Alberta wildfires spread, Tim Cook in India, dung beetle navigation

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Tim Cook makes a surprise visit to India. Cook will meet with prime minister Narendra Modi, sources say, during his first trip to the country as Apple CEO. The company enjoyed a nice bump in quarterly sales in India this year, but is struggling to launch fully-owned stores in the country.

A top Chinese official drops in on Hong Kong. In anticipation of a visit by Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of the National People’s Congress, officials glued down paving stones to prevent protesters from throwing them. Zhang is the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit Hong Kong since tens of thousands demonstrated for democracy in 2014.

Fresh economic data from the US. Consumer prices likely accelerated in April, which could support the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates later this year. Housing starts and industrial production are also expected to rise.

Home Depot reports first-quarter earnings. Analysts expect a strong quarter at the bellwether for the housing and construction sectors. The home improvement chain has benefitted in recent years from falling unemployment and a boost in the sale of existing homes, leading to Americans spending more on remodeling projects.

While you were sleeping

Twitter tweaked its messaging model. The social network plans to stop counting photos and links as part of the 140-character limit, Bloomberg reported. Currently photos count as 24 characters, and links 23. The change could roll out in the next two weeks.

The Alberta wildfires moved toward major oil sand facilities. Both Suncor Energy and Syncrude Canada confirmed they had evacuated workers from camps outside of Fort McMurray after the massive fires suddenly shifted north. Some 4,000 workers were relocated.

China cut Venezuela a break. Beijing eased the terms of its loans-for-oil deal with Caracas, ahead of a looming debt repayment. Venezuela is struggling under a recession caused by economic mismanagement and low oil prices, and owes China approximately $50 billion.

The CIA “mistakenly” erased a massive report on torture. The agency’s internal watchdog deleted its only copy of a 6,700-page Senate report on “enhanced interrogation” of terrorist suspects. Meanwhile, the Intercept is releasing the NSA’s internal version of the “Daily Brief,” which describes its surveillance programs alongside descriptions of staff members’ vacation plans.

Lending Club said it’s being investigated by the US Justice Department. Shares of the once-lauded online lender have collapsed since last week’s ouster of founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche over faulty internal controls. The company said it will cooperate with federal investigators.

Quartz markets haiku

Evening marketplace
An old man buys an apple
Half off, just as sweet

Quartz obsession interlude

Madhura Karnik on plans for a Indian space shuttle: “The Indian space agency’s track record is quite solid: In Sept. 2014, India became the first country to reach the red planet in the first attempt. The Mars Orbiter was also the cheapest-ever Mars mission, with a total expenditure of about $74 million.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Beijing is on course to become Silicon Valley’s only serious competitor. Chinese startups are fast, cheap, and unconcerned with perks.

We shouldn’t think of Mars as a backup planet. Inter-planetary exploration and preservation of Earth are part of the same goal.

Corruption is a tool for Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin doesn’t want to purge corrupt elites—it wants to nationalize them (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

The world’s longest-servicing orchestra musician died during a performance. Jane Little, an 87-year-old bassist, was playing the last measures of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

A gun-toting, Trump-supporting Chinese immigrant is running for US Congress. Sue Googe is running in the state of North Carolina—and is using a font that looks a lot like Google’s logo.

An Australian pharmaceutical company is making Zika-proof condoms. They’re coated with an anti-viral gel, and will be given to Olympic athletes at the Rio Olympics.

Beyoncé’s “celebrate every woman” clothes are allegedly made in a sweatshop. Her company says its Sri Lankan factory follows ”rigorous” ethical standards.

Dung beetles have stellar navigational skills. They use their photographic memories to store a mental map of the stars.

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