Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Argentina’s deadline, ISIL’s caliphate, Xinhua’s IPO, Auschwitz selfies

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What to watch for today

Argentina’s debt deadline. The country may enter into technical default if it can’t figure out a way to settle with bondholders, after a US judge ruled that its attempt to pay off its restructured bondholders was illegal. The deadline may be extended another month to July 30th.

Inflation data for the euro zone. The European Central Bank’s newly aggressive monetary stimulus will likely take some time to be felt, so today’s inflation figures aren’t likely to show much improvement, but analysts will be watching hopefully anyway.

BNP settles over sanction violations. The bank will agree to pay a record $8.9 billion (paywall) for concealing some $30 billion in transactions for clients in US-sanctioned countries like Sudan, Iran, and Cuba, and won’t be allowed to clear US dollar transactions for up to a year.

The future of US public-sector labor. The US Supreme Court is set to rule on Harris vs. Quinn, and could overturn the requirement that public-sector workers must pay a “fair share” of union dues even if they are not members. That would greatly undercut unions’ power to engage in collective bargaining.

GM unveils a compensation scheme. Attorney Ken Feinberg will announce the details of a fund for the victims of a faulty ignition switch and their families. There will be no limit on the size of the fund, since the number of total victims is unknown.

World Cupdate. France v Nigeria is at 5pm BST; Germany v Algeria is at 9pm.

Over the weekend

ISIL declared a “caliphate” in the Middle East. The Sunni extremist group that has swept across Iraq declared the formation of an Islamic state stretching from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq, in an implicit challenge to its former allies in Al Qaeda.

GlaxoSmithKline’s bribery scandal started with a sex tape. The drugmaker said its China chief was filmed in his own home without his knowledge, which eventually led to accusations that Glaxo made illicit payments to Chinese doctors and officials.

Facebook’s research provoked a negative emotional response. A study that exposed users to emotional content and measured their responses was criticized as an abuse of the social networking company’s vast powers.

The central bank for central banks warned about “euphoric” markets. The Bank of International Settlements said central banks have been lured into a false sense of security and warned of signs of banking crises on the horizon.

Bulgaria tried to prevent an anonymous run on its banks. The country’s central bank said there was a deliberate attempt to destabilize the country’s banking system. Emails and text messages were sent by parties unknown, advising members of the public to withdraw their cash.

China’s news agency prepared to go public. Xinhua released a preliminary prospectus (paywall) on its plans to offer shares in its digital arm on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. This comes two years after the IPO of the website of the People’s Daily. The company plans to raise some $241.2 million from the offering.

Carlos Slim is buying out AT&Tpurchasing the 8.3% stake that AT&T has long held in his company, América Movil, for $5.57 billion. AT&T is acquiring DirecTV, which competes with América Movil for pay-TV customers in Latin America.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on why the movie Frozen strikes a very lucrative chord in Japan. ”Undoubtedly, Japanese audiences are responding to the same qualities that have turned Frozen into a global phenomenon. Not only is the music catchy, but the story is morally nuanced enough that adults seem to enjoy it as well as children. And then there’s the fact that Frozen revolves around the relationship between strong, commanding female characters who defy the “Disney princess” stereotype (even though they technically are monarchs). That latter point is what makes Frozen‘s unexpected popularity—particularly among Japanese women—so striking.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The American IPO is dying. Burdensome regulation and aggressive short-sellers have made it much harder to go public.

It’s no surprise that few CEOs are openly gay. Most are of a generation that grew up in an extremely anti-gay environment.

The conventional wisdom on conventions is wrong. Over-optimistic assumptions mean city-funded facilities usually fail to deliver.

The European Commission just picked the wrong president. Jean-Claude Juncker’s election highlights the many dysfunctions of EU politics.

Prisons should be abolished. GPS-enabled monitoring is more effective at cutting recidivism, and cheaper too.

Surprising discoveries

Chinese dissidents are forced to take free “vacations.” They are escorted on holiday during important national events.

The UK is short on sperm. Fertility clinics are relying on imported semen.

Auschwitz selfies are popular with Israeli teenagers. But not everyone thinks posing with your pals under an “Arbeit macht frei” sign is cool.

The newest potentially habitable planet is a mere 16 light years away. Gliese 832c might have Earth-like temperatures.

Sour drinks can cure garlic breath. Beverages with a pH below 3.6 kill the enzymes that create odoriferous exhalations.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, garlic breath cures, and Gliese 832c settlement plans to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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