Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Tunisia on the edge, Japanese inflation, a busy day for the Feds

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What to watch for today

Tunisia braces for unrest after assassination. All flights to and from the country have been cancelled for a general strike to protest the fatal shooting of opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi. His sister blamed the ruling Islamist party for his death, the second such assassination this year.

Details emerge on the Spanish train crash. The conductor is under police guard in a hospital as investigators question why the train was traveling well over the speed limit when it crashed, killing at least 80 people. Security camera footage shows the high-speed train going off the rails.

Bearing gifts to Greeks. European lenders are likely to approve €5.8 billion ($7.7 billion) in bailout funds after Greek lawmakers approved a new tax code and finalized a plan to put 25,000 civil servants in a special labor reserve.

Wipro earnings. Shares in the Indian IT giant fell more than 5% ahead of what are expected to be lackluster results, with flat revenues and falling profit margins.

While you were sleeping

Japanese inflation at last. Excluding fresh food, consumer prices rose by 0.4% in June from last year, giving a boost to Abenomics and indicating that Japan might be finally ridding itself of deflation.

The US filed criminal charges against SAC Capital. A New York grand jury unveiled a fraud indictment against the hedge fund run by billionaire Steven Cohen, accusing the fund of repeatedly trading on inside information.

…and settled with UBS over mortgage securities. The Swiss bank agreed to pay a total of $885 million to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over allegations that it had mis-represented mortgage backed bonds before the financial crisis.

…and busted a massive credit card hacking ring. Four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian were indicted by US federal prosecutors for hacking into computer networks and stealing at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers. Customers of JCPenney, 7-Eleven and Carrefour were among the victims.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 wasn’t such a star. The South Korean electronics giant missed estimates as the performance of its flagship handset flagged in the saturated high-end mobile market.

Nissan’s strategy paid off. The Japanese automaker reported a 14% rise in second-quarter profit, driven by a price-slashing policy in the US and the weak yen. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kia Motors beat estimates on strong China sales, as net profit hit 1.18 trillion won ($1.06 billion), up 7.7%.

World domination stung Amazon.The e-commerce giant reported a surprise quarterly loss after nine straight years of profitability, as weak overseas markets overshadowed US growth.

Quartz obsession interlude

Todd Woody on why saving the bees will be incredibly difficult. “Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

GlaxoSmithKline’s Chinese scandal is really about politics. One coincidence too many suggests that bribery isn’t the true cause.

Sexting shouldn’t ruin Anthony Weiner. Terrible political instincts and a lack of compassion should.

China is drawing a new regional map. A clever strategy to fundamentally alter Asian power dynamics.

CEO navel-gazing is a thing of the past. Speed and responsiveness are essential for today’s leaders.

Malaysia is ripe for an uprising. The only things keeping rampant corruption, rigged elections and racially divisive politics from subsuming the country are its rich natural resources.

Surprising discoveries

The US city with the worst drivers is…Miami.

Drinking coffee can reduce the incidence of suicide. By as much as 50%.

Don’t try this at home. Scientists discover that knocking out a single gene can help a worm regrow its head.

Robots are more baffled by Bernanke than humans. Currency funds that rely on computer trading have fared much worse than human traders in 2013.

Smartphone passivity. A study shows that small gadgets make people less assertive.

Lobsters are turning into cannibals. Warmer waters have led to bigger lobsters that feed on their own young.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, GSK political thrillers and your nomination for the city with the worst drivers to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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