Uber settles lawsuit, Obama opposes Brexit, Silicon Valley’s unicorn fantasy

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today and over the weekend

World leaders sign the Paris climate agreement. The landmark deal will be signed by more than 165 countries at the United Nations in New York. The agreement commits countries to limit the global temperature rise to below 2℃, but scientists say it’s only a bare-bones approach (paywall), unlikely to avert serious catastrophes like heat waves, food shortages, and rising seas.

McDonald’s reports earnings. The fast food giant is riding high from the launch of an all-day breakfast menu. Investors will be looking to see if it’s able to sustain the trend, securing its recovery after a multi-year decline.

Serbia goes to the polls. The current prime minister, Aleksandar Vučić, looks set to win another four-year term when voting begins on Sunday. A former ally of  Slobodan Milosevic, who led Serbia during the bloody 1990s breakup of Yugoslavia, Vučić plans to overhaul the economy to prepare the country  for EU membership by 2020.

While you were sleeping

Barack Obama made a Brexit intervention. The US president, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said the UK’s ability to fight terrorism will be “more effective” if it remains in the EU, come the June 23 referendum. After meetings on Friday with British prime minister David Cameron and the queen, Obama will head to Germany on Sunday to open the Hannover Messe.

Uber agreed to pay up to $100 million to settle a class-action lawsuit. In a major challenge to the ride-hailing giant’s business model, the lawsuit questioned whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors. They’ll remain the latter, much to Uber’s relief.

Apple’s iBooks and iTunes were shut down in China. The services have been blocked as part of the government’s new regulations that prohibit foreign-owned online publishers whose servers are not in China from having access to consumers. This is bad news for Apple, as China is its second-largest market by revenue.

Daimler opened an exhaust-emissions investigation. The owner of the Mercedes-Benz brand said it was conducting the probe on how it certifies diesel exhaust emissions at the request of the US Justice Department. The carmaker reported a 9% drop in first-quarter operating profit, despite record car sales in China

Japan’s manufacturing sector took a hit. The Nikkei-Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 48 this month from 49.1 in March—the worst result since 2013 (paywall). A resurgent yen and earthquakes on Kyushu island, a manufacturing hub, contributed to the drop.

Quartz obsession interlude

Alison Griswold on Silicon Valley’s collapsing unicorn fantasy. “In early 2015, Fortune pegged the billion-dollar startup club at 80 members. Those ranks have since doubled… But late last year everything changed. Startups began scrambling to get their finances in order. Layoffs mounted, perks vanished.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Office perks won’t save a miserable workplace. Ping-pong tables and office baristas don’t prevent unhappy employees from leaving.

Minimum wage is a lousy way to solve income equality. A $15 minimum wage in California and New York will act as a tax increase on the poor.

Corruption is just the pretext for impeaching Brazil’s president. Dilma Rousseff is the target of the rich and powerful who control the nation’s media outlets.

Surprising discoveries

A 400-year-old dress may have been part of a secret mission before the English civil war. The dress belonged to a royal aide who may have part of a plot to pawn the British crown jewels.

Tiger Woods’ has a weird obsession with the Navy Seals. The golfer would go play army after his father died.

Gay porn stars keep dying. At least five passed away last year.

Prince only put one song on Spotify. The artist fought tooth and nail for complete ownership of his work.

Scientists discovered a new 600-mile coral reef. It’s at the mouth of the Amazon River, home to some of the world’s muddiest water.

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