Laptop ban averted, US-Vietnam trade deals, Italian bank heists

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

An update on India’s GDP. Analysts expect India remained the world’s fastest-growing major economy in the first quarter, with boosts from the agriculture and services sectors. Predictions peg annualized growth at 7.1%, compared to 7% in the previous quarter. A decision to phase out large-denomination banknotes last November barely dented economic momentum.

The US and Vietnam sign trade deals in Washington. Donald Trump and Vietnam’s prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc are set to unveil economic agreements for up to $17 billion. Phuc’s visit to the White House is the first by a Southeast Asian leader since Trump took office.

The EU releases unemployment numbers. The rate for April is expected to stay close to the 9.5% level seen in March, an eight-year low. Euro zone inflation data for May is also due.

While you were sleeping

The US decided not to ban in-cabin laptops on flights from the EU—for now. After weeks of rumors, the Department of Homeland Security has decided to allow passengers to carry laptops on inbound flights, despite intelligence suggesting a possible ISIL bomb threat. A ban is still “on the table,” a DHS spokesman told Politico.

China arrested a labor activist investigating a company making Ivanka Trump-branded shoes. Authorities detained Hua Haifeng on suspicion of illegally using eavesdropping equipment, according to China Labor Watch. Two other men involved in the probe have gone missing. Labor rights activists are under increasing pressure in China.

The US military shot down a mock intercontinental ballistic missile. It was testing a ground-based system (previously criticized for being overpriced and ineffective) designed to defend against long-range attacks, especially from North Korea. It had never before conducted a live-fire test against a simulated ICBM.

Uber fired the star engineer at the center of a high-stakes lawsuit. Anthony Levandowski, who has done crucial work on the lidar sensors that enable autonomous cars to “see” their surroundings, has refused to hand over 14,000 documents he allegedly stole from Waymo, his former employer, despite a court order. A judge has also ordered Uber to open its books to Waymo’s lawyers.

South Korea arrested a key figure in its presidential scandal. Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of the presidential advisor accused of collecting massive bribes, was arrested on a flight from Amsterdam to Seoul after being extradited from Denmark. Her admission to a prestigious university helped trigger the corruption scandal that brought down president Park Geun-hye.

Quartz obsession interlude

Lila MacLellan on the antidote to multitasking. “Starting but not finishing too many projects puts a person at risk of the so-called Zeigarnik effect, named for Bluma Zeigarnik, a Russian psychiatrist who, in the 1920s, discovered that people are better at remembering unfinished tasks than completed ones. Unfinished items that we’ve left hanging are like cognitive itches.” Read more here.

Markets haiku

One thousand a share,” / Jeff Bezos softly whispers. / “Amazon dot com.”

Matters of debate

A US exit from the Paris Accord will lead directly to catastrophe. If Trump follows through on his threat, the world can expect extinctions, crop damage, and irreversible sea level increases.

Passive investing is like antibiotics. Valuable in moderation, index-tracking products will do more harm than good if they are widely used.

North Korea is helping Beijing in the South China Sea. Its missile tests are distracting the world from China’s territorial aggression.

Surprising discoveries

Italy has more bank heists than the rest of Europe combined. One in 10 branches gets robbed each year.

Earth’s earliest primates dwelled in treetops. So suggests analysis of a 62-million-year-old partial skeleton discovered in New Mexico, countering previous theories that Torrejonia were ground-dwellers.

There’s a Muslim metal band in Indonesia. Its members are hijab-wearing teenage girls.

Marcel Proust liked to play the markets. Letters to his banker show he was “a master at turning financial indulgence into narrative craftsmanship.”

Japan has an invasive raccoon problem. 1970s anime series is to blame.

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