Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—China inflation, Time-Warner Vice, Japanese resumes, virtual trading desks

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What to watch for today

Ukraine pays its gas bill. Russia could cut off Ukraine’s gas supply—which could also disrupt delivery to a large chunk of the EU—if Kiev does not pay its $4.46 billion energy bill. Russia extended the payment deadline after Ukraine paid a $786 million instalment last week.

A look at the global economy. The World Bank publishes its six-monthly Global Economic Prospects report. January’s uncharacteristically bright expectations were for global improvement throughout 2014—this mid-year follow up will show if everything is on track.

Iran, the US and the EU wrap up nuclear talks. A two-day talk over Iran’s controversial nuclear program ends in Geneva—Tehran has been showing some signs of willingness to cooperate with the UN over military issues of late, and diplomats will be watching the outcome of the talks ahead of a July 20 deadline to reach a final agreement.

Israel votes for a new president. As Shimon Peres’ seven-year term draws to a close, six candidates face the vote and a largely apathetic population in a race to succeed him. More than a quarter of Israelis want to see the largely ceremonial—and expensive—position of the presidency abolished.

A private explanation of Bergdahl’s release. The US Defense Department’s lawyer will brief the congressional Armed Services Committee about the release of captured Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whose exchange for five Taliban prisoners from Guantánamo Bay has become the latest Washington political football. The hearing is a closed session.

While you were sleeping

China’s government detailed a reserve ratio cut… The government announced it will cut the reserve ratio for some banks by 0.5%, as part of its plan to get banks lending to first-time buyers, small businesses, and agriculture. Nearly all rural banks will see their reserve ratio requirements cut while only two-thirds of city banks will.

…As inflation rose. Consumer prices rose 2.5% in the year to May, more than a Bloomberg estimate of 2.4% but below the government’s 3.5% upper limit for inflation.

Facebook poached PayPal’s president. David Marcus, who had been running eBay’s payment unit for the past two years, will run Facebook’s messaging service. Facebook recently purchased WhatsApp for $19 billion, and payments are its future.

Time Warner may be close to buying Vice Media. Time Warner is in talks with the gonzo journalism outlet, in a deal that would value Vice at $2.2 billion, according to Sky News, while Variety is reporting a $1.1 billion deal for half of Vice.

Donald Sterling withdrew support for a Clippers sale. Sterling will not support the sale of his team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion and will also pursue an antitrust lawsuit against the National Basketball Association, his lawyer said. The NBA ruled that Sterling must sell his team after he was recorded making racist comments.

Instagram took its ads abroad. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing site is rolling out its adverts to international users, starting with Canada, the UK and Australia. Instagram has been showing sponsored posts from the likes of Ben & Jerry’s, Levi’s and Taco Bell to US-based users since November.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how non-compete agreements are gaining a chokehold on American business.  ”Even in industries where intellectual property matters, non-competes may be bad for the industry as a whole, according to a recent survey of research on the subject by MIT’s Matt Marx and Harvard’s Lee Fleming. Economists thinks that innovation can be spurred by having lots of firms in the same skilled industry working near each other; as workers move from firm to firm and mix with new people, new ideas and firms are created. Non-competes limit their ability to do that—in fact, California law makes most non-compete agreements unenforceable, and other research found that Silicon Valley has an unusually high level of inter-firm mobility for workers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Marketers don’t speak to women properly. And changing this can have a positive impact on our wider society, says Sheryl Sandberg.

Writing about hate in America isn’t changing anything. On the racism beat, “you’ll never want for steady work, but a steady mind is not guaranteed” because similar incidents happen again and again.

Japan’s rigorous resume format is hurting its job market. Even basic jobs require a ririkesho that lists your entire education and the reason you left each previous job.

Retail outlets need to make their websites more like their stores. Too many have great shop windows and lousy online portals.

Surprising discoveries

America has a bullet-proof blanket for kids. The ProTecht will stop hurricane debris and 9mm bullets.

Future trading desks could be virtual. Why attach six screens to your Bloomberg terminal when you can look at 40 with an Oculus Rift?

Seoul loves Broadway shows. Musicals are having successful second lives in South Korea, where ticket sales have multiplied 17-fold since 2000.

The short-pants suit is happening. Retailers like J Crew and Topman are selling $400 versions of Pharrell’s Oscars outfit.

The human jaw has evolved to withstand punches. Millennia of fist fighting have given men more robust faces than women.

Love can be a heavy load to bear. A section of Paris’s Pont des Arts bridge collapsed under the weight of thousands of padlocks.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, virtual trading devices, and short suit designs to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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