Mexico picks a leader, Trump protest arrests, space grease

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

Mexico elects a new leader after a bloody election campaign. The clear frontrunner in Sunday’s race is 64-year-old leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He has vowed to tackle the poverty, violence, and corruption that has claimed 200,000 Mexican lives since 2007. More than 120 political candidates have been killed since September 2017.

China takes steps to open up the economy. Amid a growing trade spat with the US, Beijing will either ease or end foreign-ownership restrictions for key industries, including autos, energy, finance, and infrastructure. Expect the full list on Saturday.

A reading on US inflation. The price index for personal consumption expenditure will have likely increased by 0.2% (pdf) in May after a similar gain in April. Consumer spending is expected to have risen 0.4% last month, after a 0.6% increase in April.

While you were sleeping

Nearly 600 women were arrested in Washington while protesting Trump’s immigration policy. Demanding an end to his policy of separating and detaining families, women marched past the Justice Department, before staging a sit-in at the Hart Senate Office Building. Police charged them with unlawfully demonstrating inside an office building.

Tributes were paid to the five people shot at the Capital Gazette, Annapolis. Author Carl Hiaasen said his brother Rob, who was killed in the shooting, was “one of the most gentle and funny people I’ve ever known.” The suspect, who fired through a glass window into the Gazette newsroom on Thursday, is in custody.

Xiaomi’s IPO raised $4.7 billion after pricing on the low-end. The Chinese smartphone maker was hoping to become the world’s biggest IPO in almost two years, but Hong Kong’s stock market is weak amid US-China trade tensions.

EU leaders reached a vague consensus on migration. Overnight negotiations in Brussels resulted in a plan to set up migrant-processing centers in the bloc and resettle refugees on a “voluntary basis.” They will tighten the EU’s external borders and give Turkey and northern Africa more money to slow migration.

The White House finally has an ambassador to South Korea. The 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.”

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’s 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. 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.

Armadillos are exacerbating Brazil’s leprosy problem. The bacteria that causes the illness is transmitted via the animal, which is considered a delicacy in rural areas.

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

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, quantitative cheesing, and crafty crows 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 Jill Petzinger and edited by Lianna Brinded.