Good morning, Quartz readers!
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Britain’s big pre-Brexit vote. A Conservative landslide in today’s snap general election would help prime minister Theresa May ensure the country’s EU exit happens on her terms. Other outcomes couldthrow the process wide open, and Labour has been steadily closing the gap in polls. An interest rate decision by the European Central Bank is also expected to test markets.
James Comey’s big day. Amid a media frenzy worthy of a major sporting event, the fired FBI director will testify in front of the Senate intelligence committee at 10am ET. According to his prepared testimony (pdf), Comey will detail how president Donald Trumppressured him for loyalty, not honesty, in the FBI’s investigation of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
India and Pakistan shake hands. The not-so-friendly neighborswill officially join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a Beijing-based group aimed at military cooperation and intelligence sharing, at a summit in Kazakhstan.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
North Korea fired more missiles into the sea. Four projectilesflew about 200 km (124 miles) and were believed to be surface-to-ship cruise missiles. It’s possible but highly unlikely that such missiles could take down US aircraft carriers, which have defenses against them, military experts said. Last week two US carriersconducted nearby drills with Japanese warships.
China released surprisingly robust trade figures for May. In a sign global demand is picking up, exports increased 8.7% year-on-year in dollar terms, above the median forecast of 7% (paywall). Imports jumped 14.8% from a year ago, compared to expectations of 8.5%. The month’s trade surplus came in at $40.8 billion, short of the median estimate of $47.8 billion.
IKEA will test sales through third parties. Flat-pack furniture and home furnishings may soon be available on platforms like Amazon and Alibaba, as the Swedish giant experiments with new modes of digital shopping.
Japan revised its GDP down. The world’s third-largest economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1%, compared to a preliminary estimate of 2.2% (and economists’ forecasts of 2.4%), thanks in part to lower-than-expected business inventories and consumer spending. But with exports strong, it was still the fifth straight quarter of growth—the longest run of expansion since 2006.
A newly discovered fossil changed human history. Researchers at Jebel Irhoud, a site in Morocco, found evidence that Homo sapiens were around 100,000 years earlier than previously thought. The new evidence, which shows them dispersed throughout Africa, could rewrite the story of human evolution.
QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE
Corinne Purtill on a young developer who made a huge mistake. “The point is, any system in which humans are involved will at some point be disrupted by human error. Organizations distinguish themselves not by stamping out the possibility of error, but by handling the inevitable mistake well.” Read more here.
Stocks climb ever up
Alpinists know the descent
Is what’s dangerous
MATTERS OF DEBATE
Retail trends are taking a dangerous turn. Fidget spinners and vape pens are bypassing retailers and regulators alike.
Yoga needs an ethical makeover. Recent lawsuits revealwidespread sexual misconduct (paywall) in the industry.
Qatar will be OK. Although its neighbors have cut trade ties, major Asian markets still rely heavily on its natural gas.
Russian hackers are using Britney Spears’s Instagram. One prominent group hid instructions for malware in the comments section.
Jumping spiders have eyes like telescopes. They can see the moon—and maybe even its craters.
An antique photo captured both Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Teddy was just a little boy, watching Abe’s funeral procession in New York.
Fake science saved lives in Victorian England. The theory that bad smells cause illness was wrong—but it inspired a new era of sanitary living.
Beware: Ravens hold grudges. If you cross them, they willremember.
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