#Uber CEO exit, #Sessions talks #Russia, surging slime

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The Fed raises interest rates. Analysts widely expect the US Federal Reserve to increase its benchmark rate as the labor market and broader US economy improve—the second hike so far this year. Not everything is sunny, however: Inflation has dropped off slightly and hopes for major infrastructure and tax-reform policies have dimmed.

Xi Jinping meets the head of FIFA. Gianni Infantino and China’s president are expected to talk about a Chinese bid to host the World Cup in 2030 or 2034. Another option that’s being discussed: a co-hosting arrangement with China, South Korea, Japan, and North Korea.

The world’s biggest fashion retailer shares its results. Spain-based Inditex, which controls Zara and Massimo Dutti, will likely post another strong quarter, defying the glum retail environment. Citibank expects the fast-fashion giant to notch a 16% jump in pre-tax profits from a year ago, and analysts predict a 6% or 7% rise in like-for-like sales.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

The US attorney general called Russian collusion claims “a detestable lie.” A combative Jeff Sessions denied reports that he had an undisclosed meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, saying “if any brief interaction occurred in passing… I do not remember it.” Sessions refused to discuss any conversations with president Donald Trump about the firing of FBI director James Comey.

Jim Mattis gained authority from Trump to decide troop levels in Afghanistan. The US defense secretary is believed to favor sending several thousand more soldiers (paywall) to the country, where, he has said, “the enemy is surging.” The US has about 9,800 troops there. Most are assigned to training the Afghan military, but a few thousand fight Al Qaeda and other militant groups.

Australia agreed to compensate Manus Island detainees. The government and its contractors offered A$70 million ($53 million) to settle a class-action lawsuit representing 1,900-plus asylum seekers and refugees. The detainees have complained of suffering serious physical and psychological injuries while in offshore detention centers on the Papua New Guinea island.

Uber’s CEO took an indefinite leave of absence. After a long string of scandals and the sudden death of his mother, Travis Kalanick told employees that he was taking a break to work on “Travis 2.0.” The company’s board will appoint an independent chairman and hire a new chief operating officer who will assume some of Kalanick’s responsibilities.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Hanna Kozlowska on the private-prison client no one talks about. “The largest jail system in the United States has no buildings of its own. Instead, it’s a shadowy complex of agreements that tucks detainees in wherever there’s available space. It has swelled substantially over the past two decades, and it is likely to grow further.” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

Rare celestial / events and rate hikes. Long waits / And not much suspense

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Ride-hailing and electric cars will kill Big Oil. The cost to hail an autonomous, electric car will make gasoline obsolete.

Eric Holder is the disappointed dad that Uber needs. A report by the former US attorney general scolded the tech giant for its immature culture.

A coin flip can take the angst out of traveling. Once you do the preliminary research, it’s less stressful than making decisions.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

A German kindergarten is the youngest democracy in the world. Kids as young as three years old can vote on their daily needs.

The birth of a giant panda in Tokyo triggered a stock market boom. Restaurant operators with outlets near Ueno Zoo are expected to benefit from a surge in visitors.

Slime boosted sales of Elmer’s Glue. Made from glue and borax (which has also seen a sales spike), the gooey stuff stars in many a social media video, alongside delighted kids.

Qatar is airlifting 4,000 cows to beat a trade embargo. Hostile Gulf states have cut off almost all of the country’s milk imports.

Spain has spent 76 years in the wrong time zone. It’s been onCentral European Time since a World War II-era gesture of solidarity to Adolf Hitler.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, baby pandas, and airlifted cows to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.

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