Police took him into custody soon after the attack, which also injured two.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on China’s “debt-trap diplomacy” being even worse than we thought. “An egotistical president, an influx of foreign cash, and a massive pile of debt led to Sri Lanka handing over an entire port to China in December 2017, on a century-long lease… Sri Lanka is more indebted to Beijing than ever thanks to the high interest rates on its existing loans. This year, the country owes nearly $13 billion, out of a forecast revenue of less than $14 billion.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Is Apple alive? The corporate “supermind”—including employees, machines, buildings, and other resources—meets all the standard definitions of a conscious organism.

One exclamation point is enough. It should be all you need to signal “pain, fear, astonishment, anger, disgust, or yelling”—including on Twitter!

A talent war in Japan’s cotton-spinning industry a century ago holds lessons for Silicon Valley. Adding engineering talent led directly to financial success.

Surprising discoveries

The Milky Way is full of space grease. Scientists measuring the galaxy’s contents calculated that interstellar dust contains 10 billion trillion trillion metric tons of greasy aliphatic carbon.

A psychedelic drink from the Amazon could treat depression. The first placebo-controlled clinical trial of ayahuasca suggests it’s an effective antidepressant.

America’s cheese stockpile just hit an all-time high. Lower demand for milk may force the government to buy the surplus from producers—a practice known as “quantitative cheesing.”

Brazil has a leprosy problem, and armadillos are making it worse. The bacteria that causes the illness is transmitted from the animal, which is considered a delicacy in rural areas.

Crows are even smarter than we thought. An experiment showed they remember the tools that work best—and how to make them.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, surplus cheddar, and crow contraptions 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 Steve Mollman and edited by Isabella Steger.