Quartz Daily Brief—Egypt’s showdown, Euro debt crisis re-flares, the metaphysics of head transplants

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What to watch for today

Morsi’s deadline is nearly here. Only hours remain before the Egyptian military’s ultimatum to President Mohamed Morsi comes due. As the body count mounts, the cost of crude oil reached more than $100 per barrel for the first time in nearly a year, on fears that the conflict could halt shipments through the Suez Canal.

The euro debt crisis flares again. European shares fell and Portugal’s borrowing costs surged on fears that the country could require its second bailout in as many years. Meanwhile, a Greek finance ministry official said the country may not reach an agreement with international lenders over public sector reforms. “It won’t be the end of the world,” the official told Reuters.

The US shuts down early. The stock market will close at 1 pm ET ahead of the July 4 holiday. Before that, the ADP employment report for June and initial weekly jobless claims for last week will be released, as well as trade data for May.

While you were sleeping

Service PMI Day. The Markit survey showed that the UK service industry is growing at its fastest rate in over two years, but the euro zone fell unexpectedly. In China, the sector expanded in June but new orders hit a 55-month low.

Apple and Time Warner Cable try to strike a deal. Apple is hoping to get its first cable company on board to provide content for its much anticipated TV offering. An agreement is expected within the next few months.

A downgrade hat-trick. Standard & Poor’s cut its credit ratings for Barclays, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, citing risks from global markets, tighter regulation and increased litigation.

Yahoo! continued its shopping spree. The company said it would buy Qwiki Inc, a company that makes an Apple iPhone video app, for around $50 million—its third acquisition since May.

A merciful Olympus ruling. The former president of the Japanese camera and medical equipment company was found guilty of covering up huge losses along with two other executives, but all were given suspended sentences, meaning they will not be jailed.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how to understand the protests shaking Egypt, Brazil, and Turkey—and what comes next. ”We are watching ‘the summer of middle class discontent’ … A key factor in all the countries involved is the emergence of an educated and aspirational middle class.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Four day weeks are more productive. Employees work harder and get more done, even with one day less.

How the US lost Egypt. Though it advocates democracy, Egyptians see America as an ally of dictators.

Whose head is it anyway? The prospects of head transplants raise a whole new twist on the old mind-body problem.

EU farming subsidies don’t help poor farmers. They’re a blatant transfer of cash to the rich.

Surprising discoveries

China’s newest growth market is condoms. An outbreak of STDs is prompting a state-approved sex-ed roll-out.

The US State Department spent $630,000 Facebook likes. It didn’t really work.

The worst IT screw-up ever. A technician accidentally left his computer connected to a giant electronic billboard while watching porn.

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi has a camel-milk mixologist. It’s an excellent pre-fast beverage during Ramadan.

Robots to the rescue. Magnet-guided nanorobots could revolutionize eye surgeries.

More robots to the rescue. Tiny flying robots could substitute for bees to pollinate crops.

“Popeye power” debunked. A misplaced decimal point created the legend around spinach’s nutritional value.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, camel-milk cocktail recipes and helpful robots to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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