Quartz Daily Brief—Germany’s confidence hiccup, Kerry in Kurdistan, Abe’s third arrow, presidential sneeze guards

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What to watch for today

Putin arrives in Austria. The Russian president travels to the EU member state, a day after the countries signed more than 20 cooperation agreements covering technology, infrastructure, and trade.

A deluge of new US housing data. Fresh numbers on new home sales for May, as well as Case-Shiller and FHFA house price numbers, should show signs of continued recovery; sales of existing homes yesterday rose more than expected. Also, US consumer confidence data should be of interest, given the recent jobs uptick.

A big day for Fed presidents. Philadelphia Fed president Charles Plosser speaks on America’s economic outlook and monetary policy, where he may reiterate his argument that interest rates need to rise sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the New York and San Francisco Fed presidents discuss Puerto Rico and the global economy, respectively.

What next for the UK economy? With expectations rising for higher interest rates this year, look for more direction from the Bank of England, as governor Mark Carney and other officials testify (live coverage) before the Treasury Select Committee.

Executives argue for the AT&T/DirecTV tie-up. CEOs from both companies will make their case in front of the US House Judiciary Committee. Here are some arguments for, and some against.

World Cupdate. Costa Rica v England and Italy v Uruguay are both at 12pm EDT, while Greece v Ivory Coast and Japan v Colombia are scheduled for 4pm.

While you were sleeping

Abe unveiled his “third arrow” of reforms. The Japanese prime minister announced the final component of his “Abenomics” turnaround plan, in the form of structural reforms ranging from corporate tax cuts to a bigger economic role for women and foreign workers. (The first two arrows were fiscal stimulus and monetary easing.)

Kerry arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan. The US secretary of state arrived in the city of Erbil (paywall), shortly after the president of the Kurdish regional government said that the Kurds could seek an independent state. John Kerry will attempt to persuade the Kurdish government to take part in an Iraqi unity government instead.

German confidence took a surprise slip. The Ifo Institute’s survey of 7,000 companies found business confidence at its lowest point in six months, casting new doubt on the euro zone’s already-shaky recovery. But confidence is still relatively high, says ING economist Carsten Brzeski, who argued there is “no reason to panic.”

Apple will begin production of its big iPhones next month. The 4.7 and a 5.5 inch iPhones could be shipped to retailers as soon as September, according to Bloomberg. Speculation about the new Apple product launches is also driving up the share price of its biggest manufacturing partner, Foxconn.

KKR bought into Spanish renewable energy. The US private equity firm bought a piece of the international wind and solar arm of Spain’s Acciona, paying €417 million ($567 million) for 33% of the business (paywall). Acconia posted a €1.97 billion loss in 2013, after the Spanish government slashed renewable energy subsidies.

Woolworths bid for Country Road. The South African retailer offered $201 million (paywall) to buy out the minority shareholders of the Australian fashion retailer. The deal is contingent on Woolworths’ successful acquisition of the department store chain David Jones, and may result in a hefty payday for investor Solomon Lew, who owns stakes in both target companies.

Quartz obsession interlude

Dan Frommer on how Tim Cook is transforming Apple and not getting the credit. “Apple has continued to make moves under Cook—reflecting awareness of the times—that Jobs may never have supported. Notably, it recently spent $3 billion to acquire Beats Music, an admission of sorts that it needs help to meet its goals in the music industry. It recently relaxed a nondisclosure agreement that restricted fans and developers from discussing beta software. Its latest software creation tools, released this month, give developers deeper access than ever to the iPhone and iPad to make new kinds of apps.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Barack Obama is responsible for Iraq’s chaos. The US president ignored prime minister Nuri al-Maliki’s dictatorial streak f0r too long.

Don’t send your kids to summer classes. They need unstructured play time to set and achieve their own goals.

Life without Fitbit is meaningless. What’s the point of exercise if it isn’t being recorded?

Corporate brands still don’t get social media. They’re treating it as a broadcast, not a conversation.

Surprising discoveries

“At least half” of UK police work is social media-related. It’s just so easy to make criminal threats online these days.

The US-Portugal draw was the most-watched soccer game in US history. 18.2 million viewers tuned in to see their team fail to win at the last second.

Sneeze guards don’t apply to Obama. On a recent trip to Chipotle, he reached over to point out the ingredients for his burrito.

Early risers are less ethical in the evening. It takes energy to do the right thing.

Google Maps looks different depending on where you are. It adjusts the borders to adhere to political sensitivities.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, presidential sneeze guards, and social media crime fighting techniques to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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